I've been asked by a few people what I think about the upcoming Apple Vision or talking about it in Apple's marketing words: "The first steps into spatial computing". Imagine a world where your apps live in your space, transforming your environment into an infinite canvas. With spatial videos and photos, relive cherished moments in 3D, and turn any room into a personal theatre. Curious about the potential of this game-changing technology? Let us take a comprehensive look at the future of spatial computing.
Before we dive in, if you haven't seen Apple's keynote yet about it, check out what The Verge posted to get you up to speed:
In case you are interested in how Apple presented it in marketing 'speak', check out their video:
- The battery life is a problem, but this limitation is quickly solved with enough power bricks and spare batteries until the next generation(s) of glasses demand less and less.
- Motion sickness will be an issue, even though Apple said it will not.
- First impressions are it's not as marketing tells us it is. There is some 'blackness' in the corners.
There is no killer app yet, but we'll get there with the attention it got at WWDC. The killer app is the UX itself. Everything combined makes it frictionless, easy to use and understandable. Just as the iPhone did for Smartphones, Vision is doing for 'spatial computing' (read: AR/VR)
- Gestures are kept simple and easy. See below, and you can add custom ones yourself
The vision pro enables more opportunities and possibilities to work 'on the go', regardless of where you are.
Right now, I am typing this on a way too heavy 16" intel macbook Pro, and having to converse with chatGPT to find some fitting images is all window management. That is gone. Also, using an overpowered intel machine that is significantly slower due to Outlook needs to be gone. Let alone those pesky colleagues that keep on watching your screen for interesting bits.
And let's make a positive example out of that, having to do work with confidential information is no longer a problem since that only exists in your headset (and activating or putting it on needs your 'pupil ID' to be recognised)
The vision headset would give me much more space, serenity and, as said, privacy to work in case I need it. I could easily lay out ideas in front of me, gather information using different apps and browse not in tabs but in a virtual world more fluidly than the awkward interactions a trackpad and keyboard give me.
Even a cramped environment like a train or aeroplane would give you more space, and turning a car's backseat (or passenger seat) into a work-friendly environment is an excellent idea, although a bit boring for the other passengers. A cheaper version will take over the iPad for the kids in the car!
I found the "put on your goggles at a children's party" a weird idea to present a gimmick. Being able to 3d capture a moment with your kids, spouse, or dog might be fun, but the headset will create a new boundary to cross with people that are less digitally native.
If I were travelling by S-bahn or tram in Berlin, I would hesitate to put it on. Yes, we also got used to headphones and cameras there, but privacy is significant in Germany. Who knows what people secretly do within their spatial computing world with what they see around them?
On the plus side, the vision Pro could be an extension of my personal being – a way to express myself by showing what I'm watching or listening to on the external screen, not that different from the clothes I wear or the gadgets I use (airpod or similar like these headphones below)
Being back home, I'd be happy to ignore the big screen in the living room to watch a show I only like or have a little gaming session after work. I could turn a small desk or kitchen table into a productive environment. Still, I'm more interested in how it can enable garden planning, a DIY project or assist me in repairing things that don't take place in an office setting.
Since I still love F1 and football, I would see statistics, live timing and more than one screen when watching sports. Not annoying my spouse is a big benefit!
Where other headsets have found a fitness niche, Apple is not at that point yet. I wouldn't want to wear any more gadgets I already do during training, and they need to be solid when throwing around weights or going all out in a rowing session. Vision Pro is fragile. Vision fitness will be much better for this!
What would a regular 'day-to-day' look like for me when I would include vision? Some blogs consider this will never be the case due to nausea, problems with eyesight and disconnection from the real world, but I concur.
|Time||Activity||Vision Pro Use Case|
|🕖||Getting up, making breakfast. This is quiet time.||No need for vision.|
|🕗||The dog needs to walk. I drink my coffee, catch up with the news, and prepare for the day.||I would catch up on news and prepare for the day if I were alone that day.|
|🕘||Mostly meetings.||I can imagine doing this by walking around and using the digital avatar features, having some extra real estate to jot down things or sketching stuff, or playing a game.|
|🕛||Some meetings, some blocked time to work.||Being able to focus and forget the world around me would be great. I love to focus (especially in the office) and get some stuff done. Mostly this is thinking these days, and it could do wonders for that. It could also reduce the friction we have for meeting people online, issues with screen sharing etc.|
|🕔||"Free time", sometimes spent with some more work or sports.||Won't impact my sports life right now, but it could help with cooking, maybe?|
|🕖||"Home time", Enjoying a movie or a game, solo or with the misses.||Could replace some of that, but it would only be relevant for me. Perhaps when doing some chores like washing or ironing?|
|🕚||Time for bed. No digital devices around, except an ebook||If my mind is strong enough I won't take it with me. Really.|
Training/education ➡️ It's perfect for learning new things, engaging young people more and professional training too – especially more complicated things (e.g. mechanics, electrical engineering, doctors/surgeons etc.) 2. Collaboration ➡️ Things become more hands-on, more 'touchable' instead of working with text, emails or Slack: visual designers, developers, or project management benefit. 3. Architecture, real estate, interior design ➡️ I want to design the interior of my next house with vision. (IKEA was already mentioned in the marketing material) 4. Retail/e-commerce ➡️ Putting your car in the house is one thing, but being able to drive the vehicle you configured in VR would be amazing! 5. Sports coach ➡️ Picking the easy thing here, but combining the data generated on an Apple Watch or the pitch (e.g. a football match) and presenting it in Vision is fantastic! 6. Gardening ➡️ Imagine walking through the garden and instantly seeing the soil conditions in your garden, knowing precisely what to do next. 7. DIY / home repair ➡️ I'm horrible at this. Vision, I need your help!
- John Gruber's Daringfireball.net --> https://daringfireball.net/2023/06/first_impressions_of_vision_pro_and_visionos
Vision Pro and VisionOS feel like they’ve been pulled forward in the future. I haven’t had that feeling about a new product since the original iPhone in 2007.
What you see at first is just ... your world. You just see the room you’re in. There’s no status information, no metadata, no indicators.
It is simply uncanny how Vision Pro makes virtual elements as spatially stable as the walls and furniture and people in the room around you.
It’s spatial computing, and some aspects of spatial computing are AR or VR.
Using a Mac, you are in a physical place. There is a display in front of you in that place, and on that display are application windows. Using VisionOS, there are just application windows in the physical place in which you are
Do I want one? ✅ Yes. I'm a gadget freak, an early adapter. Do I need one (professionally)? ✅ Yes. These inventions generate entirely new worlds. It is still boundaryless; no one uses it, and the opportunities are plenty. This is what I live for.
Do I see risks? ✅ Of course - developing interesting applications will take a lot of iterations to find out what sticks and what does not. Every
company person interested needs to start developing now.
Digitally interacting with the physical world needs to feel empowering and effortless. If this doesn't work as expected, people will stop using it. There is no longer a screen in your hand, creating technical limitations. That change in paradigm needs a lot of thinking.
The one more thing that gave me the feeling we've finally arrived in the future is the thought Apple put into informing the world around you. You are in the 'virtual world' or the real world. Displaying your eyes (or hiding them) is simple and powerful. I loved that detail.