There’s a serious problem hanging over Apple’s flagship project for 2024

Apple's new Vision Pro virtual reality headset is demonstrated during Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) at the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California on June 5, 2023.  (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Apple’s new Vision Pro virtual reality headset is demonstrated during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) at the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California on June 5, 2023. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images) (Josh Adelson via Getty Images)

Apple Vision Pro is Apple’s big bet for 2024. In the coming days, this spatial computing device, as the company calls it, will go on sale. There won’t be very many units in stores, only 60,000, and they’ll likely sell out within a few hours. However, this projected initial success won’t necessarily mean it’s a good product or a success for Apple. Furthermore, the journalists who have been able to test the device in depth are not at all satisfied with its performance, unlike what usually happens with the brand’s products, which usually receive great reviews.

Engadget and The Verge have tested the Apple Vision Pro. Response from both sites has been mixed. Cherlynn Low of Engadget complained that after 15 minutes she “started to feel like the device was weighing her down,” and after just five minutes she started feeling “pain.” Victoria Song of The Verge also says that by the end of the 30-minute demo, she “began to feel the weight of the device… and got a slight headache.”

Needless to say, these are not the kind of experiences Apple would have expected to hear before they became available to the general public on February 2nd. Many experts consider Vision Pro to be one of the most important products released under Apple CEO Tim Cook, hailing the product as a harbinger of “the era of spatial computing”. Although virtual reality and augmented reality headsets to date are all forms of spatial computing, Apple has made a concerted effort to appropriate the term as something different or broader than previous augmented reality and mixed reality experiences.

Although testers noted problems with the helmet’s comfort, they also acknowledged that the Vision Pro offers a fairly immersive experience. For example, the meditation experience was particularly enjoyable. Using hand tracking and gestures to control the interface works well. However, when it came to performing more work-oriented tasks, Engadget’s Dana Wolman commented that the virtual keyboard experience was poor and “it took a few tries to even get Engadget to type correctly in the Safari demo.”

Vision Pro has been widely recognized by experts as one of the most important products introduced during the leadership of Apple CEO Tim Cook.  Reuters/Lauren ElliottVision Pro has been widely recognized by experts as one of the most important products introduced during the leadership of Apple CEO Tim Cook.  Reuters/Lauren Elliott

Vision Pro has been widely recognized by experts as one of the most important products introduced during the leadership of Apple CEO Tim Cook. Reuters/Lauren Elliott (Reuters/Reuters)

a complex type of product

Despite having potential, the glasses to date have not aroused the same enthusiasm among the general public as the iPhone or iPad did in their time. This seems to guarantee that even with the Apple logo, the Vision Pro will be more successful than similar gadgets like the Meta Quest Glasses.

Reality Labs, the Meta division responsible for the Meta Quest glasses, has not had much success. It lost $3.7 billion in the fiscal third quarter of 2023 and is losing money quarter after quarter. From Microsoft’s perspective, spatial computing doesn’t seem like a good deal. Even with the imminent launch of Apple Vision Pro, the company announced in late 2023 that it is removing its Windows Mixed Reality interface built into Windows.

It’s not really a category that consumers have embraced. Apple may not always be the first to launch a product, but it is known for “reinventing” a category, solving problematic issues for consumers, and dramatically improving the overall user experience in the process. Is.

What’s the problem with virtual/mixed reality devices?

In fact, the public does not like wearing masks stuck on their faces. The Apple Vision Pro doesn’t do anything to fix this problem as it feels quite bulky. While the Meta Quest 3, the most popular helmet on the market, is fully autonomous and relatively light (153 grams), Apple’s Vision Pro weighs almost three times as much (450 grams) and requires an external battery that The device that connects to the side must be placed in the user’s pocket. In other words: the convenience and practicality of the Vision Pro isn’t optimal from the start.

Needless to mention, the Apple Vision Pro is a product that goes directly against Apple’s core values. The company founded by Steve Jobs prides itself on inventing gadgets that make its users’ lives easier, that allow them to be more creative or productive, or that even take care of their health (like the Apple Watch). . However, the Apple Vision Pro is a kind of gateway to a virtual world in which users are just passive creatures who are supposed to dedicate themselves only to consuming content.

The Apple Vision Pro will retail starting at $3,500 and pre-orders begin last Friday, January 19th. Shoppers will be asked to scan their face before taking home their Vision Pro for an in-store trial and demo experience lasting at least 40 minutes. Supply is expected to be very limited at launch and will only be available in the United States until 2024, before a wider global launch in 2025.

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