The release of Apple's Vision Pro is now so close you can already psychically feel the wincing of the first wave of buyer's remorse rushing through your soul. But steady on, reader. Even if you find yourself out for a nice jaunt to the Apple Store on February 2 to catch this device's launch, there are more than a few hurdles you'll need to scale before you have the honor of parting with $3,499 to join the post-iPhone era that, in its current form, never is, was, or will be.
An Apple Vision Probation
Taking the hallowed words of Bloomberg's Apple auteur and spatial computing scribe Mark Gurman into account, Apple Stores nationwide are preparing to stage in-store demonstrations to potential buyers that could last up to 25 minutes.
Here buyers will be subjected to a gauntlet of face-scanning and measurement taking akin to buying a new suit or attending a dress fitting for your face, though switching out your inseams and your underbust for whether you've got a head more like a melon or a cashew.
At this point Apple Store employees will scurry around like Santa's elves, McGuyver'ing a ramshackle version of a Vision Pro headset, pseudo-artisanally-fashioned to fit the form of your face. That's of course before the focus is switched to how wonky the lenses of your eyes as Apple Store staff do their best job of recreating the anxiety of an opticians appointment by asking you if its easier to input the long number found on your credit card using lens 3 or lens 4.
With your eyes tuned in and your face strapped in, the magic of Apple's headset will begin to take hold as you can finally begin interacting with the device in full. It's at this moment that Apple Store employees will walk you through how those vision-orbs you've been housing in your head work so you can make use of the headset's eye-tracking pointer.
Once basic input is down, it's time to move on to wooing your eyes with a series of spatial media and a quick test drive through Safari in mixed reality. It's here where users will likely say "Oh yeah, so it's a lot like other VR or AR headsets then?" No doubt prompting the Apple Store employee hosting the demonstration to rip the headset away with all the disgust of a Parisian bistro waiter who was just asked where the ketchup was, before sneering "We don't say those words here, it's 'spatial computing!'" Before turfing you out onto the street.
Personally, I find it a little 'off' that a product Apple itself markets as featuring 'intuitive input' would need such a lengthy hands-on demo in order to showcase. Something is either intuitive or it's not. As every piece of flat-pack furniture I've ever assembled can attest to, I'm not one for reading instructions, yet I didn't need much in the way of pointers when I picked up my Meta Quest 2 headset for the first time, it was rather intuitive like that.
This hard-sell of the Vision Pro isn't confidence boosting. I can't tell if this is Apple making out like such technology is all-new and never-before-seen, or if the headset's lack of any solid meaning and purpose require an employee to usher you through the experience and make you feel pressured into not backing out of your purchase after taking up so much of their time.
It might be an Apple store, but the only time I've ever had somebody give me a 25-minute push to buy something was in order to sell me a lemon.
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Rael Hornby, potentially influenced by far too many LucasArts titles at an early age, once thought he’d grow up to be a mighty pirate. However, after several interventions with close friends and family members, you’re now much more likely to see his name attached to the bylines of tech articles. While not maintaining a double life as an aspiring writer by day and indie game dev by night, you’ll find him sat in a corner somewhere muttering to himself about microtransactions or hunting down promising indie games on Twitter.
I doubt Apple Vision Pro users are returning their headsets in droves — but they should, and here's why
"Can’t wait to return the Vision Pro, probably the most mind-blowing piece of tech I’ve ever tried. Can’t deal with these headaches after 10 minutes of use though.”: Why some Apple Vision Pro owners are returning the headset