Thoughts on Vision Pro

I've been meaning to write up some thoughts on Vision Pro since the initial announcement back at WWDC and thought I really need to publish them before the preorders hit.

A lot of what I think applies to headsets in general and isn't actually Vision Pro specific.


In typical Apple fashion, Vision Pro is definitely the "nicest", best looking headset you can get. And if that sounds like faint praise, it's most definitely meant to be. I could be completely wrong here, but even as a huge tech nerd, I just have no desire to wear a clunky headset for prolonged periods of time, alone or in public. Call me an old man, but I genuinely hope that we don't get to the point where having a real life conversation with someone whilst wearing one of these is considered acceptable or the done thing. Apple gear is meant to make you look cool in Starbucks, not like a twat.

I'm as cynical as it gets when it comes to Apple's marketing spiel, but even I think there is something in Steve Jobs' assertion that they operate at the intersection of technology and the humanities. Subjecting your parter to your fake digital eyes is about as far from that as I can imagine.

Use case

Apple has often set itself apart by being great at solving a problem, rather than selling a technology. But less than 24 hours out from preorders, it still feels largely like a tech demo. Various prominent voices have labelled it a dev unit, and I'm inclined to agree. There are a hodge podge of ideas and a grand vision (pun not intended) of "spatial computing", but the substance and detail are largely missing.

It's to Apple's credit that there are still a fair number of developers with an affinity for their platforms who are clamouring to build apps, but I'm doubtful that the economics currently make sense for most businesses and it'll be interesting to see how the ecosystem develops. The sales pitch currently feels like iPad apps in 3D, with the killer feature being watching video on a cinema screen. Which could definitely be compelling if it wasn't for...

The Price

I have no doubt that Vision Pro will sell out tomorrow, be hard to get for the rest of 2024 and sell on Ebay for however many multiples of the RRP. There are more than enough rich people and scalpers around to eat up the limited stock which Apple is able to produce.

I may very well be wrong, but I'm struggling to see the value proposition for normal people and enterprises at Apple Scale. Podcasters keep talking about being able to use a huge screen when working away from their desk, but in the real world most offices are full of 24" 1080P monitors. The one area I'm actually qualified to talk about is enterprise IT costs, and I'm confident that no company will be ordering Vision Pros for more than a fraction of their employees for very specific use cases.

And I'm not even sure how much this changes over time. The original iPhone launched at $499, and today's cheapest model is the $429 SE. That's a 14% reduction over 16 years. Even the M1 Macbook Air launched three years ago is still selling for the same $999 launch price. Apple is just really really good at holding (and increasing) prices.

There's always the possibility of a cheaper non-Pro model, but given the experience that Apple is aiming for, I really don't feel like we're hitting an affordable price point in the next 5+ years.

In summary

I'm not really hedging my bets with any of the above and am open to being completely wrong. As already mentioned, most of my bearishness could be applied to headsets in general.

There's no doubt that the Vision Pro is executed amazingly from a technical point of view, and is as bleeding edge as it gets. But it's hard to see how we get from this to the AR glasses which are so clearly the desired end point.

I'm still excited to try one and potentially eat my words. But right now it just feels more tech demo than finished product.

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