Apple Vision Pro First Impressions

By Patrick Moorhead - February 13, 2024

The Six Five team discusses Apple Vision Pro first impressions.

If you are interested in watching the full episode you can check it out here.

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Daniel Newman: I had the chance to spend the last two days following Patrick around while he wore his Vision Pro 24×7. I even saw him driving his car with it on. It was really incredible. No, I’m just kidding. That’s an absolute farce. I have no interest in following Patrick around all day, nor do I … People might think I do though, and nor do I have interest in knowing what it would be like when you’re driving the car with that in front of your eyes, but I did have the chance to put your headset on. I have not run out to be one of the first glass holes to wear this thing, but how could we possibly do this segment and give both our positive and fruitful critique and then our typical Apple banter if we didn’t at least have one amongst the two of us. So Pat, tell everybody about what you’ve been doing on your Vision Pro.

Patrick Moorhead: So I’ve been spending a lot of time on Vision Pro here, but I want to rewind for one second. So first of all, VR and AR are not new. In 2012, Google Glass came out. I laid down, I think, 2500 bucks in totality. The whole glass hole thing blew up. They were kicking people out of bars for recording people. It actually was a very elegant design and it worked. I thought the killer app was Maps as well when you’re driving and even some cool shopping stuff when you go to a store. Then HoloLens came out from Microsoft, heavy duty AR, big capabilities in 2015, so nine years ago.

Then we’ve seen a lot of stuff from Meta big time. Meta is Zuck turn the entire supertanker around to do this for a while, and then that didn’t go great. I think realization set in that this is a long-term thing and he cruised into back into Generative AI, and I think his stock’s up 50% this year. Heck, even Berkshire Hathaway was saying, “Never bet against Zuck.” I love that statement. I can’t imagine two dramatically different worlds between Meta and Berkshire Hathaway. So it was pretty cool.

So getting in here, let me give you the pluses and the minuses. I would say the pluses are when you’re watching a video, it’s the best experience on a 2D video that I’ve ever seen, and you make it look like a 75 or 100-inch TV. I think that’s pretty cool potentially for airplanes or something like that or I think you’re still going to buy a TV, maybe, but maybe you don’t need to get one as big. I think that’s a plus.

I think as it relates to getting through it, meaning the pinching and doing what you need to do to navigate, they added eye tracking, plus some pretty snazzy finger control. I didn’t feel like it was any better though than anything that Meta with the Quest had brought to the table, and that was a little bit disappointing.

On the video side, I do think that, and then we’ll see, Apple has their own studio. This does drive a different type of media, one that is more interactive and one that’s surrounding. I can imagine watching. Again, this is nothing new. You could do this with the first augmented, sorry, virtual realities. You could watch a sports event. It’s a lot clearer, but I’d like to see the ability to maybe get on the field, maybe get closer in, and that’s going to require a pretty heavy lift of cameras and investments from all of these companies that actually produce the content.

There was a dramatic darth of apps out there. I think my favorite one, and maybe it’s on its way that I think would just be killer, would be the Calm app. This is an app to get your stress under control. The panorama, think of it as your wallpaper for Vision Pro, is stunning and it’s calming. They have one on Lake Mead that you can just chill and you can hear the birds and you’re fully immersed.

One of the negatives though, Dan, and this is really weird, AirPods Pro are not compatible and I can’t believe it. All I can think of is it was a safety thing so you wouldn’t get too immersed and you could hear a car coming to hit you maybe, I don’t know, but true VR immersion is getting more of the sensor.

Daniel Newman: Would sensors be able to tell if you’re in danger? Shouldn’t they be able to actually use all those cameras and sensors to tell if the audibility would be putting you in danger and then it could actually do a shutdown down because we could see you’re walking down a busy street and we are turning AirPods function? You would think that-

Patrick Moorhead: Dan, that’s an amazing, amazing observation. When I was thinking through this, there’s no … By the way, there’s cameras everywhere on the bottom and the top of it, but there’s no cameras directly on the side.

Daniel Newman: Do you want some lidar?

Patrick Moorhead: No, no. I know, maybe. Put a Luminar lidar on your head or something. That’s a good one, Dan, but I got to tell you, I used it once or twice to surf the web, maybe watch a video or two, and I don’t even want to go back. Again, N equals 1 here, folks, but Apple-

Daniel Newman: Where’s an idea? Give it to Pico, that’s Patrick’s son in case you don’t know, and let him play with it and give his assessment because you think they made it for us old farts or do you think we’re going to make-

Patrick Moorhead: We always go through that, Dan, but I got to tell you, the people I see who buying this, buying this and putting it up there are in their 30s and some of them are in their 40s. How many 20-year-old kids can afford $3500 worth of gear? Some. Anyways, my early read on this is that this is a development vehicle. Have you guys seen the battery? The battery’s bigger than my S24, thicker, twice the thickness of an S24 phone, and you got to stick it in your pocket. I just can’t imagine Steve Jobs ever green lighting a product like that. I’ve read Armand is the second autobiography and I just don’t think there’s any way he would ever let this pass scrutiny. So hey, if you want to find a friend who has it and use it, go into the Apple store and get a demo before you lay any money down on this. Anyways, that’s where I am, dude.

Daniel Newman: All right. Listen, I’m going to keep this short. I don’t have one. I appreciate you sharing your use and how you were using it. I did get to try yours for a few minutes. I thought it was really immersive to have the content up in your face like that, be able to watch. Sounds like I’m doing something wrong. I’m not. Listen-

Patrick Moorhead: No, I was reading something, sorry.

Daniel Newman: You have a movie and it’s just full, but, Pat, I got to … Are you okay? So you have a movie on and it’s like, do you get …. You’re talking about the Calm app and I’m thinking to myself the neck pain that you’re going to have of where … Because it’s 10 pounds. I don’t think it’s actually-

Patrick Moorhead: You can, you can actually kick back and you can put the display content anywhere by hitting the bar in the bottom and-

Daniel Newman: Yeah, but I’m just saying you’re sitting there, you do feel this thing. This is not-

Patrick Moorhead: It’s heavy. It’s heavy.

Daniel Newman: This is inconsequential.

Patrick Moorhead: By the way, it’ll fall apart, the magnetic part… No, no, I know.

Daniel Newman: I can start to see how it could make sense. Pat, here’s the thing, I could not believe it took this long to create something this large. Now, again, the one big difference is looking through versus looking, and I think I’m sure that was harder, but remember, Google Glass was a decade ago. How long ago was it? It was 10 years ago. They were a relatively lightweight pair of glasses with … So what I’m saying is we spent another decade to end up getting something that is the size of an Oculus Quest that’s designed for full immersive view. I see some of these videos of people using it, and I get it, it’s cool, it’s Apple, but are you really going to wear this thing, drive with thing … This is not a lightweight augmented experience. This is a full-on like you’re carrying a battery pack that’s the size of an iPhone max or a large iPhone.

Patrick Moorhead: Huge. Huge.

Daniel Newman: I see that people shoving it in the back to put it all … I don’t know, man. Listen, I think Rowan Trollope said something really interesting. Rowan’s a former Five9, CEO of Redis now, and he says something along the lines of people keep making the comparison to iPhone 1. He said, “iPhone 1 I started using at that time, and I’ve used it every day of my life since iPhone 1.” He said, “I just don’t see the same thing here. This is not something that people will use all day every day for forever. There’s something missing here.” My point is the utility and the weight is too much.

Patrick Moorhead
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Patrick founded the firm based on his real-world world technology experiences with the understanding of what he wasn’t getting from analysts and consultants. Ten years later, Patrick is ranked #1 among technology industry analysts in terms of “power” (ARInsights)  in “press citations” (Apollo Research). Moorhead is a contributor at Forbes and frequently appears on CNBC. He is a broad-based analyst covering a wide variety of topics including the cloud, enterprise SaaS, collaboration, client computing, and semiconductors. He has 30 years of experience including 15 years of executive experience at high tech companies (NCR, AT&T, Compaq, now HP, and AMD) leading strategy, product management, product marketing, and corporate marketing, including three industry board appointments.