Apple Vision Pro Review
The Apple Vision Pro is the best consumer headset anyone’s ever made — and that’s the problem.
There’s a lot of pressure on the new Apple Vision Pro, Apple’s long-awaited entry into the world of computers you wear on your face. Apple claims that the Vision Pro, which starts at $3,499, is the beginning of something called “spatial computing,” which basically boils down to running apps all around you. And the company’s ads for it do not hedge that pressure even a little: they show people wearing the Vision Pro all the time. At work! Doing laundry! Playing with their kids! The ambition is enormous: to layer apps and information over the real world — to augment reality.
Apple has to claim that the Vision Pro is the beginning of something new because people have been building headset computers for over a decade now. I tried on a development prototype of the first Oculus Rift in 2013, and The Verge’s Adi Robertson, who edited this review, has tried basically every headset that’s been released since. All of that development means there are some pretty good products out there: that first Oculus evolved into the Quest line at Meta, which is now shipping the Quest 3 — a very good VR headset with a huge library of games and some AR features of its own, which costs $500.
In the meantime, Apple, from Tim Cook on down, has largely insisted that augmented reality will be much more valuable than virtual reality. And it’s been building toward AR for a long time: developers have access to AR tools in iOS, and higher-end iPhones and iPads have had lidar depth scanners for a few years now.
The Vision Pro is Apple’s first attempt at building a computer out of all those ideas — a computer that works in the space around you. The goal is for the Vision Pro to be a complete device that can sit right alongside the Mac and the iPad in Apple’s ecosystem of devices and let you get real work done. You can use Excel and Webex and Slack in the Vision Pro, and you can also sit back and watch movies and TV shows on a gigantic virtual 4K HDR display. And you can mirror your Mac’s display and just use the Vision Pro to look at a huge monitor floating in virtual space.
It sounds amazing, and sometimes it is. But the Vision Pro also represents a series of really big tradeoffs — tradeoffs that are impossible to ignore. Some of those tradeoffs are very tangible: getting all this tech in a headset means there’s a lot of weight on your face, so Apple chose to use an external battery pack connected by a cable. But there are other, more philosophical tradeoffs as well.