Vision Pro: What’s Real, What’s Hype and What’s Plain Dangerous

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Vision Pro is getting a ton of social media engagement after it launched earlier this month, which is great since people are finding out just how Apple’s first mixed reality headset can fit into their lifestyles. There are plenty of interesting use cases out there: some of it’s real, some of it’s hype, and some of it’s just plain dangerous.

Vision Pro is probably one of the first XR headsets out there to be a status symbol, as owning the $3,500 device pretty much means you have the sort of disposable income to also do some new and interesting things, but also some pretty silly stuff too… because engagement. It’s not all hype, although the sci-fi cosplay and dangerous attention-seeking stuff is getting a lot of traction. Here’s where practicality meets fantasy.

What’s Real

It’s not the first thing Apple prepared Vision Pro users for, since the company wants early adopters to focus on productivity and general computing, but you can definitely play immersive games at home while your dog wonders what the heck you’re doing. Hand-tracking works great to let you do so pretty fine interactions, like picking up little virtual LEGO bricks:

Pardon the mess and sleepy dog, but Lego builders journey on Vision Pro is so dang cool

— Alex Guichet (@AlexGuichet) February 7, 2024

It’s not just LEGO though, which would be kind of sad after you just spent $3,500 on a headset. While VR stuff is admittedly going to be tough since Apple decided not to support VR motion controllers, that list of stuff is growing, with games like Blackbox, Game Room, Puzzling Places, Super Fruit Ninja, Synth Riders, Tiny-Fins, What The Golf?, and Wisp showing Vision Pro users what’s what.

Did you know you can also cook while wearing Vision Pro? Of course, Apple doesn’t suggest it, although The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern really seemed to like the experience of having timers for each dish, and managed to get around the headset’s less than clear passthrough when using in low light conditions. It also sounds like a fun way to learn how to cook too, since you can pop up tutorial videos while the soufflé is… soufflé-ing.

You won’t find it in Apple’s marketing but the Vision Pro is the ultimate cooking computer. Was one of the moments where I could really see the future…

— Joanna Stern (@JoannaStern) January 30, 2024

You can also watch movies on a giant screen while keeping a watchful eye on your infant, which is pretty great since the headset serves up what iFixit discovered in its deep dive teardown to be 34 pixels per degree (PPD), which is a sight higher than Quest 3’s 25 PPD.

Dad mode: Already found a great application of the #VisionPro, watching Avatar: The way of water while my daughter sleeps on me. I eventually adjusted the angle of the virtual screen so that I could easily recline and rest my head/neck. This feels like one of the premium…

— Anshel Sag (@anshelsag) February 4, 2024

Watching TV and movies is great for airplanes too, since the headset comes with a dedicated travel mode that lets you have your own personal theater in the air.

Speaking of movies, you can even edit a Hollywood film thanks to Vision Pro’s impressive number of traditional apps, making the headset more of a face-computer than a gaming console like Quest. Director Jon Chu edited his upcoming film Wicked on Vision Pro after being stuck in the house due to flooding.

Day 3 with the @Apple #VisionPro … I got stuck at the house because of the LA floods so I couldn’t go into the edit room. So I edited #WickedMovie remotely with my editor #MyronKerstein on @EvercastUS and it worked flawlessly. I need to repeat this out loud. I was in it for…

— Jon M. Chu (@jonmchu) February 6, 2024

As the basis for Apple’s forthcoming XR tech, Vision Pro is also an awesome development platform, so we’re sure to see even more innovative uses beyond this. One such example comes from Daniel Beauchamp, the principal AR/VR engineer at Shopify, who built a prototype vacuuming mini-game to go along with the weekend chores:

Chores 2.0

— Daniel Beauchamp (@pushmatrix) February 1, 2024

There are a ton of examples of Vision Pro users enjoying the core of the experience, which basically boils down to productivity, casual content consumption, and some light XR gaming. In the meantime, there’s a lot of hype to wade through that is making the XR community scratch their collective heads.

What’s Basically Hype (for now)

Headsets like Vision Pro will be a potent tool one day when they become more powerful all-day devices capable of slipping on and off like a pair of sunglasses. For now, Vision Pro is basically a fairly bulky, rather front-heavy device that only lasts about two hours before you need to recharge—not the sort of thing that’s practical for everyday tasks whilst on the go.

To boot, walking around an unmapped outdoor space isn’t the best idea, since you have to contend with traffic, other pedestrians, uneven terrain, and varying lighting conditions that Vision Pro simply isn’t suited for. Essentially, you probably won’t be walking around Akihabara and using Vision Pro unless you’re really into futurism cosplay—you know, to freak out the squares.

Walk around Tokyo with #AppleVisionPro 🥽🌐

— Aimi Sekiguchi🌐ايمي (@sekiguchiaimi) February 7, 2024

Like Google Glass, which spawned the portmanteau ‘Glasshole’ when it released in 2012, you can technically walk around your local grocery store and keep a floating shopping list at the ready, although you’re bound to get more than a few stares. It’s a fun test case to see what’s possible with the headset, but it’s not exactly practical for now:

So yeah grocery shopping with the Apple Vision Pro is actually not bad. #AppleVisionPro

— Matt – BMFVR (@bmfshow) February 3, 2024

You can also ride around public transportation and do some spatial computing (thanks to travel mode), although you’ll need to sacrifice some of your situational awareness, and probably a bit of dignity for good measure. As long-time XR people, we don’t care how we look to other people, but if you’re flailing around and bothering fellow passengers, you objectively suck.

The list goes on: walk a robot dog. Is it telepresence? Or plain attention-seeking? Who cares!

It’s happening…

— Brian Roemmele (@BrianRoemmele) February 4, 2024

So much of the stuff you can technically do with Vision Pro aren’t really the things you’ll do long-term since the form-factor and battery life aren’t advanced enough for everyday on-the-go tasks. While it’s one thing to go out and push both the technological and social boundaries to see what’s possible, it’s another to put others in harm’s way, which leads me to the danger zone.

What’s Just Plain Dangerous

We’ve all seen it by now. But maybe this bears repeating: the driver’s seat of your car is not the place to use Vision Pro. Maybe it will be in the future, but today is not that day.

He’s wearing Apple Vision Pro headsets while driving his Tesla and finds out 🚨. Don’t try this at home…

— TeslaPro (@TeslaPro_) February 3, 2024

Apple doesn’t suggest using it while operating a moving vehicle, and neither does US Secretary for Transportation Pete Buttigieg following the release of the video above, stating drivers must be engaged “at all times.” Additionally, Tesla says drivers must “maintain control and responsibility for your vehicle,” even when it is in autonomous mode.

Okay, so if not the roads, maybe flying a plane is ok? At very best, it sounds like an interesting way for the Federal Aviation Administration to investigate the validity of your pilot’s license. Thankfully, the pilot pictured here had a co-pilot at the ready, but it’s a scary thought that clout chasers have wings.

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And why not go for a relaxing swim with Vision Pro once you’re back safely on the ground? It’s not like you’ll be electrocuted! But if you get it wet, you’ll likely be denied a claim through that $500 Apple Care policy. Granted, it’s more stupid than dangerous, but maybe the benefits outweigh the risks if all you’re looking for is social media engagement?

Apple Vision Pool

— iJustine (@ijustine) February 5, 2024

As you’d imagine, Apple says Vision Pro and its battery “are not designed to be water resistant. Keep your device and battery away from sources of liquid, such as drinks, oils, lotions, sinks, bathtubs, shower stalls, etc. Protect your device and battery from dampness, humidity, or wet weather, such as rain, snow, and fog.”

To put it bluntly, social media is a wellspring for other reckless Vision Pro-related behavior we’re not going to highlight here for obvious reasons.

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Vision Pro triumphs in delivering Apple’s powerful ecosystem of apps in a hardware package that some are seriously using for productivity, casual media, and some light VR gaming. Moreover, it signals a sizable bet by Apple on the near future of everyday computing, offering up real competition to Meta which was basically the only game in town before now.

Yes, the truth is more boring than the hype at this point, but that hype could be more than just influencers chasing trends. It could help inform the future of what people actually want to do in XR in their daily lives, and how they want to look whilst doing it. Apple’s job of normalizing headsets is far from over though, so you can bet they’re paying close attention to media engagement as their first mixed reality headset leaves the nest.