Apple Vision Pro: 9 reasons people give for ordering the $3,500 headset

ZDNET talked to buyers who are planning to get the Vision Pro and here's why they are showing deep curiosity for Apple's spatial computer.
Written by Jason Hiner, Editor in Chief
Apple Vision Pro headset at WWDC 2023
Jason Hiner/ZDNET

Who would pay $3,500 for a next-generation computer that you wear like a visor in front of your eyes?  

Since Apple announced its release date and pre-order plans for the Vision Pro, I've been talking with lots of people in tech about the upcoming launch and I've been surprised at how many are planning to pre-order the headset -- or, are at least thinking about.  

Also: Should you pre-order Apple Vision Pro? These 5 questions can help you decide

For those who are ready to plunk down their money, I've been asking them why they are motivated to buy one and what they plan to do with the Vision Pro.  

I've grouped their responses into nine different points, and here they are. 

1. Immersive experiences are what's next 

Kevin O'Donovan, who runs an agency that advises tech companies, said, "I honestly believe 'immersive experiences' are a key part of our future, be that with some sort of headset or not. I don't see the Vision Pro being the 'answer' -- [same for] the Quest 3 or Varjo XR4 or the new Sony headset. But I do believe each has their sweet spot." 

This is a line of thinking I also explored ahead of the Vision Pro announcement when I wrote, "Will Apple's headset signal the beginning of the immersive internet?

Kevin confirmed he's pre-ordering the Vision Pro. "Personally, I believe in trying out such tech myself, so then I can make an informed decision," he said. 

Also: You can get an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, and a Mac for the price of one Vision Pro

2. Eye tracking could have a larger impact 

Nelson Karrick, a network engineer, said, "The technology [Apple is] implementing could have a major impact outside of the Apple Vision Pro. I'm excited to see just how good the eye tracking is, because I think this could make its way to traditional computing as well. The current system of a trackpad or mouse works fine, but it could be a more natural feel to simply look at a screen in the future. This also carries a lot of weight for people with disabilities that may struggle to use a traditional mouse pointer." 

Nelson confirmed he was going to order Vision Pro online on Friday as soon as it went live on the Apple Store. 

3. Spatial video and spatial photography 

Ben Thomas, an IT executive and photography enthusiast, said "I've experimented with or bought many of the 360 [degree] VR and 180 [degree] 3D video/photo products over the past 5 years. I see the dream [and] so far have been disappointed. I trust that Apple may have finally nailed this and the quality is much improved. My number one thing I'm excited about is the idea of virtual travel. I'm also excited about making 3D memories of family members before it's too late." 

Ben recently tried the Meta Quest 3 but returned it. He reported that he ordered the 512GB Vision Pro on Friday morning. Hopes that the quality and fidelity will finally offer what he's been waiting for when it comes to 3D photography and video.  

Also: I tried Apple Vision Pro and it's far ahead of where I expected

4. It's a big moment for early adopters 

Mark McChesney, an IT leader, said, "My background is in technology. I am an early adopter. I purchased the first iPhone in [Washington] DC while on [a family vacation]. I like to explore and be on the cutting edge and I think the tech [in the Vision Pro] might end up being compelling." 

Mark plans to order the Vision Pro on Friday. 

Michael Peters, a sales executive and an advisor to AR/VR companies, said, "I'm very interested in the Vision Pro but I have several concerns. A very limited number will be available [at launch]. I've read that a number of improvements are in the works and I'm a little leery of initial releases. All that said, I still want it!" 

Apple Vision Pro headset demo WWDC
Jason Hiner/ZDNET

5. Developers have been waiting to do in-depth 3D experiences 

Todd Heberlein, a software developer and cybersecurity expert, said, "I've created and released a few AR/VR apps for iOS. I've created many others that were not released. 3D is just interesting and fun. At WWDC 2022, Apple recommended AR/VR experiences last only 1-2 minutes, which caused me to press pause on AR/VR development. Most ideas I'm interested in do not fit into 1-2 minute experiences... VisionOS is really the first new Apple platform geared towards developers since Apple announced support for the App Store in 2008 [for iPhone]... I can finally unpause some of those 3D experiences I have in mind." 

Todd said he's pre-ordering a Vision Pro. 

Also: Inside VisionOS: 18 things developers need to know about coding for Apple Vision Pro

6. Tech experts want to have an opinion when people ask 

McChesney said, "My friends rely on me for tech advice. I enjoy learning and I spend a great deal of time staying up to date with tech, news, culture, and society. I was an early adopter of [lots of new technologies]. It feels like the Vision Pro could be an inflection point that brings us new tools and ways to learn and to be entertained." 

Also: Apple is now marketing Vision Pro as the 'ultimate entertainment device'

7. Productivity is still an X factor 

Thomas added, "I'm very curious about how this can be used for work / productivity." 

In its original demo at WWDC last June, Apple put a lot of emphasis on professionals using the Apple Vision Pro as their computer device at a desk in the office and in a hotel room on the road. The implication was that it's a new working experience that's better than just having a laptop or desktop machine. However, it has not included those features in any of the demos we know about with journalists, analysts, and developers. So, I'm as curious as Ben to see how well this is going to work. 

McChesney noted he could see himself using Vision Pro like a computer. "I would do some creative work (photography, videography editing), communication (email, messaging, video conferencing, etc) and consumption (YouTube, streaming services, etc.)," he said. "The hype makes it seem like an experience where I can watch a video and discover ancillary data about the content, actors, etc. at the same time. [That's] an example of something that would appeal to me." 

8. The potential for an "iPad effect" in business 

O'Donovan said, "What I am most curious about -- assuming it all works -- [is] will we see an 'iPad' moment in enterprises [and] industry after the Vision Pro comes out. By that I mean, will executives and senior managers walk into their organizations once they try the Vision Pro and say, 'I want to use this in my day job.' If that happens, then it opens up all sorts of possibilities for 'spatial computing' or what the others call immersive XR, VR, etc." 

9. This first Vision Pro could be a future collector's item 

Karrick mentioned, "As this is a new product from Apple, there is a bit of 'future nostalgia' to it as well. Whether it is a complete flop or instant success, I think that 10 years from now people will seek these out as collectors' items. This is probably the lesser of the reasons I am interested but does make an impact." 

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