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Until Apple comes out with a $1,500 to $2,000 headset aimed at a broader audience and available in larger quantities, it's not worth considering a purchase just to use it for entertainment, video calls, or virtual monitors. Vision Pro will need a year or two for developers to come up with a lot more useful apps and experiences and for major partners like YouTube, Netflix, and Spotify to get interested enough to bring their content to the platform.
If you already ordered a Vision Pro and you have buyer's remorse, don't worry. All Apple products have a two-week return policy. You can try it for a week or two and put my buying advice to the test, get a taste of the limited nature of Apple Vision Pro at the start, and get back your $4,000.
If you haven't ordered the Vision Pro but you're curious about what could possibly make this product cost this much then you should definitely book a demo at one of the Apple Stores that's offering them. It will be worth the trip. Most of the demo is full of impressive novelties. But there's something you have to see with your own eyes and that's the spatial videos and spatial photos. Apple's implementation of these is outstanding and makes it worth putting your eyes in the headset.
The difference between regular photos and videos and spatial photos and videos is almost like the leap from black-and-white to color in photographs and film -- although this may be an even bigger jump. Looking at a good spatial photo or spatial video is more like stepping into a special moment than looking at an image or a recording. When I first saw it, I had an emotional reaction to it -- and immediately thought, "I wish I had this when my kids were little." I think most people will have a similar reaction and think about the most meaningful moments in their lives that they wish they could re-live. Mike Rockwell, the Apple executive who runs the Vision Pro team, confirmed at WWDC that the development team had a similar reaction when they all tested the feature for the first time and decided it had to go in the final product.
But as amazing as spatial photos and spatial videos are to experience, it's not worth buying a Vision Pro just for them. In fact, you can capture spatial videos and spatial photos on an iPhone 15 Pro or Pro Max today, use an app like Spatialify to convert them to a standard format, and view them on the $500 Meta Quest 3.
If you take my advice and get a demo of Vision Pro at an Apple Store or try one out for a week or two and return it, then you may get a taste for how far these immersive digital experiences have come in the last few years. I'd still recommend you avoid buying one unless you fit the criteria I mentioned above. However, you can plunk down $500 on a Meta Quest 3 and start checking out over 500 apps already there, compared to roughly 150 on Vision Pro for now. There are also some incredibly good and well-refined Quest apps like Supernatural and Puzzling Places. I'd recommend getting a Quest 3, watching the Vision Pro ecosystem evolve, and then circle back in a year or two when Apple comes out with a more affordable model that has a lot more apps available.
If your business is looking to invest in VR, AR, and/or XR for use in product development, training, productivity, or other functions, you'd be better off with established platforms and partners like HTC Vive, Varjo, and Sony/Siemens since they have well developed enterprise programs along with experience with VR and digital twins in multiple industries such as construction, architecture, manufacturing, health care, government, law enforcement, and others. But, you may want to order a Vision Pro to begin testing it alongside those other headsets, if you're deeply invested in making XR a key part of your organization's future.
Clearly, the launch of Vision Pro is an important milestone for VR, spatial computing, and next-gen digital experiences. It's also an exciting step in the future of the immersive internet. But, most people should fight off the FOMO and avoid buying one. Go ahead and test it out. I'm sure you'll be as impressed with the build quality and the aesthetics of the device as I was when I put my hands on it. And the spatial videos and spatial photos are truly emotional -- and have the potential to ignite a revolution.
But if you simply want to start experiencing the next stage of immersive digital experiences, get a Quest 3 now or wait to see the wave of Vision Pro competitors that are coming in 2024 -- likely for half the price. And then circle back when Apple has a product and an ecosystem that's ready for broader adoption in another year or two.