By | January 3, 2024
The Apple Vision Pro will change computing, but there are four reasons why I still won't buy it

Important takeaways

  • The Apple Vision Pro is way too expensive, with a retail price of $3,500. That’s not even including the extra costs of prescription lenses and accessories.
  • Comfort may be an issue with the Vision Pro, as it is reportedly heavy and may cause discomfort during prolonged use.
  • The VisionOS software for Vision Pro is disappointing, as it resembles macOS and lacks innovation in terms of user interface and mixed reality experiences.

Apple announced the Vision Pro, its first mixed-reality headset (or “spatial computer”), last year, and it could launch in February. There is a lot of talk surrounding the new headset and a lot of secrecy from Apple about what it will be like to actually use the Vision Pro. Make no mistake: based on what we’ve seen in previews, Vision Pro will absolutely change the way we use computers and devices forever. It’s immersive, powerful and intuitive in every way. But even if all these things are true, I still won’t buy it. Here are four reasons why.

4 It’s way too expensive

I can’t justify spending more than $4,000 on a headset

The front of a Vision Pro headset at WWDC.

To get the simple point out of the way first, let’s talk about the price of the Apple Vision Pro. It will retail for $3,500, and that number blows most other mainstream headsets out of the water. And if you need prescription lenses to see, you’ll have to shell out even more to buy Zeiss prescription lens inserts for the headset. Pricing for these isn’t official yet, but early guesses suggest they’ll cost at least a few hundred dollars.

Anyone who disagrees with these estimates probably hasn’t bought glasses before. Basic lens correction is inexpensive, but advanced prescriptions and progressive lenses still come at a premium. Simply put, $3,500 would have been a hard sell, but paying even more is a non-starter for me. If you don’t need prescription lenses, you should still expect to pay more for things like cases and accessories, which will certainly be expensive if other Apple accessories are anything to go by. The overall problem isn’t with the retail price of the Vision Pro; it’s about the fact that the huge cost is not comprehensive.

3 Comfort can be an issue

The size of the Vision Pro may limit how long you can use it

apple vision pro display from the bottom

I’m interested to see how customers can interact with the Vision Pro in stores before they buy it because comfort will be a huge factor. Imagine shelling out thousands of dollars for a headset that you can only wear for a short period of time before feeling uncomfortable. This is something I am concerned about with the Vision Pro and hands-on experience seems to bear this out. XDA Editor Ben Sin went hands-on with the Vision Pro last year, and he noticed that the headset felt heavy while on the head even after a short session.

We don’t know the exact weight of the Vision Pro, but estimates place it at around one pound. Sin said it felt like at least 1.5 pounds, and guesses vary among other people who have tried the device. These would put it either slightly above or slightly below Meta Quest 3.

The problem is, I don’t trust Apple to make the Vision Pro feel comfortable. I’ve had a pretty terrible experience with the AirPods Max, which ditched the plastic typically used in over-ear headphones for aluminum, and it feels heavy and uncomfortable as a result. The Vision Pro takes a similar approach in the headset form factor, so I’m skeptical.

2 visionOS is not special

It’s similar to macOS in many ways, which is disappointing

App Store in visionOS.

Source: Apple

The hardware in the Vision Pro is killer, and it’s way ahead of anything on the market today. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the software will be on par with the headset’s internals at launch. Apple had the chance to completely reimagine its user interface for touch gestures and mixed reality experiences, but it didn’t. Instead, visionOS looks like macOS with some transparent elements that reflect a user’s surroundings. It’s pretty cool, but visionOS isn’t groundbreaking. Sure, the OS could have changed between previews and launch, but Apple hasn’t given us much to go on.

I hope visionOS is to macOS what iPadOS was to iOS. iPads ran scaled-up versions of iOS for many years and now have their own iPadOS software that takes advantage of the tablet form factor. Perhaps visionOS could evolve from macOS in the future as well, making changes that use the Vision Pro’s headset form factor.

1 Vision Pro is a secondary device

It won’t directly replace a single device I own today

I could try to bypass all these issues and buy the Vision Pro anyway, but there’s no reason to. The headset wouldn’t replace a single device in my daily workflow, but would just be a secondary device. I would still use my Macs, smartphones, tablets, TVs, and Asus ROG Ally on a daily basis, even if I spent $3,500 on the Vision Pro headset. I actually can’t think of a specific way that Vision Pro would change the way I use technology. You can use it instead of a computer or instead of a TV, but it wouldn’t directly replace either of those devices.

Vision Pro is so powerful that it doesn’t really compare to current mixed-reality headsets on the market, which is why Apple calls it a “spatial computer.” Many of us are captivated by what Vision Pro can do, but I suspect there are many people who are not sure how and when they will use it. Until these questions are answered or the Vision Pro can replace a device category, I’ll hold off on buying one.

Future generations can earn my dollars

I have used some first generation Apple products, namely iPad and Apple Watch. For those who don’t remember, these two products were pretty terrible at launch but were boosted by impressive second generation replacements. I think this may be the case with the Vision Pro. The first generation will give developers time to create new apps and experiences for Vision Pro, let Apple figure out where Vision Pro should be improved, and hopefully result in some cost savings.

Vision Pro will change when it launches in a month or two. But in a few years it might be a game changer I would actually buy.

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