The Vision Pro is the most underwhelming Apple product of my lifetime

Apple Vision Pro headset, an augmented reality wearable that puts applications and digital environments into your real world.
(Image credit: Apple)

I feel like I need to say up front that this piece has nothing to do with the technical achievement Apple has accomplished here. The Vision Pro is undeniably an engineering marvel, and the people who worked on it should be applauded for that.

What this piece has everything to do with are FEELINGS — specifically the feelings I have towards Apple's completely new product compared to how I felt when I watched the company unveil and launch its other major products. 

I've watched the unveiling of the iPhone, the iPad, the Apple Watch, and AirPods. I've seen Apple pull the cover off the HomePod, HomePod mini, the Mac Sutdio, and make the switch to Apple Silicon for the rest of the Mac lineup. I've also experienced the company reveal Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Fitness, Apple News+, Apple Arcade, and even Apple Card.

All of those products, whether they were physical or digital, made me feel something. For some reason the Vision Pro, which blends both the digital and physical, made me feel...nothing.

Where's the magic with the Vision Pro?

I remember watching Steve Jobs unveil the iPhone and the iPad. I remember seeing Tim Cook unveil the Apple Watch and AirPods. When I watched those keynotes, I remember having feelings of wonder and amazement at not only the technical achievements but also the feeling that I could see using those products to improve my life.

The iPhone could bring forth an era of communication, unlike anything before it. The iPad was a "magical piece of glass" that you could use for anything and the iPad mini has since reignited my love for reading. The Apple Watch helped me focus deeper on my health and fitness and I've since taken on running, hiking, and backpacking. AirPods Pro have deepened my love of music and travel with spatial audio and noise cancellation in a device that's incredibly small.

Apple Vision Pro demo appointment - putting it on

(Image credit: Karen S. Freeman / Future)

Each of those devices has not only been an engineering marvel but also created a special relationship between a person and a piece of technology that changed my life in positive ways. However, with the Vision Pro, I don't see that magic yet. It's technically brilliant, but I don't see the use case that changes my life in the way that Apple's other products have.

It also doesn't help that this new era of computing that Apple believes is the future is currently $3,500. It would be like if Apple entered the other tech markets with the iPhone Pro Max, AirPods Max, Mac Pro, or iPad Pro as their first entries. That price tag makes it unreasonable for most people to own it, so it doesn't feel like a device that was made for most of us instead of a few of us.

There's hope for the Vision Pro yet

I've heard other people's opinions that the Vision Pro isn't the product that Apple actually wants to build. The product they ACTUALLY want to build are mixed-reality glasses that are closer to what Meta is doing with its Ray-Ban Smart Glasses rather than its Quest 3 and Pro headsets.

However, like Meta can't produce mixed reality with its smart glasses right now, neither can Apple. The technology just isn't there yet. Instead, the technology is good enough to create a technically breakthrough mixed-reality headset, so that's what Apple made for now.

I think that's right, and perhaps that's why I'm struggling to feel a sense that the Vision Pro is actually the product that I want. I've heard a lot of people running into the same problem and deciding to return their headsets. There aren't a ton of use cases and Apple made tradeoffs with weight and comfort to use premium materials and pack in all of those components.

Apple Watch Ultra 2 on wrist

(Image credit: Apple)

I wonder if Apple's strategy with the Vision Pro will be similar to the Apple Watch. I remember that the Apple Watch was a bit of a conundrum when it launched. While it did some basic health and workout tracking, it was also marketed as a computer for your wrist that you would use instead of your phone.

However, Apple learned over the years that it had actually built a fitness device instead of a tiny communications device and leaned in hard on that part of the experience, leading to many more health and fitness features and eventually the Apple Watch Ultra and its Apple Fitness+ workout subscription service. I had actually returned my original Apple Watch but am now completely bought into the device with my Apple Watch Ultra 2.

This is what I hope happens with the Apple Vision Pro. While I may not see a use case for it now, I hope that Apple can learn like it did with the Apple Watch and find its footing with its headset. Otherwise, the era of spatial computing might be a short one.

More from iMore

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.

  • gian posatiere
    My guess is it probably has something to do with the decade of promises from VR companies falling flat and now it's hard to take VR/XR seriously. But boy are you missing out because the AVP is a technological marvel. I feel sad for you that you can't see the world changing potential.
  • Xijah
    gian posatiere said:
    My guess is it probably has something to do with the decade of promises from VR companies falling flat and now it's hard to take VR/XR seriously. But boy are you missing out because the AVP is a technological marvel. I feel sad for you that you can't see the world changing potential.
    I totally agree, I think many are looking to hard for perfection instead of appreciation of what we have and were it will eventually be, every product needs to start somewhere.