Last Friday turned out to be a very interesting Friday indeed.
It was planned, obviously – but that didn’t dilute how it felt to see the confirmation that I would, soon, be the proud owner of an Apple Vision Pro headset.
Yes, I’m in the UK. Yes, I’m aware of the regional restrictions. Yes, I’m aware that this is a very expensive device. Yes, I know its future is far from certain. YES, I agree that its use case has barely been defined, let alone proved.
And so begins my Vision Pro journey. I’m heading into the unknown – a fact of which I am acutely aware.
The good news?
You’re coming with me.
How I managed to pre-order Vision Pro – from the UK
I should highlight at this juncture that I’m running a business; I’m not buying Vision Pro because I want a new toy before everyone else. I feel I must make note of this, because the replies to my YouTube Community post revealing the purchase were, at times, hilarious.
“What a waste of money.”
“Keep the receipt!”
“One word; CRAZY.”
“Mark this thing is geo-locked you need an American Apple ID account to make it work it’s linked to all American credentials return it asap.”
“You’ll need about 1 million views to make your money back on that!”
“Must be nice to have discretionary funds like that for a new toy. My compliments.” (my personal favourite).
The Vision Pro unit that will soon be winging its way to Leamington Spa will become, like all of my purchased review units, a business and content asset. That’s why we’re now seeking video sponsors to join me on my Vision Pro journey to make the content as profitable as possible.
As I say, I’m running a business – this was a calculated purchase.
Buying it was easier than you might think, too. It’s rumoured that Apple had around 80,000 pre-order units ready, and I appear to have snuck in just on the tail end of that, despite spending a monumental amount of time faffing about during the ordering process.
It worked, though. Apple gladly accepts Apple Pay as a payment method for US purchases made from the UK via its website or app (why wouldn’t they?). All you needed in the case of Vision Pro was a US address to which the device could be shipped. That conundrum was solved via a trusted contact. Once delivered (on 6th February, if all goes to plan) my Vision Pro unit will be re-shipped across the Atlantic sea to its final destination in the UK.
After clearing customs and any associated charges, I expect to receive it mid-February-ish. Hopefully. Regardless, it’ll be here before you can buy one in the UK, which means I can crack on and rinse the thing for content opportunities – and get a feeling for what Apple believes the next era of computing to be.
This little project is, however, littered with potential challenges and risks.
Can you use a US Vision Pro in the UK?
Within minutes of my Vision Pro order being confirmed, a section of Apple’s Ts&Cs for the headset began to make its way around the internet.
The key points picked up by seemingly everyone considering snaffling Vision Pro from countries outside of the US, were as follows:
- only US English is supported for Siri and Dictation;
- ZEISS will only accept prescriptions for Vision Pro written by US eye care professionals;
- support will only be available within the US;
- certain apps, features, and content will be unavailable due to licensing restrictions outside of the US;
- Apple Music and Apple TV purchases require a US Apple ID; and
- the App Store requires a US Apple ID.
The lack of prescription lenses isn’t an issue for me. I’m also willing to sacrifice technical support. I can set up a US-based Apple ID, therefore that’s not a concern, either. I’ve just created one, in fact.
Regardless, there’s still some risk involved with my Vision Pro journey – I’m fully aware of that. The conditions above (which are not verbatim, by the way) are a little woolly. There’s no specific confirmation of what will or will not work if you attempt to use Vision Pro outside of the US. Equally, once we officially get the headset in the UK, there’s no guarantee you can just switch to your regular UK Apple ID and unlock every single missing feature.
The chances of Apple region-locking the hardware are fairly remote, I’d wager, but, again, it’s a risk I’m willing to take to build a narrative around Vision Pro outside of the US. My job is, after all, about storytelling, and this is one of the most interesting stories I’ll get to tell this year.
What I’m expecting from Vision Pro
I still need convincing that this is the way forward. As noted last week, the interest in Vision Pro has been tepid, at best – although my aforementioned YouTube Community post has been one of the most thumbs-upped and engaged with to date, which is, in my experience, a decent measure of public interest in a product.
I’ve heard several tech commentators note recently that they believe Vision Pro to be, essentially, a publicly available developer unit. I’m inclined to agree. Of those rumoured 80,000 units made available for sale, you can bet that a huge portion of them will have been bought by developers. It makes sense; you can write off the cost as a business expense, and it provides access to a piece of hardware which, apparently, forms the basis of the future of computing.
Whether or not you agree with Apple’s bet on spatial computing is largely irrelevant. They’re big enough and powerful enough to force this tech through and ensure it eventually ends up on most of our faces – in whatever form that might take in the future. They did it with the iPhone, they did it with the Apple Watch, and they’ll do it with visionOS.
For this first iteration, I have very few expectations; I’m going into it with a completely open mind. I doubt that Vision Pro will become a productivity tool for me – it’s far more likely to serve as an entertainment device and method by which to keep an eye on how developers think we should be using spatial computing. I’m willing to be proved wrong, though.
I am, however, fascinated by the practicality of wearing that thing for long (battery-permitting) sessions. If there’s one lingering narrative about Vision Pro that Apple will want to quickly bury, it’s how damn heavy the headset is.
Over to you!
I have plans with Vision Pro in terms of content, but the direction I take and the order in which I prioritise my testing and evaluation depends on you – as always.
What do you want to know about Vision Pro? Get involved below, please!