Reviewing Apple Vision Pro – Day 1 vs. Day 14

How much of the Apple Vision Pro’s novelty has worn off in 14 days? How comfortable has it been to wear? What main uses have we found with it so far?

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Video transcript:

Oh, it’s looking right at me. Holy sh— Holy, I knew it was going to do this. That’s it.

It’s been two weeks since I got the Apple Vision Pro, and I wanted to take you through what my experience has been like: the roller coaster of emotions, the disappointments, has the novelty already worn off, and answer the question, if I wasn’t reviewing the Vision Pro over the long term, would I be returning it at the 14-day mark?

And the answer to that last question is probably not, though maybe because yes, the Vision Pro is a lot of money, and what you’re really paying for is novelty and cutting-edge tech, which overall I think Apple actually delivers on.

The reason I could see myself returning it is more because of its weight, as well as the eye fatigue and headaches I’ve experienced after using it, even when using the Dual Loop band correctly, where the weight is distributed evenly across your forehead, cheeks, the top of your head, and the back, which takes a bit of trial and error to actually get right. It’s just a heavy device to wear on your face.

The reason why, even if I wasn’t reviewing the Vision Pro for 6 months, I wouldn’t return it, is the level of immersion and downright magical experiences you have while using it. The 3D environments are unreal. Sometimes I found myself just going into them to meditate and chill, pinching and zooming windows with your hands, dragging them around your space. It just makes you feel like some sort of Jedi wizard.

It was immediately clear I was looking at a camera feed, but the best video pass-through in a device I’ve ever experienced. The crispness of the displays is impressive, and the detail you get in the graphics is simply stunning. The spatial audio on this device is incredible. The sound is clear, and the most surprising thing over the past two weeks is at no point have I clamored for a set of earbuds to use with this headset, even when watching a blockbuster movie.

The eye and hand tracking on day one took a bit of getting used to. It’s weird having to constantly focus on the things you want to select in the interface. Another surprising thing with this headset on day one is even though the thing was heavy, my eyes didn’t feel fatigued after wearing it for 2 hours.

Part of the reason for this might be the focusing distance of the Vision Pro for your eyes is farther away than when focusing on something closer up, like my studio display, for example. However, after about a week, I noticed I started getting eye strain as well as headaches after using the Vision Pro so much so that I needed to actually just take a break from even wearing contacts, which Apple does seem to expect as they encourage you to take breaks with the Vision Pro in their documentation and let your eyes adjust to it when you first get it.

So after day one, I was really impressed with it, but I wouldn’t say the experience overall was a 10 out of 10 or anything close to it. As I continued to use it more, I started finding more uses for it, but also more quirks.

The next thing I did on day 2 and 3 was use the Vision Pro to get some work done. The Vision Pro allows you to bring a Mac window inside your spatial environment, and you can use your Mac keyboard, mouse, and trackpad with it. Now, what other devices like the Quest 3 allow me to do this with my Mac as well, the Vision Pro’s superior resolution makes the experience actually usable, even if you’re limited to just one Mac window, which, yes, is a bit of a bummer, and you can’t move your mouse from your Mac window to a spatial app like you could between two Macs or a Mac and an iPad.

Another odd quirk I found is there’s no Night Light feature on this like on other Apple products to help reduce blue light later in the day. Also, window management can be kind of a pain when you put the Vision Pro on and all of the windows pop back into your different spaces, though at least you can just ask Siri to close all of them for you, or you just hold down the Digital Crown to reenter them all in front of you.

Siri, by the way, is this glowing three-dimensional orb in the Vision Pro, and it’s the best Siri has ever looked. And if you get frustrated, you can just throw Siri to the side, which is very therapeutic. One thing Siri oddly can’t do is control other AirPlay speakers like a HomePod.

When I used the trigger word, both Siri on the Vision Pro and Siri on my HomePod heard me and started playing audio, but I couldn’t use Siri on the Vision Pro to stop playing music on the HomePod. AirPlay device control is actually a missing feature across Vision OS. You can’t AirPlay audio from the Vision Pro to other AirPlay-enabled speakers.

Now, a few days after owning the Vision Pro, I finally sat down to look through all of the spatial videos I had been taking with my iPhone 15 Pro Max. Overall, I thought they looked cool, but it didn’t feel like I was actually there in the moment. When I looked at a few photos, which I honestly forgot the Vision Pro could even take, that’s where I started to get goosebumps.

The depth effect is much better on the photos and videos taken with the Vision Pro itself, and while it’s not perfect in this first iteration, the resolution of the photos and videos could be higher. There’s something surreal and maybe slightly odd and uncanny about seeing loved ones in three-dimensional photos and videos. And honestly, it’s one thing to see like Avatar, it’s another thing to see your family members, and it’s not even like this is so great, it’s good, but it’s weird, and it’s a mix of emotions.

And you don’t have to have iCloud photos turned on for this to work. You can just AirPlay spatial video from your iPhone or Mac directly to the Vision Pro. Even more impressive than the spatial videos and photos were panoramas, which take up even more of your view. Now, while they’re not in 3D, they do take you back to that time that you took the panorama and give you the viewpoint you actually had when you took it, which is the part that is just really cool for me.

The panorama that really stuck out was the sun setting at the Mon observatory in Hawaii. It’s just breathtaking to relive that memory like this and actually see the view as I did when I was actually there. I do really think Apple is onto something here with these 3D spatial photos and videos, and I hope they continue to improve the resolution of them as well as just give us better hardware to capture these memories with.

And the thing that has made me even more bullish on this is Apple’s immersive videos, which you can access via the headset on the Apple TV app.

All right, let’s talk about Apple’s new immersive videos.

These are 180° 3D videos that completely transport you into the content you’re watching. It’s like you’ve strapped a 3D IMAX screen to your face. There aren’t a ton of these videos out there yet, but so far what Apple has released has been really good.

There was this one video about Rhino Sanctuary in South Africa, and as I was watching it, it just felt so real, like I could actually reach out my hand and touch this rhino in front of me. It’s one of the most compelling things about the Vision Pro so far, and in the immersive video trailer that Apple put out, they showed off footage of both a soccer and baseball game using this technology, and they’re reportedly in talks with the NBA about it too, though no release dates for anything have been announced.

I also watched Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker in 3D, a version of the movie I’d never actually seen before via the Disney Plus app, and the visual experience of that was just incredible. It really felt like I was in a theater by myself with a giant screen, and even better, there were no people around me talking, no one had their phone out and was texting, it was just me with this content on a giant screen, and it was great.

Now keep in mind, while the experience is truly the best I’ve had while wearing a device like this on my head, you’re still looking through lenses and screens, so you’re going to notice things like black borders around the periphery of your vision, which you get used to really quickly in my experience, and you’ll also likely notice some glare from the pancake lenses as well, but again, that was something I was also able to get used to and was able to just focus on the content.

And one benefit of the Vision Pro basically being the largest screen in your home is, unlike an actual TV, if you want to watch something during the day, you don’t have to deal with annoying glare on the virtual TV screen.

Another thing I found out, if I wanted to get a pair of Zeiss Optical inserts for the Vision Pro, I’d actually need to go get a different light seal, so if you’re thinking about using the Vision Pro with contacts as well as glasses, definitely get the light seal that’s going to work with the glasses Optical inserts with the Vision Pro.

And that’s not the only quirk I found with this device. My hands in the Disney Plus virtual environment looked way too bright considering I was in a dark theater. When you try to look at your iPhone with a Vision Pro on, it doesn’t actually include Vision OS app windows, making it hard to view the iPhone, and Apple’s great theater mode in the Apple TV Plus app, which allows you to change your position in the virtual theater environment, it doesn’t actually allow you to move the screen if you’re lying down and you want it slightly higher.

And that virtual theater is not actually available in the other media players like the ones found in Disney Plus. You also can’t drag apps out of your Mac window to just open up their spatial OS versions, kind of like continuity with an iPad and a Mac, which would be a really cool way to get around the limitation of having only one Mac window.

It takes a second, but I have been able to get the keyboard paired with my Mac to work in spatial apps like Safari with Google Docs open. You can’t save guest mode profile, so every time you want to hand the headset off to someone to try, or if it’s a significant other for them to use, again, they’ve got to go through the painful step of having to set up the eye tracking every single time.

And probably the biggest quirk and downside with the Vision Pro I’ve encountered so far is not the external battery pack, it’s the App Store and the limited amount of Vision OS apps outside of productivity and media consumption. There’s not much else.

There are a few games from Apple Arcade and other developers, but that’s it. So far, to me, the Vision Pro isn’t really a spatial computer. It is a spatial iPad with all of the baggage you get with it being constrained like iPad OS.

I’m highly skeptical that Apple’s approach of keeping the Vision Pro so locked down is the best strategy for a category of device they’re marketing as a computer. Though a spatial computer, if they treated the Vision Pro like an actual computer, AKA a Mac, you’d be able to download apps from wherever you wanted to, and the cost to developers would in theory be less, and overall, it would result in faster development, experimentation, and maturation for Vision OS and the Vision Pro.

So, day one versus day 14 with the Vision Pro has been quite a journey. The Vision Pro is an incredible piece of technology that showcases what the future of computing will likely look like. It’s like strapping an iMac Cinema to your face, and it is heavy. It can cause eye strain and headaches, but how long will it actually take me to acclimate to the device and hopefully eliminate the eye strain and headaches?

How will the product further develop? Will the EU get involved and force sideloading? What new apps will come out for the Vision Pro? And how will the battery life be over the long term? After 2 weeks of using it, I’m honestly left with more questions than answers.

So, 2 weeks is where most reviewers would end their review period if they got the product from Apple. They’re going to give it back to Apple or if they bought it, a lot of them are going to return it. But that’s not really using the product as if you own it, which is why I review things after 6 months.

And if you want to see my full 6 months later review of the Vision Pro, make sure you’re subscribed to the channel and follow me for more updates on the Vision Pro. If you like this video, hit that thumbs up button below.

For 6 months later, I’m Josh Teder. Thanks for watching.

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