Apple Vision Pro Evokes Deep Ambivalence


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I’m 55, and I’ve been covering Apple for over 33 years. There are ways in which I’ve become jaded, and my opinions about some things have evolved with observation and analysis over time. I now feel that social media is damagingly corrosive and tune in as little as possible, but after years of naysaying, I control nearly every light in my house with Siri and HomeKit. I’m on the other end of the spectrum from the Luddites and will test a new service or product at the drop of a hat, but my decades of experience render me cynical about grandiose claims.

Plus, my life isn’t like those of most other people. I live in a semi-rural area on the outskirts of a small, highly educated city, so I have little experience with urban life, public transit, and cheek-to-jowl neighbors. Nor do I commute to an office and work with colleagues in person—I spend my time at home and conduct all my business over the Internet. I’m married, and Tonya and I do most things together. Although we have parenting experience with children of all ages, our son is now an adult living on the other side of the continent.

All that’s by way of setting the context for everything I’m about to say about the Apple Vision Pro, promised for sometime next year at a price starting at $3499. First, I want to explain what it is, both in terms of how we talk about it and its physical construction. Then I’ll segue into thoughts about what you can do with it and for whom it’s best suited. Finally, I want to explore some deeper social and societal issues surrounding a device that enables the wearer to experience a different reality than those around them. If you want to read more, I also link to first-impression articles from journalists who received a 30-minute demo from Apple at WWDC.

What Is the Vision Pro?

This question is not easy to answer. Apple calls the Vision Pro a “spatial computer,” which is an unusual but reasonably accurate description of what the company believes the Vision Pro will do. First and foremost to Apple, the Vision Pro is a computer, one on which you perform computer-like tasks. Of course, Apple is thinking about a modern “computer,” which encompasses nearly any digital device…