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Vision Pro might not get really good until 2030, but I can’t wait that long

Published Feb 12th, 2024 10:22AM EST
Apple Vision Pro spatial computer.
Image: Jonathan S. Geller

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The Apple Vision Pro was released just over a week ago, and I would’ve gotten mine by now if it were available in Europe. Well, I still could buy one from a scalper for a relatively low markup. The big caveat of owning a Vision Pro made for the US market is that it won’t work elsewhere unless you have an Apple ID set to the US. 

I will, however, get the Vision Pro the second it’s officially available in Europe. Even if it’s not perfect and even if Apple still has a lot of work to do. On that note, a new report from Mark Gurman stresses just how far Apple has to go before the Vision Pro gets really good. Apple is reportedly aware of all the issues. According to Gurman’s report, the Vision Products Group believes it’ll need four generations to truly get the Vision Pro to where it needs to be.

I won’t wait that long to get started on the spatial computer experience that might shape Apple’s entire future.

Gurman detailed his experience with the Vision Pro in the Power On newsletter for Bloomberg. He explained the good things about the spatial computer but also the things that Apple has to iron out. The Vision Pro’s weight, the visionOS experience, and the lack of apps are some of the things that Apple has to fix. 

It’s in this context that the Bloomberg reporter provided the tidbit about the Vision Products Group. That’s the Apple team working on the headset. Some of those engineers think the Vision Pro will need four generations before it reaches its ideal form. That’s “similar to the progression of the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.”

It’s unclear what that ideal form is, however. Hardware or software. The comment came in response to the software experience, which Gurman says is plagued by bugs and issues.

“At this point, it feels like the software is a beta version and about a year away from feeling refined enough for consumers to use on a day-to-day basis,” he said.

A Vision Pro user looking at various open apps.
A Vision Pro user looking at various open apps. Image source: Apple Inc.

I’m not surprised the software might be buggy. Also, I think that it’ll take time for the Vision Pro’s purpose to become clear. Apple needs input from users and developers on what the Vision Pro would be best for. And on how to improve the experience. Just like the Apple Watch, which needed years for Apple to focus on the health and fitness experience. 

However, I don’t think one should wait that long to get a Vision Pro computer if the budget allows it. First, there’s no telling how frequently the hardware updates will come. Apple releases new iPhones and Apple Watches every year. As for the iPad, 2023 was an exception, as we had no product refreshes. 

We might not get a new Vision Pro until sometime in 2025. If Apple settles for a two-year upgrade cycle, the fourth-gen Vision Pro will hit stores only at some point in the early 2030s. I am speculating, of course. And it’s all based on what Vision Pro engineers reportedly believe about the Vision Pro roadmap. 

Secondly, I want to get used to Vision Pro computing as early as possible. It’ll take time to get used to interacting with the spatial computer via eye and hand coordination. 

Apple Vision Pro with protective cover.
Apple Vision Pro with protective cover. Image source: Jonathan S. Geller

Without having tested it, I think that using eyes and hands to control the Vision Pro might be faster than traditional mouse-and-keyboard setups. But, after seeing the reviews, including Gurman’s take, I realize it’ll be a process of teaching yourself to interact with the spatial computer and maintain focus on what you’re doing. You’ll have to master that before getting a faster experience than the Mac or iPhone/iPad.

Thirdly, unlike Gurman, I think that the Vision Pro is the first step towards iPhone computing. That a more distant successor of the Vision Pro could take the shape of AR glasses. They will work with the iPhone in my pocket. When that happens, I’ll want to already be proficient in controling a spatial computer with my eyes and hands as fast as possible.

Finally, my day job is reporting on Apple products. I got the first-gen Apple Watch and iPad because I needed to experience them in day-to-day life. I’ll have to do the same thing with the Vision Pro, even if it’ll be a more expensive purchase than those other first-gen devices. I want to experience the Vision Pro software and hardware evolution and maybe even help Apple improve it via the feedback I’ll provide.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.