You don't need to spend $3,500 on an Apple Vision Pro, just get a Quest 3 and this $10 app

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
You don't need to spend $3,500 on an Apple Vision Pro, just get a Quest 3 and this $10 app
Nope, this is not the Apple Vision Pro in my living room

Although the Apple Vision Pro is likely a lot of people's first introduction to the concept of AR/VR headsets, Apple's barrier of entry sure is high – $3,500.

For that price you do get arguably the most premium-feeling mixed reality headset, with a lovely user interface and magic-like eye and hand tracking. However, it's a first-gen product, and again – super expensive.

What if there was a way to get that experience for a reasonable price? Well, non-Apple mixed reality headsets have existed for quite a while, and as you might expect – they're far more affordable too.

And just like you can get a launcher app for your Android phone, to make it feel like an iPhone, you can get apps for, say, your cheap Meta Quest 3 headset, that make it feel like the $3,500 Apple Vision Pro.

Now, I'm usually skeptical of this, as apps that "emulate" an experience tend to be of poor quality, and very surface level, so I wasn't exactly sold on the fact that the Apple Vision Pro experience can be recreated convincingly enough… But still, I decided to buy a $10 one that looked promising, and…

It's even harder to justify spending $3,500 on the Apple Vision Pro now

So I've used AR (augmented reality), and VR (virtual reality) headsets for many years now. Almost all of the major ones.

And because of that, I wasn't exactly amazed by the Apple Vision Pro. It didn't feel to me that it provided that much of a better experience than the average headset, which normally costs thousands of dollars less.

And once again, I feel like I'm proven correct, because not only does this app – "the spatial app" – recreate the Apple Vision Pro's interface on the Meta Quest 3, and most of its functionality perfectly, but it reminded me just how little functionality there even is, to be recreated.

I encourage you to check out our Apple Vision Pro review before taking a look at the screenshots I took, just so you have a good idea of what the real thing is like.

But basically, this app for the $499 Meta Quest 3 recreates that experience spot-on. We have the rounded windows you can resize freely, open as many of them as you'd like, whether they're browser windows or apps, and place them around your real-world environment.

Speaking of the real-world environment, you can tint it all the way down to almost pitch black, so you can focus on your content more, especially if that content's a movie, or YouTube video.

The app launcher-slash-home screen is exactly the same as it is on the Apple Vision Pro, which itself feels like the Apple Watch's app browser – a honeycomb arrangement of app icons. Everything else is pretty one-to-one with how the Apple Vision Pro looks and feels too.

Sure, details like the virtual screens casting shadows on some real-life surfaces are not (yet) here, but did you really notice it?

And sure, the Meta Quest 3 doesn't have eye tracking, so you must use either its (extremely accurate) controllers, yet at the price of less seamlessness, or hand gestures, which work pretty good with this app, actually.

So one Meta Quest 3 app can replace the Apple Vision Pro experience for most users… and there's a whole Meta Quest 3 besides it, with tons of games and other experiences that the Vision Pro doesn't have

I know I sound like an Apple Vision Pro hater at this point, since I haven't been as enthusiastic about it as a lot of people are, but I get it – it can seem magical, especially if it's your first VR headset and you have no frame of reference. But I feel pretty justified in criticizing it, because it costs an insane $3,500.

And with that in mind, I truly believe that (at least for now) a $499 Meta Quest 3 with an app like this one can not only fully emulate the Apple Vision Pro perfectly for almost everyone, but if you close the app – guess what – there's an entire Meta Quest 3 for you to explore!

A $499 Meta Quest 3 that also has countless games for you to play, also has a web browser with multi-window support, and countless apps, and can also connect to your PC and Mac (not just Mac) to be used as a virtual screen for it…

Meanwhile the Apple Vision Pro remains very limited, with very few apps, not a single big-name AR or VR game, while costing as much as a decent used car; exactly an opposite of the Quest 3.

To be fair, it's likely a matter of time until a $3,500 Apple Vision Pro starts making sense, but it's not now, and it won't be soon

Based on some reliable leaks and rumors we've been hearing, Apple is aware that this thing's pricing is insane, and plans on releasing a non-Pro Apple Vision headset for less, in the next two years.

So that might solve the cost issue I have with this headset, somewhat.

And as for the lack of apps and games, a "killer app", or "killer use case" – that's likely going to be addressed too. Apple will sign deals with the biggest TV networks and content providers to get AR/VR content exclusively (or at least – in its highest, most enticing quality) on the Vision.

It'll likely start getting game developers on its side too, along with app developers, bringing most of the fantastic iPad apps and games we know and love to the Vision Pro, including video editing and music production apps, among others.

I do see the Apple Vision becoming an extremely futuristic way for content creators to do their work in the next two or three years, but until that time comes, until those apps come, the Apple Vision Pro remains a proof of concept.

So by all means, do not spend $3,500 on it. Or at least wait for the cheaper Apple Vision headset we've been hearing about.
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