I know that Apple Vision Pro has only just been released. But even in that short space of time, it’s obvious that some glaring issues need to be changed for the Vision Pro 2.
A lot of these things are fairly easy to fix, and some are a matter of opinion, but that’s what a development process is all about. This is no shade on Apple. Vision Pro is a landmark feat in technological development. They have made an incredible device.
And this is their first go. They are allowed to test ideas and perhaps reconsider them. Whether they will or not…well we’ll have to wait and see.
Here are the five things that I think need to change for Apple Vision Pro 2.
The Vision Pro Headset Needs To Be Lighter
Every single person who has worn a Vision Pro headset has said the same thing; it’s too heavy.
After about an hour of wear, depending on the person, the 630g-ish chunk of metal and glass begins to weigh down your head. The pressure also begins to be felt on your brow. In short, it isn’t that comfortable.
Interestingly, the Meta Quest Pro weighs significantly more at 722g. So why the marked difference in comfort?
Well, it’s a simple question of design choice. The Quest Pro uses its battery as a counterbalance on the back of your head. More on that later, but it really helps.
The main problem with VR is that it is intrusive. The main goal of developers is to get to a point where wearing a VR headset feels undetectable. Part of that comes from their ability to blend realities (which Vision Pro excels at), but the other part is down to the physical device.
Sure, the metal and glass of the Vision Pro look stunning. In fact, it makes others like the Meta Quest 3 look tacky. But is it strictly necessary?
If we can reduce the weight of Vision Pro significantly by using *wince* plastic, or some other composite material, then why not? The only people who can see the exterior of the device when you’re using it are other people anyway.
It’s not like the iPhone 15 Pro Max where the titanium is in your face the whole time.
Yes, it reduces the build quality. And yes, it would make it feel less sturdy. But surely the user experience comes first?
I know I’d rather wear a lighter headset for longer than have a headache after an hour. It’s the one thing I’d change about Vision Pro 2 over everything else.
Get Rid Of The External Persona Display
I think the most universally agreed opinion about Apple Vision Pro is that the external ‘Persona’ display, which artificially renders your eyes on the outside of the headset, is not good.
For one, the eyes are hard to see most of the time. Second to that, they are too far apart on most people’s faces meaning they look entirely unconvincing.
You also get this weird half-and-half mode when pass-through is on, where the person’s eyes are shrouded in a mist of blue and purple lights. I know this is more of a signal to someone else not wearing a headset that the person they are talking to can see them, but it never looks right.
Not only is it barely visible and just plain weird, it is unnecessary. I understand what Apple is going for; they want to make VR less exclusive to those around you when you’re wearing a headset. This is in response to fears that we’re all going to become drones, never interacting with human faces again.
But to think some janky, augmented eyes will ease that is totally misguided. If anything, it makes it worse.
On top of that? It adds a lot to the cost (and weight).
The Persona system makes use of four infrared cameras to constantly track your eye and facial movements. This has uses beyond the external display, for example when you FaceTime other Vision Pro users. So it can stay.
But the tech needed for the fake eyes stuff could easily be cut at no great loss for anyone. By doing so, you could make Vision Pro 2 cheaper and lighter. A no-brainer in my books!
The Battery Pack Needs Repositioning And More Capacity
This is an easy one for Apple, and in my opinion an essential one.
The big problem is weight distribution. The headset feels heavy on your face. So why not just put the battery pack on the back of the head?
I know this might make it less comfortable and may mean you can’t rest your head easily on things. But it’s an easy fix to ease the burden on your brow.
Having the battery tethered to the headset and dangling from a wire also feels soooo 2015. It’s cumbersome and something Apple is needlessly making users aware of. If you want full immersion, a wired battery isn’t helpful.
And another thing. For the size of the battery pack, it needs to hold more power.
The Vision Pro’s battery holds 3166 mAh, compared to the iPhone 15 Pro Max which holds 3274 mAh. This gives Vision Pro up to two hours of use. Fine but not game-changing.
Other VR headsets have batteries with similar capacities, but for a highly premium price point, I’d expect Vision Pro to do it better.
So for Vision Pro 2; a larger battery capacity and use the pack to counterbalance the front weight. Easy.
It’s been a big talking point for a while now but there aren’t many popular apps that are compatible with Vision OS right now.
This isn’t really Apple’s fault. All they can do is make the tech and give it to developers. The rest is up to other companies to take the plunge.
Unluckily for Apple, not many have. Netflix and YouTube are the big ones. The most used video platform in the world (that’s YouTube btw) doesn’t have an app for Vision Pro.
You can still use things like Netflix via the Safari web browser. But there are two problems with that.
Firstly, Safari isn’t great. Not many use it out of choice. Secondly, it’s annoying to have to pull up the Internet separately and always be online to watch something. You can’t watch a Netflix movie on a long plane journey for example.
Therefore, Apple needs to do all it can to attract companies to Vision OS. The main way that happens is by growing the user base, therefore creating a bigger demand for services like Netflix VR to exist.
And there’s one way Apple can do this…
Reducing The Price
Apple will never get a significant amount of people using Vision Pro if the blisteringly high minimum price of $3,499 remains.
In reality, it needs to be at least half that to see more widespread adoption. Don’t forget, to use Vision Pro effectively as a work tool, you still need a MacBook and therefore an additional $1000.
That means Apple Vision Pro is currently, in this use case, a very, very expensive immersive computer monitor.
It’s a self-fulfilling cycle for Apple. The higher the price of Vision Pro, the less likely people are to buy it. This makes it less attractive for major service providers to make Vision OS apps, in turn making it harder to justify the high price point.
There is hope on the horizon though. The Vision Pro 2, Vision Pro Lite or whatever they are going to call it is supposedly the next iteration. It will be a cheaper model with reduced features.
This is a welcome move that will surely bring more people on board. But Apple can’t cut down too much on what Vision Pro offers. Otherwise, you’ll just be giving people a noticeably poorer first impression of VR. That means the same 100Hz refresh rate and 23-megapixel resolution have to stay.
They can afford to lose the Persona display though and to downgrade the build materials to something less expensive.
$1200 should be the initial budget version aim. Bold, but necessary.
Despite some of the skepticism, Apple Vision Pro is still a big moment.
The headset is so beautifully designed and technically capable, beyond any VR we’ve seen before, that it makes spatial computing feel like a very real prospect. It’s not perfect, but when has any first-generation product ever been?
With a few rounds of development behind it, and a substantial price drop, I don’t see why Vision Pro won’t eventually catch on. The main barrier is convincing people that owning one is worthwhile for whatever their intended use.
Apple has a launchpad to make their case now which is good. But it also means the next few iterations of the device are make or break. No pressure!