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I tested the Apple Vision Pro for a month: why this is not a revolution (6 reasons)

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This is a revolution… or not. For the first time since the iPad, Apple launched a new family of products last year with the Vision Pro, its first mixed reality headset.

True to its reputation, the brand does not offer augmented reality or virtual reality but opens the doors to spatial computing. Since its announcement in the United States, the Vision Pro has attracted a lot of attention. Adored or hated, it is one of those Apple products that create debate to the point, sometimes, of tearing each other apart. His worshipers see him as the next technological revolution that will revolutionize the lives of millions of human beings. Skeptics see it as a gadget that will end up in a drawer.

Between the two, there is me. In my eyes, the Vision Pro is a fascinating product due to its technology. However, I have difficulty seeing how he could succeed where dozens of companies have failed over the last ten years.

So, revolution or useless gadget this Vision Pro ? To find out, I used it daily for a month. At the risk of disappointing Apple fans, we are far from the iPhone revolution.

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I tested the Apple Vision Pro for a month: why this is not a revolution (6 reasons)

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612 grams. This is the weight of the Vision Pro without its battery of 136 grams (bringing the total to 748 grams). To help you fully understand how heavy Apple's mixed reality headset is, this weight corresponds to 2.5 iPad mini or 1.5 iPad Air.

Even more annoying, most of the headset rests on the face, Apple having obviously not paid attention to the distribution of this weight. So, I have never managed to wear the Vision Pro for more than an hour without taking a break.

This overweight is undoubtedly the main flaw of the device. Can we blame Apple ? Yes and no. No, because the limits of component miniaturization do not allow the best available technologies to be integrated into a compact and lightweight object.

Yes, because Apple engineers, certainly aware of this problem, favored aesthetics over practicality. So, by adding heavy materials like aluminum, designers added extra load.

I tested the Apple Vision Pro for a month: why this is not a revolution (6 reasons)

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Since most of the weight is at the front, why not have designed a battery compartment at the back of the fixing strap, in order to better distribute the weight and thus spare the neck & nbsp;? Why not opt ​​for a plastic coating, certainly less flashy but much more practical in use ? These questions remain unanswered for the moment, with Apple remaining very silent on these subjects.

I could just say that the headset is heavy but still an impressive innovation. I could have, if daily use didn't suffer. However, the excess weight of the helmet prevents prolonged use. After around thirty minutes, the face is compressed, the neck begins to pull, discomfort sets in. After an hour, a break is essential.

Watching a 2-hour film can turn into an ordeal for the joints, especially since the pressure required to hold the helmet in place makes it very hot. I tested it in winter, I can't even imagine how unpleasant the experience must be in the middle of summer, worse, during a heatwave.

I tested the Apple Vision Pro for a month: why this is not a revolution (6 reasons)

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This is a lapse in taste that Steve Jobs certainly would not have let pass. To function, the Vision Pro needs an external battery, attached to the helmet using a magnetic clip. This choice not only makes the Vision Pro unattractive but also impractical: the battery can be stored in a pocket or placed on a flat surface. The cable prevents you from moving freely since it hangs permanently along the arm.

To be able to store the battery in a pocket, Apple opted for a 3 166 mAh accumulator, so as not to add too much weight to a headset that is already too heavy. For comparison, the iPhone 15 has a larger battery.

So I wasn't surprised by the Vision Pro's poor battery life. According to Apple, the battery allows 2 to 2.5 hours of continuous use. A figure that I confirm, provided you do not limit yourself to the most energy-intensive uses (random video).

Apple provides a charger to restore all its energy to the Vision Pro. It takes on average about 1h30 for a full charge. An eternity. Fortunately, using the headset while charging is possible.

I tested the Apple Vision Pro for a month: why this is not a revolution (6 reasons)

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I tested the Apple Vision Pro for a month: why this is not a revolution (6 reasons)

© Lemon squeezer

This is also how I used it the most, most interesting applications requiring prolonged use. I am thinking, for example, of watching a film or several episodes of a series.

This autonomy problem makes the Vision Pro a sedentary device, like a desktop PC. On the go (remember the videos of influencers in the metro looking for views) the Vision Pro allows you to show off or appear ridiculous (fortunately it doesn't kill). It depends.

I tested the Apple Vision Pro for a month: why this is not a revolution (6 reasons)

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For all the reasons mentioned above, the Vision Pro cannot decently serve as a work machine. Apple talks about “  Spatial computing » (spatial computing), the reality is far from it.

Firstly because working on the Vision Pro requires using a Mac. If you don't already have one, count on a bill worth several thousand euros additional information to enter the world of spatial computing.

If you are lucky enough to already own a Pommé computer, then you might consider working with the Vision Pro. Thus, the headset makes Mac windows appear on floating virtual windows that can be resized or moved as desired. I must admit that the first few minutes are impressive, not to say magical.

I tested the Apple Vision Pro for a month: why this is not a revolution (6 reasons)

Apple Vision Pro in productivity mode © Apple

But after the surprise effect, a few small bugs interrupt concentration. Certain uses are also less relevant on the helmet. Typing a full review on the Vision Pro isn't exactly exciting. On the other hand, monitoring, documenting and following social networks in three floating windows is enjoyable.

The fact remains that the problems inherent in the device do not allow this pleasure to be prolonged. The helmet is too heavy to consider working for more than an hour or two. A little cheap for a machine sold for 4,000 euros.

I tested the Apple Vision Pro for a month: why this is not a revolution (6 reasons)

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Among the most spectacular uses presented by Apple,the possibility of transforming your environment into a cinema room was unanimously approved by the first testers.

With the Vision Pro, you can broadcast content on a virtual screen with 4K HDR quality and spatialized sound. The experience actually turns out to be impressive, under certain conditions.

The first, use a service compatible with the Vision Pro to enjoy the best possible experience. Problem: Apple's headset only supports Apple TV+ (obviously) and Disney+ (thanks to a deal made before release). No Youtube, Netflix or Max like Vision Pro.

I tested the Apple Vision Pro for a month: why this is not a revolution (6 reasons)

© Apple

To use these services, you need to open the browser, go to the official website and launch it. We then access the same content as that available on a computer, smartphone, TV or tablet, with the added navigation difficulties. Fortunately, the viewing window can be enlarged to enjoy a cinema experience, but Apple has accustomed us to better integration.

The second limit relates more to the societal side of cinema. With the Vision Pro, it's impossible to share content with your significant other, friends or children. We therefore benefit from a solo cinema experience. For the price, I would much rather equip myself with a 4K video projector with the home cinema equipment that comes with it.

I tested the Apple Vision Pro for a month: why this is not a revolution (6 reasons)

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It is always difficult to broach the subject of pornography in a tech product review. But it is even more complex to pretend that no one visits these sites. The website traffic figures demonstrate this: porn sites are the most visited each year and generate a turnover that can be counted in the billions.

Always so prudish, Apple has therefore chosen not to offer anything to meet this request. Despite the production of X-rated films in VR, the company preferred not to support the broadcast codec of the different platforms. So, to consume porn with the Vision Pro, you have to make do with a 2D screen like that of a television, but larger.

The absence of any optimized content is all the more damaging as “the sex toy industry has developed algorithms capable of synchronizing toys in real time with the videos viewed” explained to me during my test Amandine Jonniaux, journalist at Journal du Geek and author of the book Oh my Gode – A vibrant investigation into the underside of sex toys published by La Musardine. Really not fun Apple.

I tested the Apple Vision Pro for a month: why this is not a revolution (6 reasons)

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Since we're talking about gaming, let's take a look at gaming.Apple has never really focused on the video game industry, as evidenced by the paltry catalog of games available on Mac, iPad or iPhone today. Probably motivated by the impressive game sales figures of recent years, the American is trying as best it can to open up to this still unknown universe.

Alas, the Vision Pro does not take advantage of this. Apart from Apple Arcade and mobile games on the App Store, the VR headset has very few games optimized for virtual/augmented reality. But the experience remains anecdotal.

This low appeal for gaming can also be explained by the absence of a controller specifically designed for VR. And Apple has not announced any future AAA games for the coming months. Suffice to say that video games are almost non-existent on the Vision Pro. A real lack for a device sold at this price.

I tested the Apple Vision Pro for a month: why this is not a revolution (6 reasons)

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4,000 euros! That's the price Apple is asking for its “space computer”. A small fortune that therefore reserves it for a public with comfortable finances or for geeks ready to put the package together to be part of the early adopters (or both at the same time).

Some will say that the price remains consistent with the integrated technologies. It is true that Apple offers the most advanced mixed reality headset on the consumer market. The multitude of sensors, cameras, screens, noble materials as well as investments in R&D partly justify this price.

It remains that the experience offered by Apple is light years away from the sale price. After the “wow” effect of the first few minutes, the Vision Pro suffers from far too many limitations to be recommended.

I tested the Apple Vision Pro for a month: why this is not a revolution (6 reasons)

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Only one thing really impressed me about the Vision Pro: its interface and navigation system. Apple teaches the entire industry a lesson by offering simple and intuitive software (visionOS).

Once turned on, the screen roughly displays a home page comparable to that of an iPad. Each icon corresponds to an application. Basic, simple.

Navigation within the OS is, in my eyes, the brand's most spectacular feat. visionOS literally responds to the fingers and the eye. To access an application or an area of ​​the screen, simply look at it. To “click”, a pinch of your finger is enough. No need to raise your hand, the multiple cameras placed on the helmet capture gestures with disconcerting precision.

I tested the Apple Vision Pro for a month: why this is not a revolution (6 reasons)

© Apple

It's even possible to resize a window by looking at the bottom right corner, grabbing it with a pinch and stretching it as if it were an elastic sheet. It doesn’t seem like anything as the result seems simple and intuitive. But developing such technology is genius.

For comparison, the AR/VR headset industry systematically offers controllers/remotes in order to navigate the interfaces. Nothing all this here. The machine is an almost natural extension of Man. It is in this aspect that, in my opinion, Apple is completely reinventing the mixed reality headset. For the rest, it's the same, the display quality and the few additional gadget functions (the Persona and the reproduction of the eyes on the external screen border on the ridiculous).

To say that the Vision Pro is not a fascinating product would be a lie. Apple offers here the most advanced mixed reality headset of the moment, by far. It’s a lesser evil considering its exorbitant price. If this price is partly justified by the integrated technologies, only the work on the interface and navigation really makes it essential.

Because in use, it suffers from far too many limitations to democratize this type of device. Too heavy, uncomfortable and not very durable, the Vision Pro can only be used for very short periods of time. If Apple promises to enter spatial computing, I felt too great a frustration for all uses: I have never been able to work with the same comfort as on my Mac, the entertainment is limited by the There is no major streaming services and the game is simply non-existent. And I won't dwell on the impossibility of accessing VR content on adult sites.

For all these reasons, I find it very difficult to perceive the enthusiasm surrounding this product, acclaimed by many of my French and foreign colleagues. In my humble opinion, the Vision Pro suffers from too many technical limitations to democratize this technology. Only developments in terms of miniaturization – allowing all this material to be accommodated in a pair of glasses for example – would make this type of product interesting. Although…

The development of such technology poses philosophical questions about the societies in which we want to live. Humanity did not see the abuses that the smartphone would cause coming (withdrawal, individualism, difficulties in communicating and so on) but it now knows the risks of over-use of technology .

The question is therefore: do we want to live in a world where everyone is hidden in a virtual universe behind a helmet or a pair of glasses? Or do we want to draw lessons from our recent experiences to rebuild societies of living together? Personally, the second perspective excites me more. But that's just my opinion.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116