Episode 46: Technology Bytes. . .Apple Vision Pro

This is Technology Bytes, episode 46 for January 21st, 2024.

Technology Bytes is a microcast where I share brief bytes on interesting technology.

My name is Joel.

Enjoy, and here we go.

This week I want to talk about Apple Vision Pro.

Apple just put that device, their next, I don’t know, big thing.

It’s probably what they want it to be, but who knows what it’s going to turn out to be.

But they just put it on pre-order, and the first deliveries of availability is supposed to be February 2nd.

So I’m really kind of speaking at a hand.

I wish that I had one.

I wish that I could have ordered one, but it is out of my price range.

They are a very expensive unit, and just not something that is in my world at this point.

So what is the Apple Vision Pro?

It’s interesting that few actually know.

I live in the Apple world.

I’m always paying attention to what Apple is doing.

A lot of the podcasts I listen to are centered around the Apple universe, so to speak.

But tonight when I was talking to my wife and mentioned the Apple Vision Pro, she had no idea what I was talking about.

No news, no thought.

There have been advertisements, well at least one, with a bunch of people putting on helmets.

Iron Man, Star Wars characters.

I can’t remember who else is in those, but just not something that had her attention at all.

I think if I ask my daughter, she might be vaguely aware.

My son, of course, is a geek like me and pays attention as well to things that I do.

So he probably knows.

Well, I know he knows, not probably.

So what is Apple Vision Pro?

I think at its core, you could say that Apple Vision Pro is a headset.

Much like, what is it, the MetaQuest?

I don’t even know what they are off the top of my head.

But it’s a headset that you put on that allows you to do things in a mostly virtual reality world, although you can do augmented reality with this goggle set from Apple.

Apple wants to call it the first entry into spatial computing.

They don’t want you to think of it as a place where you can only do gaming, or a place where you can only watch movies.

They want you to think this is a computer, and it is a computer.

Inside the headset is the Apple Silicon M1 chip.

It has up to 1TB of storage in it.

It has so many cameras that look at your face, that look at your eyes, so it knows where you’re looking, that look at the outside world, so you can actually see what’s in the world around you.

I was trying to explain it to my wife, and not doing a good job.

In my head, I think I know.

But the reality is, I don’t know that anyone really knows.

And it’ll be interesting to see in the next weeks after they’re delivered, what the world thinks.

So initially, when Apple announced the Apple Vision Pro, there were a number of people that got demonstrations on the Apple campus.

And most came away with the thought that this was a really cool thing.

They’re not exactly sure what you’re going to use it for.

But it is a computer.

It’s a Mac.

At its core, it’s a Mac.

And you can have any number of virtual screens in front of you.

You can have pages, and numbers, and Keynote, and Safari, and you name it.

You can have it open.

I don’t know what the limit is, but it’s kind of whatever the limit of a Mac would be.

And screen size is almost no limit, because you just decide how much of it you want to see in front of you.

And you can put screens around you.

It’s almost in a 3D space, which is the virtual reality part of it.

It is unlike really anything that’s been made before.

They’re going to compete in the environment with Facebook’s offering, with Google’s offering, with I think Yahoo, I don’t know.

But it is very different.

And those who got the early demonstrations were quite impressed with the technology, but still not sure if they could wear it for long periods of time.

Once Apple announced that it would go on pre-sale on February, I mean on January, what is today?

January 19th, so it went on Friday.

They gave people another opportunity.

Some of the same people, but it was a little more open.

They could actually take pictures of what they looked like in it.

There was no kind of embargo on what they could say.

And while most of the reviewers still think it’s pretty cool, and the way that you control it and some of the things that Apple’s done is pretty amazing, it feels like most of those reviewers also said that the goggles are heavy.

And trying to wear them for any extended length of time, because for the most part Apple’s keeping the review times at about a half an hour.

And last time I sat in front of my computer, at work I don’t generally spend a half hour at a time, because I need to get up and look at the production floor, and I carry my iPad with me.

Not sure it would work to wear a Apple Vision Pro headset, although I can see through it.

You can watch the outside, not see through it, but you can use the external cameras to act like you’re seeing through it.

But I don’t know.

Many people are talking about headaches and some other things.

It’s a tough product.

It’ll be interesting to see where it goes.

The purchase process was also quite different.

Now I didn’t go through it, but I did read a bit about it.

So basically what you do to make sure that it works for you is you have to do a face scan in the Apple Store app.

So that way when you order it, they can give you the strap that goes around the back of your head, and they can give you the face insert, the part that’s actually plastered against your face, of which they have a number of different sizes.

I don’t know how many.

But they want you to have the most comfortable experience, because I think Apple knows it’s heavy, and yet they want people to wear it for long periods of time.

And then for those of us who wear glasses, you also had to have your glasses prescription ready at the time of preorder so that they could send that prescription to Zeiss, who is making lens inserts for each of your eyes so that you can see.

I mean, when I’m in front of my computer, I’m wearing my glasses, because otherwise the screen becomes difficult to use and difficult to see without blowing up the text, and that doesn’t work for me, because you get no working space.

So the purchase process was interesting from that aspect.

And I’ve heard a couple different things, but I need to hear more, because I think the person…

I have actually heard one thing from one person on a podcast who ordered it, and I think he might have actually done it wrong, because he’s not doing his glasses prescription, and it’s not going to actually send him the Zeiss lenses for his Apple Vision Pro until like a couple weeks after he has it in hand.

So I don’t think that’s how Apple planned it, and I think if you had your preorder planned correctly with your glasses prescription, your face scan, all those things about which model you wanted, and the only difference is the internal storage, I think you will end up getting your Zeiss lenses and your Apple Vision Pro at the same time, maybe even the lenses before that Apple Vision Pro shows up.

So on the Apple nerd front, in the podcast that I listen to, the Apple Vision Pro has been a bit of a discussion for a number of the podcasts, and at least one pundit who is quite well-known, Leo Laporte, thinks this product is a waste of time, that it’s not worth the money, that it’s not worth the time, that it’s never going to work, and it is going to be a flop, and Apple has got a billion-dollar research project on their hand that is not going to make them any money.

He does agree that the thing is going to sell out.

They can’t make that many.

The technology in it is amazing.

He does agree with that.

The things it does is amazing, and he agrees with that, but it’s just impossible for him to imagine that someone wants to put this thing on their face and use it as a computer for any significant length of time, and if you’re a programmer, you’re staring at your screen for great chunks of time.

I know my son does, and he is in that world as a developer, but I don’t know.

I want to try it.

I would love to have one.

I said at the beginning I can’t afford one, and I’m not buying one.

There’s no financial way for me to even think about doing that, but I am very interested to see what the podcast people that I listen to who are planning to get one have to say come February 2nd when they have it in their hand, and it’s going to take some time.

I think all through February we’ll be hearing about it.

We’ll be reading reviews, and I think there’s going to be as much negative as there might be positive, maybe more.

I’m not sure, but I’m also not sure that people grasp what Apple is trying to do, myself included, and I think that it probably is a product, and eventually we’ll get to a place where it becomes more widely adopted and is going to look quite different in, I don’t know, 10 years from now.

So one thing I failed to tell you is that I can actually go in and try one at the Apple Store.

They are taking appointments now to go in and try them, maybe not starting until the 2nd of February.

And when you go in, they do your face scan, they take your glasses and put them on some device that reads the prescription.

They put together an Apple Vision Pro that fits you to the best of what they have in the store, and you get a 20-minute demonstration of how it works.

I think it’s fairly well-guided, so I don’t know that I can log into my Apple ID and try my files and open things and apps that I would use.

Oh, and by the way, there’s lots of apps available for it because everything that runs on an iPad will run on the Apple Vision Pro.

Of course, their best apps are going to be ones that are written for the Apple Vision Pro itself, but I’m seriously considering signing up to go try it so that I can give some real feedback, not just what I hear from people who have purchased and podcasters that I listen to.

So it’s going to be an interesting product, it’s going to be an interesting month or so, and I think in the Apple world, it will be talked about for a while until it either fails miserably and people just stop talking about it, or it becomes something that makes people want to go out and get it themselves.

Again, not in my financial world, but in some.

Well, that’s all I have for today.

Mostly speculation, sorry about that.

If you have any comments or suggestions, you can send them to TechnologyBytes at MerrickFamily.com.

I’d be more than happy to read and respond.

Thank you for listening to the Technology Bytes microcast.

I look forward to the next time we’re together taking another bite of technology.

Joel Mearig @technologybytes