3 min read

Why I'm ordering an Apple Vision Pro (and why you may not)

Why I'm ordering an Apple Vision Pro (and why you may not)
Apple's Vision Pro

This is coming from the guy who purchased 8 Meta Quest 2s 2 years ago so the Foojee team could begin experimenting with VR, and doing our weekly meetings in Meta Workrooms, which is a really cool experience. AR and VR (or spacial computing, as Apple calls it) make for a compelling way to do certain tasks like gaming, learning, and watching video. But is Apple's price tag of $3,499 worth it when I already have 4 other devices in my house that can effectively do the same thing?

I’m justifying buying an Apple Vision Pro, but barely.

I think it’s important for our whole Foojee team to have a real working experience with Apple's next generation platform. After all, Apple is creating dedicated apps for the VisionOS like Mail, Safari, FaceTime, Calendar (VR CaLeNdArInG!) etc. So doing work on the Vision Pro won't just be a projection of your Mac's display in augmented reality, however it can be with a cool passthrough feature. I'm curious to see if the VisionOS apps are better in any way than the macOS versions. Side note: the Quest 2's Mac passthrough feature was cool, however it was only about 90% reliable. And when it did work, the Quest's resolution isn't as good as a Mac display, so I still prefer using my Mac for work. (And I don't know anyone who disagrees.)

We're going to have each team member use it for two weeks. They'll do emails, remote into client computers, watch YouTube, play games, and wear it for as many hours as their eyeballs will let them. (For the Quest 2 that was only about 1 hour, before our team got headaches. And for a couple of people it was only about 30 minutes!) The Vision Pro does have higher resolution displays which will go along way in making it feel more lifelike, and less taxing on the eyes, apparently.

However, even with as much enthusiasm as I have about this entirely new product category and what it could mean for humanity's future, this is honestly the most unnecessary product Apple has released in 4 decades. I keep trying to think of its “killer app” and there isn’t one. Currently the Vision Pro will not be able to do anything better than we currently can do... for work.

Sure Netflix and YouTube will be super cool, especially with the Vision Pro's insanely high 4K+ resolution. But is it practical for consumers? Certainly not at $3,500. Something I learned from the brilliant Ben Thompson at stratechery.com is that "business" has always been the catalyst for new tech. New tech is expensive, and things like PCs, flatscreen TVs, Wi-Fi networks, cell phones, cameras, and smart phones have typically been adopted by businesses first, which allows the price to come down to a consumer friendly level. And herein lies the problem. What's the killer app for business that will compel businesses to want this on every employees' eyeballs? What work can I do better with the Vision Pro? Email? Nah. Calculate quotes? Nah. Meetings? Meetings in VR are cool, but to buy (an extra) $3,500 device for each employee is hardly worth the coolness.

I'm crazy excited that Apple, a company hellbent on product experience is making a VR headset. It's going to be a blast to use, and maybe in 10 years you can share that VR experience with another employee or family member, once prices come down. From early reviews, most of the shortcomings on the Quest 2 have been resolved with the Vision Pro, display resolution being one of them. But don't expect to share the experience with many people you know, until someone creates VR's killer business app.