Fri. Apr 19th, 2024


Key Takeaways

  • One month in and Apple Vision Pro is off to a good start, even though it still has a long way to go for mass adoption.
  • The Apple Vision Pro has been useful for productivity, watching movies, and multitasking.
  • The headset struggles with comfort, some basic operating system limitations, and workspace window management.


My initial review of the Apple Vision Pro was clouded by sensory and information overload. I knew it at the time, but it’s even clearer in hindsight. Eye tracking was new. Familiar apps hovering in the air felt novel. The device itself was new, and it took time to adjust to the weight and feel. All that was to be expected.

But now, with over a month inside the headset, I have more perspective of what the device is and what it wants to be. While I still think it fulfills its spatial computer claim, I can see a little more clearly where Vision Pro may fit in people’s lives in the next couple of years.

Apple-WWCD23-Vision-Pro-glass-230605

Apple Vision Pro

Apple Vision Pro blends digital content with your physical space. You navigate by using your eyes, hands, and voice. Browse the web in Safari, create a to-do list in Notes, chat in Messages, and seamlessly move between them with a glance.

Display Type
micro-OLED

Storage
256GB, 512GB, or 1TB

Connectivity
Wi-Fi 6E

Battery Life
2-2.5 hours

Tracking Technology
Hands and eyes

Audio
Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking

Weight
21.2–22.9oz (600–650g)

Processor
M2 and R1

RAM
16GB

Passthrough
Yes

Pros

  • Proving to be useful for productivity work
  • Great for watching movies and shows
  • Much better at multitasking than an iPad
Cons

  • Apple’s included head straps were not comfortable enough for me
  • Operating system lacking some critical features

How Much Storage Do You Need?

close up of lenses of Apple Vision Pro
Tyler Hayes / How-To Geek


Apple Vision Pro retails for $3,499 with 256GB of storage. Before using the device, it wasn’t clear how much storage I would need. My MacBook Air and iPhone both have 256GB of storage so I figured that would be enough for the headset too. In hindsight, I might have opted for the 512GB because of the amount of space that certain apps cache.

Apple Music, for example, is using around 10GB of space on my device even though I haven’t downloaded any songs for offline use. Between Environments, photos, operating system needs, and multi-gigabyte apps, things could add up fast.

Making 128GB of storage the entry-level model, instead of 256GB, would have been a mistake. But 256GB is workable. I’m not worried about running out of space, even if I do feel the need to occasionally check in to see how I’m doing on available storage.


How Do You Store or Travel With Vision Pro?

The Vision Pro comes with a lens cover to help protect its front glass. I’ve been using that and storing the device on my work surface or in the Apple-sold travel case. Because of its battery and cable, the Vision Pro is a little more unwieldy to leave around the house when not using it, compared to an iPad or Mac.

The travel case is protective, but it’s also a little big to put inside a backpack. I’ve been using the Waterfield Shield Case, which is much smaller and easier to pack when leaving the house. The Shield Case is much more padded than I initially expected and checks all the boxes I was looking for in terms of capacity and features. It’s a solid option for compact travel option.

Is Comfort Really an Issue?

Front view of a person wearing Apple Vision Pro
Tyler Hayes / How-To Geek

A computer you wear on your face and head shouldn’t be kind of comfortable. It should be extremely comfortable. The Vision Pro has largely not been a dream to wear for me so I’ve spent more time adjusting it than I would have preferred to.


Early on, it was hard to tell whether the pressure on my forehead or cheekbones was temporary or not. It was tricky to tell if I was simply being hyper-aware of the hardware or if it really wasn’t great to wear for more than an hour.

In hindsight, the comfort problem is tough to diagnose because the device is so personal. Since it’s being worn instead of merely used, the comfort level may be different on different days. That’s a little crazy to consider.

Yes, the headset is heavier than other similar ones, but I don’t think weight alone is the culprit. After playing with some unconventional strap configurations, I was able to get the headset to be a lot more comfortable. Using two Solo Knit Bands, for example, felt much better. This isn’t supported by default and I needed 3D-printed parts bought from Etsy to get it working well. The headset has been much closer to an ideal level of comfort using the modified straps than it was out of the box.


I’m not sure if Apple should feel obligated to put out more styles of bands to address people’s comfort level, but I hope it does release more styles and options. I think weight can be relieved and comfort can be made better, simply by having other ways of holding the headset on people’s heads.

What Have I Actually Been Using the Vision Pro to Do?

front view of glass and headstrap of Apple Vision Pro
Tyler Hayes / How-To Geek

Vision Pro is nothing if not an amazing multitasking machine. Instead of swiping back and forth through apps on my iPhone or iPad or rearranging windows on my MacBook, I can keep four or five apps open and visible at any given time.

It’s not just like sticking four apps on a Mac screen, either. On the Vision Pro, the apps are all big enough to be useful with a glance, at a distance. Turn my head slightly and all the information I need to see comes into view. This was true on day one, and I am still loving it 30 days later.


As new apps come online and get released, even more functionality is becoming clear in this aspect. For example, I’ve learned of several breaking news items because I placed News Ticker (an app made for the Vision Pro) in my peripheral vision and constantly had a news feed going in addition to a show or other task.

four open apps in vision pro

I’m even more bullish on Environments after a month than I was initially. They were novel and cool out of the gate, but when used to focus, they are the visual equivalent of ANC for headphones. I don’t use them all day, but I find I usually use them at least some of the day.

But, much like Apple TV’s brilliant screensavers, I constantly want new Environments to “visit” and work in.


I’ve had no problem using Vision Pro to write stories. Using an Apple Magic Keyboard on a laptop desk while sitting on a couch has been great. I still keep Slack open to the side and monitor notifications as they come.

At night, I’ve found myself watching TV shows like “The New Look” and “Constellation.” Part of why I’ve liked watching shows on the Vision Pro ties into the multitasking stuff just mentioned. I don’t have to take over my living room TV and look down at my phone to do two things simultaneously.

If something comes up, I can keep the show going while looking at a window directly next to it and see both.

While I consider the Vision Pro a computer, it’s had the most success in eradicating an iPad from my life, rather than my Mac. In just a month, the headset has become the middle device, between a phone and a computer, for me.

Depending on the advancements Apple makes, the Vision Pro could eventually cannibalize Mac functionality, but for now, it’s begun to eat into things the iPad has previously been best at.


What Areas Does the Vision Pro Struggle?

battery connected to Apple Vision Pro
Tyler Hayes / How-To Geek

It’s not all roses, of course. After a week or two of testing all the various aspects of the device and understanding what Vision Pro could do, I started to realize that I was having trouble figuring out the best way to work with it.

For example, placing windows around a table with a keyboard and trackpad is really great, for a little time. Then my back would start to hurt, so I would move to a couch. But then I would have to spend time dragging all my windows over and rearranging them in a new space.

If, after lunch, I decided to work upstairs, then I would need to hold the Digital Crown to summon all the apps upstairs and rearrange them again. The point here is that, unlike a Mac or even an iPad, while visionOS on Vision Pro is more flexible, it’s also more work at the moment.


Right now, there are a lot of rough edges around workspaces, switching tasks, grouping apps, and maneuvering windows. Nothing about the Vision Pro feels broken, but it doesn’t feel settled. Using the operating system feels a little like being early to a party and wandering around someone’s home without a guided tour. You’ll see things you weren’t meant to see.

Using a Mac inside Vision Pro? That functionality has faded away for me. I like that it’s there, but using it typically means sitting at my desk, which I don’t really want to do while wearing Vision Pro. I’ve found enough functionality in the apps available for the headset that I don’t feel the need to keep pulling my Mac inside the virtual space.


Should You Buy an Apple Vision Pro Now?

In my early testing of the Apple Vision Pro, it was clear this device wasn’t for everyone, but it was less obvious how big the group of people it was for would be. So, once again, I want to reiterate that this is not a product for most people yet. The combination of cost and ultra-personal fit excludes even casual prospective buyers right now. As each of those areas gets addressed over time, however, the door will open for more people. I do think the appeal is broad and the fit and customization will begin to address more people’s fit over time.

Note: Initially, I gave the headset a 7 out of 10 rating—this time, it’s a 6 out of 10. I stand by that early assessment as the Vision Pro does wow in its early looks. While some of that shine has waned, the product still holds up as well as I hoped it would.

Where Does the Vision Pro Go From Here?

Front view of Apple Vision Pro on a table
Tyler Hayes / How-To Geek

As a 23-year-old in 2007, I just couldn’t afford the first iPhone and its monthly costs when it was released. So, like any good early adopter, I got the next best thing, which was an iPod Touch to hold me over until getting an iPhone 3G.


In those early days, Apple charged for iPhone OS updates (the name at the time), so in January 2008, I paid $19.99 to get Mail, Maps, Stocks, Weather, and Notes as a software update. I’ve never given Apple $20 so fast in my life. I bring this up to illustrate how desperate I was for any added functionality of a device that was early but so full of potential.

After a month of using the Vision Pro, the thing I keep coming back to is how desperate I am for more built-out functionality. It’s not clear what Apple will end up adding, but it couldn’t be more obvious the things that it could add. Window management tools, more environments, better multi-tasking paradigms, and more settings controls. These are all basics that will be addressed sooner or later. But, for the first time in a while, I can feel the missing features of an Apple device, in the same way I could of that first iPod Touch.


I could list out specific requests for Vision Pro, but I hope my demands will look outdated come June at Apple’s developer conference. Instead, I think it’s encouraging for Vision Pro that I can see its future potential as clearly as I can this early on. The Vision Pro has a lot of the pieces in place that it needs to be successful. Apple simply needs to execute on all the promises it has released to the world.

Apple-WWCD23-Vision-Pro-glass-230605

Apple Vision Pro

Apple Vision Pro blends digital content with your physical space. You navigate by using your eyes, hands, and voice. Browse the web in Safari, create a to-do list in Notes, chat in Messages, and seamlessly move between them with a glance.



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By John P.

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