Apple Vision Pro: Thoughts & Impressions

Ivan Kabandize
7 min readJul 17, 2023
Image designed by Author using Apple resources.

On June 5th, during the 2023 WWDC (World Wide Developer Conference), Apple made several announcements of various new products including the Vision Pro headset, 15 Inch MacBook Air, Mac Pro and new versions of Mac Studio, iOS 17, macOS Sonoma, watchOS 10 and more.

I have watched several WWDC Keynotes and there have been some groundbreaking announcements, including the announcement of the iPod which revolutionalised how we consume music, and the app store which greatly influenced the creation of mobile apps among many others. For this particular keynote, I was mostly intrigued by the announcement of the Apple Vision Pro headset. It is definitely like no other mixed-reality headset on the market. We shouldn’t be surprised, after all, it is Apple. For me, however, this is a groundbreaking innovation. I can only liken it to the legendary announcement of the iPhone in 2007 which made smartphones household, can’t-live-without items, and completely changed how we live, work and entertain ourselves.

The Apple Vision Pro is a mixed-reality headset with Virtual Reality(VR) and Augmented Reality(AR). The device, which Apple calls a “spatial computer”, is designed to seamlessly blend digital content with your physical space, allowing you to navigate using your eyes, hands, and voice. In this article, we will review the design aspects of the headset, the functionality and technology embedded in it, and the pros and cons of the device.

Design

The Apple Vision Pro has a sleek and elegant design that resembles a pair of ski goggles. The enclosure is made of a single piece of three-dimensionally formed laminated glass that flows into an aluminium alloy frame that curves to wrap around your face. The light seal gently flexes to conform to your face, delivering a precise fit while blocking out stray light. The headband provides cushioning, breathability, and stretch, and the fit dial lets you adjust the Vision Pro precisely to your head. The device also comes with an external battery that supports up to 2 hours of use, and all-day use when plugged in.

According to Apple, the Vision Pro headset integrates incredibly advanced technology into an elegant, compact form, resulting in a fantastic experience every time you put it on. Here are different angles of parts of the Vision Pro.

A singular piece of three-dimensionally formed laminated glass flows into an aluminium alloy frame that gently curves to wrap around your face.
A pair of custom micro‑OLED displays deliver more pixels than a 4K TV to each eye — for stunning clarity.
The Light Seal gently conforms to your face, delivering a precise fit while blocking out stray light.
An array of advanced cameras and sensors work together to let you see the world clearly, understand your environment, and detect hand input.
The Head Band provides cushioning, breathability, and stretch. The Fit Dial lets you adjust Vision Pro precisely to your head.
The external battery supports up to 2 hours of use, and all‑day use when plugged in.
Press the top button to take spatial videos and spatial photos in the moment.
Press the Digital Crown to bring up the Home View, and turn it to control your level of immersion while using Environments.

Technology

The Apple Vision Pro is designed for spatial computing and is powered by incredibly advanced technology that makes it possible to deliver such a seamless and immersive experience.

View of floating apps using the Vision Pro headsets. Interaction designed for spatial computing.

The device uses a new operating system, visionOS, designed to support an AR headset’s low-latency requirements. The device also relies on your eyes, hands, and voice as the main input methods, using eye tracking, hand tracking, and voice recognition technologies.

Simply look at the microphone button in a search field and start speaking to dictate text. Tap your fingers together to make a selection and gently flick to scroll. Vision Pro is designed to understand hand gestures from comfortable positions, like resting in your lap or on the sofa.

Image of the M2 and R1 chips embedded within the Vision Pro

The device also uses a combination of two chips: the Apple M2 and the R1. The M2 is Apple’s second-generation custom silicon chip that delivers high performance and efficiency for computing tasks. The R1 is a new chip that handles spatial processing tasks such as mapping your environment, tracking your position and orientation, and rendering digital content.

The device also has a total of 12 cameras and five sensors that enable it to sense your surroundings and your interactions. The cameras include four wide-angle cameras for environmental mapping, two infrared cameras for eye tracking, two RGB cameras for capturing spatial photos and videos, two depth cameras for hand tracking, and two cameras for Face ID authentication. The sensors include an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a magnetometer, a barometer, and a proximity sensor.

View of external cameras and sensors for environment tracking.
View of internal sensors for eye-tracking.

Functionality

The Apple Vision Pro offers a variety of functionality for different use cases. You can use your apps in your space, with an infinite canvas that transforms how you use the apps you love. You can arrange apps anywhere and scale them to the perfect size, making the workspace of your dreams a reality. You can browse the web in Safari, create a to-do list in Notes, chat in Messages, and seamlessly move between them with a glance.

View of a floating screen page as viewed using Vision Pro headsets.

You can also enjoy entertainment in an immersive way with the Vision Pro. You can transform any room into your own personal theatre, expanding your movies, shows, and games up to the perfect size while feeling like you’re part of the action with Spatial Audio. And with more pixels than a 4K TV for each eye, you can enjoy stunning content wherever you are.

An image showing spatial sound waves from the Vision Pro

You can also capture and relive your memories with the Vision Pro. The device is Apple’s first 3D camera, which lets you capture spatial photos and spatial videos in 3D, then relive those cherished moments like never before with immersive Spatial Audio.

Your existing library of photos and videos looks incredible at a remarkable scale. And panoramas wrap around you, making you feel like you’re standing right where you took them.

A lady browsing through presentation slides and talking on FaceTime at the same time.

You can collaborate and connect with others wherever you are with the Vision Pro. You can make meetings more meaningful with life-size FaceTime video tiles, and as new people join, the call simply expands in your room. Within FaceTime, you can also use apps to collaborate with colleagues on the same documents simultaneously.

Pros and Cons

The Apple Vision Pro is undoubtedly an impressive device that offers a glimpse into the future of computing. However, it also has some drawbacks that may limit its appeal or usability for some users. Here are some of the pros and cons of the device:

Pros:

  • It offers a unique and immersive way to interact with digital content in your physical space.
  • It has a sleek and elegant design that is comfortable to wear.
  • It has high-resolution displays that deliver stunning visuals.
  • It has powerful chips that enable fast and smooth performance.
  • It has multiple cameras and sensors that enable accurate sensing and tracking.
  • It has Spatial Audio that enhances the realism of the experience.
  • It has visionOS that provides a familiar and intuitive interface.
  • It supports many popular apps that you already use and love.

Cons:

  • It is costly compared to other mixed-reality headsets on the market.
  • It has limited availability in terms of countries and regions where it can be purchased or used.
  • It has a relatively short battery life when not plugged in.
  • It may cause privacy or security concerns due to the amount of data it collects and processes.
  • It may cause social or ethical issues due to its potential impact on human behaviour and relationships.
  • It may cause health or safety issues due to its possible effects on your eyes, brain, or body.

The Apple Vision Pro is a groundbreaking device that represents Apple’s vision for the future of computing. It is a device that seamlessly blends digital content with your physical space, allowing you to navigate using your eyes, hands, and voice. It is a device that offers a variety of functionality for different use cases, such as apps, entertainment, photos and videos, and connection. It is a device that is powered by incredibly advanced technology that makes it possible to deliver such a seamless and immersive experience.

However, it is also a device that is not without its flaws. It is a device that is very expensive, limited in availability, short in battery life, and potentially problematic in terms of privacy, security, social, ethical, health, or safety issues. Therefore, it is a device that may not be for everyone, but rather for those who are willing to pay the premium price and embrace the risks and challenges that come with it.

It is therefore a device that is both exciting and controversial, but it will most definitely change the way we interact with technology and the world around us. It is a device that will redefine the future of computing.

Experts’ Opinion

I have included two videos that I believe provide even more comprehensive reviews and opinions by some of the best tech reviewers.

Apple Vision Pro Impressions by MKBHD

In this video, Marques Brownlee (my favourite Tech YouTuber) shares his first impressions of the Apple Vision Pro headset.

Apple Vision Pro Review by Mrwhosetheboss

In this video, Mrwhosetheboss (Mr who is the boss) reviews the Apple Vision Pro headset touching on price and Apple’s strategy for the device.

I originally published this article on Begenius Thoughts. You can read the more comprehensive article and find similar content here.

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Ivan Kabandize

Leveraging technology to solve day-to-day problems is my passion. I do what I can, with what I have, to leave a space better than I found it.