Jun 06 2023

First thoughts on the Apple Vision Pro

Published by at 11:50 am under Hardware,Software,Thoughts

From a pure technical perspective, the freshly introduced Apple Vision Pro might be a very interesting and impressive piece of technology. It could be the first product that does Augmented Reality (AR) “right” – even though this product, naturally, only plays well with the rest of the Apple ecosystem and does not even bother to integrate with other industrial or office platforms.

Apple only showed a fistful of usecases, and those usecase only interest their usual target audience: The “creatives” that most of the time work alone somewhere. And content consumers, of course, who need a new way to consume their AppleTV and Disney+ subscription – somewhere.

Unlike when Microsoft introduced HoloLens, Apple did not show how this product could be used in an actual factory or during an actual surgery. Or in the cockpit of an airplane. Or, gasp, on a battlefield. The thing is: Back in the day, Microsoft showed what the HoloLens can do for real people in the real world at real workplaces in real situations where the product can actually help and be actually useful.

In Apple’s world, the Vision Pro is a compact, mobile home theatre that can also do the occasional video call in which you can also look at a presentation. Or play a game – even with a Sony PS5 controller.

But only adults with a (home office, remote) job can play games. They did not show children or adolescents using the device. Simply because the gadget at 3500 USD (without taxes) is way too expensive – and too fragile – for that audience, so they know that those kids won’t ever get one.

Of course, the device is also not outdoor compatible at all. With an expected max battery life of two hours, where the battery is even connected via a cable, you won’t be using the thing somewhere outdoors. First of all, you couldn’t use it long enough, secondly you would look like an idiot and thirdly, you would be way to afraid to break the expensive thing.

Just as they’ve shown, this thing was designed for being used in your home, on your couch or bed, maybe at a desk. It was designed for “affluent” First World customers that no longer leave their home and who already have everything else. The Vision Pro will make it even simpler to isolate oneself from the world. Maybe that really is a product we scared and rich members of Western civilizations need more than ever.

But in the Western hemisphere, there’s a gigantic majority of people who will never ever use a product like the Apple Vision Pro. For example all the homeless people that currently inhabit the streets of San Francisco, not far from Apple’s HQ who cannot even afford to rent a place in that city anymore, even though some of them still go to work every day. For them, as outlined in the novel READY PLAYER ONE, a device like this could be an escape from their hopeless reality, it could be “a place to go”. But not at that price tag, and not with an industrial design that only allows for using the thing within the safety of your bedroom.

It will be interesting to see how the rest of the industry will respond to the concept of this gadget. Without a doubt, the hard- and software of the Vision Pro are ahead of other AR headsets on the market and there certainly are many use cases for it beyond the realms of entertainment, 3D photography and video conferencing. The next incarnation of the product will probably also address the ridiculous battery “solution” that Apple came up with for the initial product version. Heck, maybe version 2 will even be useable outdoors. But as we know Apple, it still won’t be affordable for average people who live in the real world and only make an average or low income working real jobs. You know, those folks who sell you your coffee at Starbucks or who flip your burger at McDondald’s. Or who take away your trash or who make your bed in your hotel room or the janitor who fixes the broken lightbulb for you. The wage slaves who work at the sweat shop that produces these expensive gadgets that they could never afford to buy with the salary they make in that shitty place.

But this all just fits with the way the product was even introduced and presented: Rich white people who have completely lost touch with the reality of the world were singing the praises of a new toy whose main purpose seems to be to allow wealthy people to consume (preferably woke) Disney+ content. Very obviously, no thought was wasted on how such a product could also improve the lives of the worker bees, the disabled, the handicapped and the not so fortunate.

The Vision Pro lacks actual vision.



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