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Apple Vision Pro hands-on showcases previously unknown details

Published Jan 16th, 2024 1:30PM EST
Apple Vision Pro
Image: Apple Inc.

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Ahead of Apple Vision Pro pre-orders starting this Friday, The Verge and Engadget went, once again, hands-on with Apple’s spatial computer. This time, the journalists could focus on the weight of the device, how typing feels, and even experience some immersive content by Apple TV+ and Disney+.

BGR gathered some of the most interesting quotes from the journalists who experienced the Apple Vision Pro a few weeks ahead of its release.

The Verge’s Victoria Song talked about how similar the Apple Vision Pro felt to her, even though it was her first time trying this device:

“But my half-hour with it revealed that Apple’s headset felt more familiar than I thought it would. The iPhone face scan to select the correct light seal is very similar to setting up Face ID. Slipping it onto your head isn’t that different from any number of other VR headsets.”

She also praises vision tracking, which is “fast and accurate.” Even typing on the virtual keyboard wasn’t an issue, although a bit clunky: “Apple had us open the virtual keyboard in Safari to browse to a website, and it worked, albeit clunkily: you look at a letter and pinch your fingers to select it. You can type as fast as your eyes can move, and fingers can pinch, which means it’s much easier to dictate to Siri.”

In her Apple Vision Pro hands-on experience, Song tested the EyeSight feature and how someone in the room appears as a “ghost” when you start talking to them:

“So we got to see a demo of EyeSight — what an onlooker would see on that front display when looking at someone wearing the Vision Pro. It’s a bit goofy, but you can see the wearer’s eyes, part of what Apple calls a “persona.” (We were not able to set up our own personas, sadly.) When Apple’s Vision Pro demo person blinked, we saw a virtual version of their eyes blink. When they were looking at an app, a bluish light appeared to indicate their attention was elsewhere. And when they went into a full virtual environment, the screen turned into an opaque shimmer. If you started talking to them while they were watching a movie, their virtual ghost eyes would appear before you. And when they took a spatial photo, you’d see the screen flash like a shutter. 

After this 30-minute test, she said she felt the beginning of a mild headache, but the tension dissipated as soon as she took the headset off. Interestingly, Engadget’s Cherlynn Low talked about how she needed to switch straps due to some discomfort. Unlike Victoria, Low needed the strap that crossed her head for more comfort.

“The Vision Pro unit I tried on today came with a strap that you stretch and ends up at the back of your head. It was wide, ridged, and soft, and I at first thought it would be very comfortable. But 15 minutes into my experience, I started to feel weighed down by the device, and five more minutes later, I was in pain. To be fair, I should have flagged my discomfort to Apple earlier, and alternative straps were available for me to swap out. But I wanted to avoid wasting time. When I finally told the company’s staff about my issues, they changed the strap to one that had two loops, with one that went over the top of my head.”

Interestingly, Engadget’s Dana Wollman highlighted how seamless the integration between Apple Vision Pro and mixed reality in her hands-on was when Apple set dinosaurs experience for her:

“Unlike Cher, I did not scream, though I did make a fool of myself. I held out my hand, to beckon one of the dinosaurs, and it did in fact walk right up to me and make a loud sound in my face. I “pet” it before it retreated. Another dinosaur appeared. I once again held out my hand, but that second dino ignored me. As the demo ended, I waved and heard myself say “bye bye.” (Did I mention I live with a toddler?) I then remembered there were other adults in the room, observing me use the headset, and felt sheepish. Which describes much of the Vision Pro experience, to be honest. You could maybe even say the same of any virtual reality headset worth their salt. It is immersive to the point that you will probably, at some point, throw decorum to the wind.”

Apple Vision Pro pre-orders start this Friday. BGR has a guide highlighting this device’s features, price, and more.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.

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