Blink twice

Published June 5, 2023

Marketing picture of the Apple Vision Pro headset front on

It’s the Monday of WWDC week which means Apple Keynote day, and it is always a lot of fun to see where they think technology is going next. This time, it’s all about the mixed reality headset, something which has been discussed for a while and leaked more seriously by tech journalists recently.

So it wasn’t a surprise when Tim Cook announced the Vision Pro headset, but it was a surprise to see how space age looking their set of goggles were, and also quite shocking to see the price. (Starting at $3,499!)

I’ve never been a big fan of headsets, unfortunately being one of the VR motion sickness mafia, it’s not been a useful technology rabbit hole for me. I don’t totally see there’s a compelling need for something like this, but even I have to admit that the technology and development that has gone into Vision Pro is astonishing. More than 5,000 patents filed in the making of this thing.

Initial thoughts of the device itself:

  • the concept of using it on a plane is great, potentially the only real use case where I think you truly want to shut out everything around you
  • the projection of your eyes onto an outward facing screen to interact with others looks CREEPY as anything
  • as with most headsets, I’m always surprised by what an isolating concept these things are. They talked the big talk about FaceTiming and collaboration but it’s surely just people sitting back and watching movies whilst ignoring everyone around them.
  • two hours of standalone battery life doesn’t seem like a lot, that’s not even going to last through some films

I sound grumpy and I’m not really. I do think even if this headset doesn’t work out, the technology that’s being developed around it is bound to be useful for something in the future. It’s going to be utterly fascinating to see whether Apple’s investment in this area moves the mixed reality space on at all, or if this has been a very pricey misstep.

What did annoy me though, was that the upsell of the out-of-this-world gadget was launched in the same presentation where an hour earlier they had been talking about focusing on vision health.

“Get outside and get into the daylight, whilst keeping devices at a sensible distance from your eyes,” they said.

“But also buy our amazing gadget that blocks the natural light from your eyes by putting two ultra powerful screens up close.”

Make up your minds, people.

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