The Apple Vision Pro Is a Marvel. But Who Will Buy It?

Last week, I was ushered by an Apple employee through a security gate, past a manicured lawn, down a flight of stairs and into a tastefully decorated faux living room inside the Steve Jobs Theater to get a preview of the company’s new Vision Pro headset.

My demo, like the early tours of the Vision Pro given to other reporters, was far from exhaustive. I spent about 45 minutes wearing the device under the supervision of two watchful Apple employees, who guided me through a curated demo while I sat on a midcentury gray sofa next to them. I wasn’t allowed to take any photos or video of the device itself or take one home for further testing.

Given how limited my trial was, I can’t in good conscience tell you whether the Vision Pro is worth the $3,500 — yes, three thousand five hundred United States dollars — it costs. (That price doesn’t include tax or the cost of any add-on accessories, such as the $100 Zeiss lens inserts that are required if you wear prescription glasses or contacts, or the $200 travel case.)

I also can’t say if the Vision Pro solves what I call the “six-month problem.” With many V.R. headsets I’ve tried — and I’ve tried a lot — the initial novelty fades, and minor annoyances, like blurry graphics or a lack of compelling apps, start to pile up. Six months later, invariably, every headset I test ends up in my closet collecting dust.

But I can say two things about my first impressions of the Vision Pro.

First, in many ways, the Vision Pro is an impressive product, one that has been many years and billions of dollars in the making. It’s leaps and bounds better than the previous best V.R. headsets on the market, the Meta Quest series, when it comes to its eye-tracking and gesture-based controls, the quality of its displays and the way it combines immersive virtual experiences with the ability to see the world around you, a feature known as “pass-through.”

I was primed for skepticism going into my demo — Apple’s aggressive stage-managing made me wonder what the company was trying to hide — but there were several moments while wearing the Vision Pro when I felt genuine wonder, and a feeling of being present for what could turn out to be a major shift in computing.

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