Is Apple Vision Pro already losing its luster?


Apple Vision Pro is a mixed-reality headset developed by Apple Inc. It was announced on June 5, 2023, and became available for purchase on February 2, 2024, in the United States.

Vision Pro’s market performance is still ongoing, with Apple reportedly selling up to 180,000 units so far. However, the mixed reviews and subsequent decision by some users to return the device seem to suggest a disparity between the expectations set by Apple and the real-world experience of some early customers.

Buyers are returning their headsets because they’re disappointed by the experience offered by the mixed-reality gadget. The device is heavy & the interface isn’t flawless either, making it hard to justify the $3,500 price point.

The Vision Pro launched recently and it’s already evident that the mixed-reality headset is still an early prototype. Even with impressive demos and excellent reviews, using it on a daily is difficult.

One major reason for the returns is that the design is quite unconventional and not in a good way. Farzad Mesbahi, a YouTuber, says that wearing a device on his head and face can be inconvenient even if he can get it to sit comfortably. He can’t see himself using the headset for long periods as people do with smartphones, tablets, and computers. Users complain that the device’s weight is obvious enough to be a burden. It also instilled headaches and motion Sickness in some.

“You kind of find yourself in this virtual environment and you’re asking yourself what you’re doing here,” said Randy Chia, a product manager for an investment firm in Los Angeles. He returned the device after finding his face would get sweaty after use. It also made him feel exhausted, and he bemoaned the buggy software.

Additionally, Vision Pro’s customers are not very fond of the headset’s vision quality either. According to recent reviews, the headset’s vision quality has received some negative feedback. Customers have reported issues with the clarity and sharpness of the images, which affects their overall experience. Some have also mentioned the need for better color accuracy and brightness.

Mesbahi wrote on X that the device’s ability to overlay virtual apps on top of a user’s line of vision is “not good” when it comes to clearly observing his surroundings. When looking at real objects, Mesbahi says his line of vision is “still quite grainy in most lighting conditions.”

Another common issue found is that Vision Pro doesn’t offer enough productivity. The Vision Pro has impressive technology, but the product does not meet ergonomic standards for all people. This means that people have different needs when it comes to using the product comfortably and safely.

For Carter Gibson, a senior manager working on community management and moderation at Google, it’s the finer details. Things like futzing around with Windows and file management are productivity deal-breakers. “It’s difficult to multitask between ‘windows’,” Gibson further says in an exchange on Threads.

“Several file types simply aren’t supported on the Vision Pro.I also can’t see how creating a slide in the VP would be less energy than doing so with w/a mouse and keyboard — even if does feel like you’re in Minority Report.”

“If I’m not using this for productivity, and if I don’t love it for entertainment, and if there aren’t enough games to play on it – I just can’t justify keeping it,” one Reddit user wrote.

That being said, predicting the future is hard to say as we don’t know how this vocal subset of early adopters will impact Vision Pro. Many customers who said they’d be returning the device also noted they’d be eager to try a second generation Vision Pro. Furthermore, it’s also difficult to say how widespread of a phenomenon this is. While people are speaking out on social media, we don’t know the actual return rate or what Apple’s internal expectations for the Vision Pro are.

On one hand, even some of the most loyal Apple customers have had second thoughts. There are also supporters of Vision Pro who emphasize that this device is merely the first generation and will get better in time. They make their point by referring to the original iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch and their quirks.

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