Apple announced its Vision Pro headset at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference yesterday.
Some conference attendees got to demo the new headset and some of its features.
Here's what some of their first impressions were of the $3499 device.
Following the announcement of Apple's Vision Pro headset at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, some attendees were whisked away in golf carts to a location on the company's campus to try out the new headset.
And the early reviews are in — or first impressions, at least.
After trying out the headset, popular gadget reviewer and YouTuber Marques Brownlee called the device's eye-tracking "magic," while The Verge's editor-in-chief Nilay Patel called the Vision Pro the "best headset demo ever" but was left "still searching for a purpose" for the device after the demo.
While the announcement for the headset, or "spatial computer" as Apple is calling it, was jam-packed with features — FaceTime "personas"; "EyeSight," which displays an externally visible image of your eyes when you look at people; 3-D experiences; hand-eye control — reviewers only got to play around with a few of them.
The demo attendees said they didn't get to test out taking their own 3-D videos and photos, but that they did get to view some demos recorded by Apple. They also didn't get to see the device perform the EyeSight display screen feature, but the device did effectively adjust its screen when a person came into view. Reviewers also got to try out a 3D FaceTime feature with an Apple employee, many of whom noted lags in the display around the person's mouth and eye movements.
Still, enough was shown for people to get a sense of the technology. Overall, reviewers said the device offered immersive experiences — from 3-D projections over FaceTime to 3-D movies — that allowed you to blend virtual reality with reality. Many noted the device's display screens were impressive (each have a more-than 4K resolution) and its hand-eye scrolling and tapping functions were responsive and worked mostly smoothly.
YouTuber Brownlee said the most impressive thing about the headset was the device's internal eye-tracking technology, calling the experience "telepathic."
"This eye-tracking is sick," Brownlee said. "The eye-tracking in this headset, as it looks at your eyes and keeps track of where your eyes move around, is the closest thing I've experienced to magic."
The Verge's Patel was impressed by the device's display, which he said was "easily the highest-resolution VR display I have ever seen," and its "video passthrough" technology — the device's display adjusting to show a person who is talking to you in-person or your surroundings.
Still, Patel, echoing sentiments from other reviewers, said he was left questioning the purpose of the device, and noted that the experience can also feel lonely.
"Good Morning America"'s Robin Roberts also got to try out the device, noting it was comfortable to wear, and she didn't feel motion sick from the 30-minute experience. She said her experience using the device for a meditation exercise, called Mindful Minute, added an entirely new layer to the activity.
"I would live here," Roberts said, while a screen showed her virtual experience's surroundings: A furnished room decorated in shades of cream, and at the center a blue, green, yellow sphere projection that guided her meditation, eventually enveloping her.
"I'm someone who meditates, and I found something new in that moment," Roberts said.
The Wall Street Journal's tech columnist Joanna Stern said the headset itself isn't going to be for everyone. After 30 minutes with the device, she said it also left her feeling nauseous — something she said Apple is looking to improve by the time the device is for sale.
But she wrote that it may be useful in a work setting: the headset's multiple screen options could be a good alternative to working on multiple monitor screens. And the 3D entertainment and photo options were compelling, she added.
But Stern also said she wasn't sure whether users will be sold on this central premise of the device: "Apple wants us to spend more moments of our lives in these things. Will those moments be valuable?" Stern wrote.
The device won't be released until early next year for a whopping $3,499. Until then, tweaks will likely be made to improve the device, and Apple is banking on app developers jumping at the chance to make something for it. What the success of the device will really come down to, is what app developers decide to do with it, many of the reviewers noted.
"The most perfect headset demo reel of all time is still just a headset demo reel — whether Apple's famed developer community can generate a killer app for the Vision Pro is still up in the air," The Verge's Patel wrote.
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