What the Apple Vision Pro needs to actually be worth $3,500

What the Apple Vision Pro needs to actually be worth $3,500
So Apple's first AR/VR headset costs $3,500, and I'm still having trouble justifying that price. As a VR enthusiast who's long been spoiled by Meta's affordable all-in-one headsets that have been around for years, I believe the Apple Vision Pro definitely has some maturing and improving to go through, before it's worth the premium price.

And what exactly would make me want to spend that much money on it? Well, there are a few things that come to mind, so let's get into it…

Killer app(s), they don't even need to be new

Unlike Meta, Apple has the advantage of owning an already-established app store, full of fantastic software. Since the Apple Vision Pro's operating system is based on iPadOS, millions of iPad apps could be ported to the headset with relative ease, and this needs to happen faster.

While the Vision Pro already has the basics – the Safari web browser, FaceTime, Apple TV, Mail, Messages, Zoom, and a whole slew of Microsoft productivity apps, among other options, it's still missing some of the iPad's best apps for content creation.

For example, I use LumaFusion – it's my favorite video editing app, ever. It's on my iPhone, MacBook and iPad – it's available on all of their app stores… but not on the Vision Pro. Same goes for Apple's own Logic Pro, iMovie and GarageBand.

Those highly useful productivity apps are already working perfectly on the iPad. The Apple Vision Pro is using the same M2 chip (and in many ways, the same operating system) as the current iPad Pro.

It seems like a no-brainer for Apple to bring those apps to the Vision Pro, and it probably would, but what matters is that it hasn't happened yet. And you know what they say – never buy a product now, based on future promises.

Controllers, to compete with gaming VR headsets

Apple may have failed to turn its computers into the gamer's first choice, but that doesn't mean the Vision Pro has to suffer a similar fate. Like it or not, VR gaming is the most popular use case for headsets, and the Cupertino company should be pushing for the most popular VR games to be on it, quickly.

Not even Beat Saber is available yet, and we aren't even sure if it's coming. Even if it does, it's not the kind of game you can play with hand gestures – it needs controllers – as do almost all VR games.

So a strong push to bring the VR games people play right now to the Vision Pro, along with actual VR gaming controllers for them, should be one of Apple's biggest, most urgent priorities right now.

But alas, Apple seems to be taking its time, and might even fall into the trap Meta did with the Quest Pro – trying too hard to focus only on business consumers; all work and no play... And failing, because business consumers aren't really sold on AR/VR yet. But a lot of gamers are, and their numbers are growing each year. Apple should be fighting hard to attract them, yet I'm not really seeing it happening.

PC VR support: Apple, I know it hurts, but the Vision Pro needs to start working with Windows

Just for a meme I wrote this segment of the article through my Meta Quest 3, as it's connected wirelessly to my PC, serving as a huge AR display for it. The Apple Vision Pro can do a similar thing with the MacBook, and that's nice.

But with my Quest 3, I can now choose to launch a triple-A VR game on my PC, and play it. Meanwhile Apple will never have the option of PC VR gaming with its MacBooks. Those don't have VR games, and as mentioned earlier, failed to attract gamers and game developers overall.

Thus, Apple should strongly consider allowing the Vision Pro to connect to Windows computers, so that it could be used for PC VR gaming.

This, and giving us VR gaming controllers, would create a significant chunk of new potential Apple Vision Pro customers – the PC VR gamers who want something more premium than their Quest 3.

Now, is it realistic to expect Apple, of all companies, to make their precious new device work with a competitor's operating system, in order to satisfy consumers? I'd wager not, even if it means potential profit loss, because Apple… is Apple.

But still, Windows PC VR support is the one crucial feature that would make me personally want to use the Vision Pro more often, so I can't not share my frustration with lacking the option.

Much improved FOV and passthrough

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Modern AR/VR headsets let you see the real world through their cameras, and that's called passthrough.

Although the Apple Vision Pro's passthrough is technically sharper than the $499 Quest 3's, they're surprisingly not that different to the naked eye, when you start swapping between them to compare.

As a test, I wore the Quest 3, then the Apple Vision Pro, trying to read normal-sized text on my TV, which is less than 1.5 meters away from me. The text appears blurry and illegible on both headsets, albeit ever so slightly clearer on the Vision Pro, where at least the capital letters are recognizable.

My point is, the Apple Vision Pro doesn't offer the kind of passthrough that feels $3,000 better than the Meta Quest 3, yet it's a $3,000 more expensive headset.

On top of that, the Vision Pro also has a lower, more claustrophobic field of view, compared to the Quest 3, which to me is unacceptable.

You may watch the demo video above and think: "Wow, this actually looks pretty great!" Well, do keep in mind that Vision Pro video recordings don't show its small field of view, and just plain don't convey how everything really looks and feels when you're actually wearing the headset.

Future Vision Pro models are surely going to improve on this, as they should, and significantly so. If anyone has the resources to develop the most true-to-life passthrough ever, it's Apple, yet this first Vision Pro iteration fails to impress, while still asking for a very premium price.

iPhone integration

It's kind of odd that there's not much integration between your iPhone and your Apple Vision Pro. It would've made sense to be able to look at your phone through the headset to unlock it, maybe see its screen mirrored on the Vision Pro, or at least getting your iPhone notifications in it.

Yes, the Apple Vision Pro is technically its own standalone thing that has the same apps as your phone, so theoretically you shouldn't need your iPhone while using the Vision Pro, but… you do, though.

As mentioned previously, a lot of apps are missing on the Vision Pro. You'll inevitably get notifications, not to mention phone calls, only on your iPhone. So some integration between it and the Vision Pro would've made sense, but again, I don't see any.

Less metals and overengineering, drop the pointless "eyes" display, design a built-in battery

There's a good reason most headsets on the market are made out of plastic – it's light. For a thing that's strapped to your head – you want it to be light.

Yes, metal and glass feel premium, but they also make the headset needlessly heavy, not to mention fragile. And babysitting a product isn't something you want to worry about, after spending $3,500 on it.

The Vision Pro is so fragile according to Apple, in fact, that it even comes with a little nappy-looking thing that covers its front glass.

And you have to use it! I actually feel like the headset will scratch pretty easily if I don't always wrap that around it, and again – I don't like that feeling. I don't worry about my Quest 3 scratching. It's made out of pretty durable-feeling, matte plastic instead.

So let's drop all of those fragile, heavy materials, and while we're at it, let's drop the pointless lenticular display at the front of the headset, and make space for an internal battery instead. That front display is yet to prove its usefulness. It's supposed to show your eyes, but it's pretty dim and hard to see.

Never have I ever used an AR/VR headset, thinking: "Man, I sure wish people around me could see my eyes. This kind of feature would definitely be worth bloating the price, and internal space of my headset."

No, the Vision Pro instead needs a built-in battery like most other all-in-one headsets. Make space for that, and put a swift end to the concept of an external battery, with a dangling cable connected to it.

It's far more important to have the built-in battery, for the sake of user convenience, than a lenticular screen showing your eyes, for the sake of nobody.

Now, I'm well aware that Apple's idea for that "eyes" screen was to make the Vision Pro appear like something you can use at home, among your family, that keeps you feeling present even if you have the thing strapped to your face, but come on…

We could argue that this is a good idea in theory, but the execution is bad, and unless a far better one is coming soon, I'd rather have a built-in battery instead of a screen just for my eyes, that nobody really sees.

Let's be real here… Lower the price

I know Apple wants to do its Apple thing, and is well aware that a limited-quantity, first-gen product by it will sell out regardless of how expensive it is, but as time goes on, that price will need to go down.

The modern AR/VR user is used to spending around $500 for a competent headset, and a $1,500 one is considered premium. Asking for $3,500 is ludicrous.

Perhaps if Apple does actually address all of my gripes listed above, it'd be an easier price to swallow, but for now, for what you get – it is not.
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