Episode 48: Technology Bytes. . .Apple Vision Pro Again

This is Technology Bytes, episode 48, for February 4th, 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 on Technology Bytes, I want to talk about the Apple Vision Pro again.

Yeah, I think I told you the first time I covered it that this would be something that would be very much talked about on this microcast over the next couple months.

I’m not sure how long it’s going to last, but the difference between today and last time is that the people who have tried the Apple Vision Pro has now expanded, and it hasn’t been under the watchful eye of an Apple representative, and it hasn’t been constrained to what Apple wants you to see.

It’s actually use in the real world.

So just to get a couple things straight and realize that I’m talking off the top of my head here, maybe out of my ears, I don’t know what the, I can’t remember what the phrase is, but I still do not have an Apple Vision Pro with no real thought of getting one in the very anywhere near future.

I also still have not set an appointment to go to an Apple store to try one.

Sorry about that.

But after watching reviews on top of reviews over the past few days, I really do want to try one.

It just seems to be quite amazing, and it seems like while there is some downside, that Apple may have hit again on some magic.

It’s going to take time to figure that out, but I’m going to give you some rambling thoughts on what I’ve seen and heard in reviews up to this point.

Wait, just before I start that, a little more background.

So the reviews that came out are from people that Apple chose to give units to for them to review.

It’s some top tech reviewers that you’ve probably heard of before, like Marcus Brownlee, Joanna Stern, iJustine.

Those are three that I listened to.

And then there was another one, and I don’t remember the name of their show, but they actually purchased the Apple Vision Pro, three of them, so that they could not be biased on what they could say about it.

I’m not convinced that any of the three I previously mentioned are biased because Apple gave them a unit.

I understand that weighs on you a little bit, but I still think they were pretty honest about what they saw and felt by using the Apple Vision Pro.

So before I give you my real rambling thoughts, I thought I’d talk about a few things that I heard in common between the reviews that I watched and listened to.

One is that the unit is heavy.

It is not a surprise.

I think people knew that going in, but everyone talked about the weight.

Everyone talked about the weight.

The other thing that they talked about is the immersiveness of the environment.

Often in presentations from Apple, it seems like Apple doesn’t want to take you out of your environment, but enhance the environment that you’re in.

And while they have cameras that let you see the room that you’re in, the reality is when you have a set of goggles that no one can see through on your face, you are separate from the world.

The other common thing was the amazing use of technology.

The cameras, the sensors, the reaction to small movements.

There’s a lot of technology going into this device, which is probably why it costs $3,500.

The fact that it tracks your eyes inside the unit so closely, it is an almost unrealistic experience.

I think that I’ve experienced some of that with multiple monitors.

I look at my monitor that I have on my left.

So again, just to reiterate my setup, I actually use a MacBook Air and I use an iMac.

Rather than having multiple screens, I use multiple computers with universal control.

So then I can have one computer working and it doesn’t affect the second one at all.

And so I use the screens in that way.

But when I look at my MacBook Air and do a keyboard function in the universal control, I want the keyboard to control my MacBook Air, but my cursor is on my iMac.

So I end up closing a window that I don’t want to close or typing in an environment that I don’t want to type in.

But on the Apple Vision Pro, where you look has your attention.

And the eye tracking is so close that in a virtual keyboard world, you can bring up a virtual keyboard, you stare at the letter you want to type, you pinch your fingers together and it types that letter.

That’s pretty crazy.

So everyone talked about that.

And then the environment that you get to put yourself in, everybody talked about that as well.

And how sticky it is.

And in that, meaning you can put an app anywhere in your space that you want to.

That’s the spatial computing that Apple so much wants us to use.

And it stays there.

Doesn’t matter where you go.

Doesn’t matter how your head moves.

That app stays there.

The other thing, this is my own thought, but everybody talks about windows.

And it is kind of that, but it’s really just an app window.

It’s individual apps that you open on your screen.

The only time that that changes is when you tie it to a Mac.

And I’ll talk about that a little bit later.

But the fact that you can put it anywhere you want is pretty, pretty cool.

And the fact that it stays there.

And so you really can have a variety of environments, all of your productivity stuff right in front of you, all of your social media to your left, all of your entertainment stuff to your right.

Everyone that I listened to talked about the cool factor of that.

And then everyone talked about clarity.

They talked about tunnel vision, which says when you put it on, your peripheral vision is very limited.

And some were thinking when you moved your eyes to one side or the other, then that periphery would come into play.

And apparently that doesn’t work exactly like it does in real life.

There’s a little more turning of the head that makes it happen.

And then also some clarity as far as type and those kind of things.

You do have pass-through cameras.

So you see the room around you.

You could actually hold your phone up in front of you while you’re in the Vision Pro environment and use your phone as if you weren’t in that environment.

And apparently that focal length is very tightly controlled.

And if you don’t put your hands or your phone or whatever else in the real world that you would like to interact with at just the right distance, it starts to get a little bit fuzzy.

So there are some things that aren’t perfect and everybody knew that was going to be, but is it usable?

And do people want one?

Many say in their reviews that the amount of time on your head is difficult at times because of the weight.

They do come with two different headband units.

And apparently the one that has the strap around the back and the strap over top of the head is one that makes it way easier to wear for a longer period of time.

The other thing I heard in one small review is when you take it off and then you’re looking at the real world, not through the Apple Vision Pro, you feel like you’re missing something and you want to go back in.

And I found that to be quite interesting because that’s what Apple wants.

They want you to put that thing right back on your head.

So it’ll be interesting to see how that works.

The other thing that many of the reviewers said, if not all of them, as I listened through them, is the unit became way more useful and powerful when you tied it to a Mac.

So you would connect your Apple Vision Pro to an existing Mac, whatever you have, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, whatever.

And then it actually turns your screen off and now your Mac screen is right there in front of you to set at whatever size you want.

That in my sight and what I’ve seen and what I’ve heard at this point is the only window in the Apple Vision Pro environment in which you can run multiple apps.

All the other apps are running as an individual app on a huge windowed environment of the Apple Vision Pro.

So it’s not quite the same.

But again, there’s no constraints and you can put yourself in a very immersive environment.

You can put yourself in an environment that lets you react a little more with the room that you’re in.

Lots of those things.

But having your Mac right in front of you, using your trackpad, using your keyboard, controlling your Mac in the Apple Vision Pro environment, and then just scrolling your mouse, rolling your mouse, however you want to call it, to another app that’s open that’s actually open on the Vision Pro computer and interacting with that and running that is from everything I’ve heard at this point just one of the great powerful applications of the Apple Vision Pro.

It’s interesting to see and I didn’t really get a whole lot of input yet on the productivity nature of that but I’ve got a couple podcasters who will have one this week that plan on using it for that.

So yep, I’ll be talking about this again.

But what is the future of the Apple Vision Pro?

Well, initial reviews may be rosy because it’s the first time anyone’s used something like this.

It gets a lot of praise but then does it go in a box and no one uses it again because they don’t want something strapped on their face all the time.

Only time will tell.

Joanna Stern did some weird things with hers.

She actually wore it for 24 hours almost straight but she cooked with it on and in that sticky environment she could start a timer and then put it over the pot that the timer relates to and it just stays there.

So now she can look at the spaghetti and go, oh it’s got this much more time to cook.

She can look at the mushrooms and oh they have this much more time to saute.

But she cut up all the food, she did all of that work and she said it really wasn’t all that uncomfortable using a knife and being afraid that you weren’t actually seeing the things you were doing.

And she made a meal that looked really good and she said it tasted really good and at one point she said, I found what the Apple Vision Pro is.

It’s a cooking computer.

So lots of things in reviews.

Will it stick?

Will it be a success?

It’s very expensive but at this point I think we need more time.

That’s all I have for today.

If you have any comments or suggestions, obviously I’ve pontificated on something that I have never touched or worn just from what other people have shown me.

Be interested to hear your thoughts as well.

You can send them to me at technologybitesmearigfamily.com.

I want to thank you for listening to the Technology Bites microcast and I look forward to the next time we are together taking another bite of technology.

Joel Mearig @technologybytes