First contact with Apple glasses: the Vision Pro come face to face with reality | Technology

In Apple stores in the Washington area these days they refer to the appointment to try out their Vision Pro glasses, recently put on sale in the United States, as “the invitation to a guided trip to an amazing place.” Destiny, they warn, “has nothing to do” with the metaverse or virtual reality. This is something else: “spatial computing,” they call it.

And frankly, that thing is a lot like seeing life from the inside of an iPhone, iPad, or Mac computer.

To try the company’s latest launch, the first of a new product in years, you have to reserve half an hour with a specialist, and in some stores the wait is several days. There are worse suspense: to Europe, the product will not arrive until some still undetermined point in 2025.

Tim Cook (right), CEO of Apple, on February 2, the day of the launch of the Vision Pro, at the company’s store on Fifth Avenue in New York.JUSTIN LANE (EFE)

Once the appointment is made, the first thing is to pass a facial recognition exam to measure the skull. It will not be the only occasion in which the potential buyer, who may not have the $3,500 that the glasses cost, goes through that large contemporary box in which what is apparently free is paid for with personal information.

After a while, they bring a model adjusted to the size of your head. It comes connected to a battery with a battery life of two hours, which is like the pocket of a wireless microphone; Without it, the gadget does not work, so, the seller clarifies, whoever wants to go out with it on the street must reserve room in their pockets to carry it.

Apple’s main innovation with respect to other glasses – which, like those of the competitor Meta, isolate the user from the environment and can be dizzy – is that it is possible to go around with them without losing contact with the outside world. In other words, the Vision Pro allows you to be in another world and also in this one. It’s the first thing you notice when you put them on: after the home screen, with its panoramic view of the apps available, you continue to see what happens in reality, so to speak, even if that reality is a version mediated by the 12 cameras and six microphones that the device incorporates.

So much accessory influences its weight, between 600 and 650 grams, and its size, which covers half the face. It’s hard to think about carrying them around until the battery runs out, let alone on a sweltering summer day. For the rest, the device is a display of design, in the seductive line of Apple, which this time also dares with the textile of the piece that protects the glasses and the band of spongy material that holds them to the head.

There are three key buttons: the one that takes photos and videos, a wheel to adjust the band, and another, called the “digital crown”, which is used for almost everything else: from turning on the device to increasing the volume or returning to the beginning. The rest is managed by sight. If you want, for example, to open a photo, fix your eyes on it and put your index fingers and thumb together, as if you were pinching a pinch of salt.

In the store, the test focuses on the audiovisual part, which is clearly the invention’s strength. The presentation of the images is panoramic, so before you know it you are in the middle of an Icelandic landscape that you can admire from left to right, and from top to bottom from the place where the image was taken. The Vision Pro also makes it possible to immerse yourself in a video recorded with an iPhone 15 Pro, the company’s most recent phone model and the one recommended to get the most out of the glasses. The clip chosen for the test shows the moment in which a child blows out the candles on his birthday cake, and when watching it it is inevitable to think to what extent technology will change the future of grief, when it is possible to relive this or that in three dimensions. happy moment with a loved one who passed away.

The Vision Pro can be used to write (although it is advisable to connect a wireless keyboard), consult Internet pages or read the newspaper, tasks that can be combined by opening several windows at the same time. They are also useful for watching a movie, better if it is in three dimensions and if it does not last more than two hours, of course. The potential buyer, who should know that Apple has blocked the consumption of pornographic films in virtual reality in a gesture that has earned comparisons with a “chastity belt,” is shown two: a trailer of Super Mario Bros, and another, a pastiche in which he swims with sharks, watches with vertigo a tightrope walker cover the distance between two peaks or sees from the back of the goal how a player from Inter Miami (Messi’s team) scores a goal into the top corner. , with which Apple signed a million-dollar exclusivity contract).

When that part of the test is over, the salesperson asks, “Isn’t that amazing?” And it certainly is, although perhaps impractical. Large platforms such as Netflix or Max have not yet developed applications to use in that environment, so the large catalogs available are those of Apple TV and Disney+. And the offer of three-dimensional films, with which to make the most of technological innovation, is still scarce. It is also, at the moment, that of apps, not only audiovisual, available, about 600, according to Apple, as well as official information on sales of the device in its first weeks. The company has not yet shared its figures, but there are estimates that speak of about 200,000 units.

Meme meat

Since its launch in the store on Fifth Avenue in New York by Tim Cook, CEO of the technology company, the first users of the Vision Pro in the United States have attracted the attention of the media and social networks and have even provoked the intervention of the Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, who advised against using them in the front seat of one of those driverless vehicles, after the video of a guy on board a Tesla Cybertruck doing everything with his hands went viral take the wheel. The price of being among the first also carries the risk of becoming a meme, with those ski-like glasses from which a white cable comes out and drawing movements similar to those of Tom Cruise in Minority Report.

Nikias Molina, one of them, is amused that his adventures with glasses on the New York subway have gone viral. A 25-year-old content creator from Barcelona, ​​specialized in commenting on Apple products on his YouTube channel, he traveled to the American city to get a pair the same day they came out. “Actually, I think they are for sitting down, at home,” he says in a video call after two weeks of using them. “When I took them around New York, or on the plane back, people asked me a lot of questions, and it was fun to watch how they looked at me, because many don’t know yet that you can see them too.” He likes them, he adds, in their facets of “entertainment” (“there is no better way to watch a movie, even if it is a solitary experience”) and “productivity” (“it’s like carrying the office on your back”). “You can discuss the price, and they could be lighter, but I think the technology is revolutionary, like looking into the future,” he adds.

Nikias Molina from Barcelona, ​​one of the first buyers of the Vision Pro.
Nikias Molina from Barcelona, ​​one of the first buyers of the Vision Pro.Nikias Molina / Roberto Ortiz

Molina confirms that the impatience of some European followers of Apple to take a look at the technology’s latest ingenuity has made a parallel market flourish on platforms such as eBay, where new American owners of the glasses resell a product that is already expensive at the outset. The potential buyer on both sides of the Atlantic should know that at that price you have to add the necessary additions to complete the experience: the box, the extra storage, the wireless headphones… In total, the final price of the Vision Pro actually exceeds the $4,600. And that is a reality check for many users.

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