10:33 AM, Thursday, February 15th, 2024:
All boxed up and ready for the return... I wasn't gonna make this a public video because I really don't want to add to the viralness of "the return" which is certainly making the rounds online, but damnit - it's the truth and I'll lay out why I'm returning it after this reboxing video...
Even in the video I thought I may still not make it public. But it's such a moment as I said in the podcast yesterday...
So, the bottom line for me is... well it's not even the bottom line. What I'm about to explain would be a probelm no matter why I bought it. But we'll start with that: I run Virtual Presence Productions and need headsets to showcase my films to clients and you want the absolute best. These aren't small deals, so I want the best most expensive display to put everything in the best light possible. Also, nothing has gotten press like the Apple Vision Pro. Everyone knows about it and it's been awaited for years. No brainer business expense even at $4000. Could, not, wait to get it.
First up, the comfort. Really bad. Like - hard to believe bad. So I bought a strap (in fact had it ready 'cause I knew I'd be modding it to fit the Vision Pro) and I did it!
Slight bit of dremeling of the black connectors and boom: biggest problem solved. And I mean, I was stunned how well this worked. I then took off the light seal? Man - zero pressure on my face - huge field of view... I could wear this for hours and be fine.
Did all the initial studd - the immersive videos, the dinosaur thingee, put windows all around my space and played with the Persona avatars. Fun stuff. Of course, not why I bought it. So I attempted going online to play VR180. And, well, you can't. Safari is completely broken and no one released apps for it. No problem, I can just load my files directly and have the Vision Pro just play them like their own immersive apps.
No you can't. Won't recognize any immersive content, just plays it flat.
Ahem. Go to the app store and download every app that says it can play the files including several I paid for... none work. Days pass. And after a full week the Moon Player app does work so I make a file specifically for that Apple Vision pro at a higher bitrate: 400 mb/s. (Quest 3 can only andle 120 mb/s and still play smoothly) and it works! The file plays smoothly and at that bitrate artifacting is nonexistent. 120 mb/s is still great but I could see SOME issues. Not here... except for some reason? The projection is WARPED and curved. And then the killer: motion blur/pixel smear when you move your head. It's a byproduct of OLED screens, but my vive pro was OLED and it didn't do this. So it's something with the calibration of their displays having the persistence too high to make the displays brighter (which is kind of crazy because the displays are actually pretty dark). This is a $4000 display. So I throw on my Quest 3 and play the 120 mb/s file... it looks nearly identical if not... better? The Quest 3 has big lenses with a huge sweet spot. The field of view is a little bigger and you can shake your head like a madman and it's perfect...
...so I throw my AVP back on and watch it again... no other way to say it - even at the increased resolution: (3660x3200 per eye vs 2064x2208 per eye) it isn't noticeably better. Understand that the file I'm playing? Is 4096x4096 per eye. This shouldn't be so. Now, the processing power of the AVP is QUITE a bit better than the Quest 3 and can play my files at a whopping 400mb/s without stuttering. That's amazing and I actually went back and remastered my NFL reel to take advantage of that... but 120 mb/s is already great. Same with the resolution - 2064x2208 per eye with a nice big pancake lens? It's AMAZING. It looks wonderful. And since it's LCD, there's NO smearing, it's perfectly crisp and still at all times. It's just a better experience. Sure, the blacks are better on OLED... so if this was a TV? No brainer. But there's no MOVEMENT on your TV so the pixel smearing issue isn't there. And the black level issue is honestly content-specific. You don't notice it in my NFL reel - nothing is complete black - it's all bright scenes.
And then the killer. The part that just... is a fucking killer: handing the device over to someone else. Oh. My. God.
With the Quest 3, I get it centered to where the person is sitting - hit play on the file and put it on their head. Voila. You watched me do it with Mo. Seamless. With the Apple Vision Pro, I have to put it in "Guest mode" which brings the entire unit back to the home screen and they then have to scan their hands front and back, then calibrate their eyes while pinching (not super easy for some) and then I have to talk them through how to find the file, then switch it to left/right in one setting, then hit VR180 in the other setting and then pinch on the screen to make that menu go away although another line/menu stays up the entire time AND?!!? Their arms and hands are viewable in front of the video.
<blink> That's if they can even get there. I mean what the ever-loving fuck. That's it. That ends it's ability to be used in a professional setting.
That was week 1. I still gave it a chance. I decided to just use it as a normal person. Sit down, set up a whole bunch of apps, enjoy content. Brought up YouTube on one screen - placed it in my room - then a whole bunch of other apps... my messages... just had fun making this big world for me to sit in. Got up to go get something to drink - came back and it was all there like magic. Loved it. Started to enjoy it. Jumped into a 3D movie and it looked cool! Except I have an exceptionally large TV and my whole family can watch that... but I get it. Then I go to my office and recreate the layout and try to work... it's ok - but not really any different than what I do on my 55 inch monitor now. Ya know? And there's this thing on my face. Makes sense when I'm editing VR180 (which I cannot do on this - sigh), but for normal work? Fuck no.
Then the killer... it didn't save my living room layout. And if you turn it off? You have to redo everythign again. There's no way to save these layouts that honestly take quite awhile to match your space and look cool. I mean... fuck. Who wants to spend 10 minutes pinching and zooming some layout? Like - I have a big computer monitor and my phone RIGHT HERE. If I want more media space? I have an iPad. Election nights are usually set up like this - LOL. I don't know what this unit is solving exactly and if you live WITH someone? It's worthless. Even if you spend $8000 you cannot share a space, you cannot view each other's apps or even watch a movie together. The eyes on the front are worthless and are never bright enough for someone to make eye contact. It's just a mess.
Finally? Eye fatigue. I don't quite understand this one - but for whatever reason? Using your eyes as a mouse is more fatiguing because they don't move naturally. This is a bit high concept, lemme try to talk you through it...
...if you're on your computer and you go to close out a program, you look at where you want to go, put your cursor there with your hands and then immediately go to the next thing in a millisecond. You do it subconsciously. It's a dance between your brain eyes and fingers. In the AVP you look... but then you have to really focus on it so when you pinch your fingers it registers. You quickly get the hang of it, it's certainly intuitive... but the extra time that you're focusing on that "X" or whatever? It adds up. After an hour I notice my eyes are actually tired. Never had this in the previous 8 years using headsets. I work DAILY in my Quest 3... nothing remotely like this. It makes me really think that eye tracking won't be the sole manipulation instrument in VR. Maybe the wearble wrist-band thing or even the ring on your finger thing? But I feel like your hands interacting with screens will simply be easier to do long term than having to really focus your eye on tiny objects and pinching.
Now this may be because I turn 50 next year and my eyes are old. I'll accept that. I've simply never run into it before... but we'll see. Either way, I now have zero reason to keep this thing.
And it kills me. Like... I am so bummed I'm returning this today. But here we are. The Quest 3 can honestly do the overwhelming majority of what the AVP can do... and actually, do it better. All people can argue is the display and man... there is a law of diminishing returns on resolution. This proves it. Give me a wider field of view and a more comfortable device before you keep pushing the pixels. I don't see any pixels on the Quest 3. I can walk RIGHT UP to virtual objects DIRECTLY in my face and it looks perfect. Sure the passthrough on the AVP is better... but my favorite things to do in mixed reality is play games! I already work on my Quest 3... so what the fuck? What are we even talking about here? Oh and you can buy SEVEN Quest 3s for teh price of a Vision Pro? HUH? What a complete disaster.
Oh my fucking what? How is that even possible? I know that tomorrow is the deadline for people who got it at launch and of course some people did it KNOWING they were going to return it but I have never heard of something like this for an Apple Product. We'll never know the real numbers but I'm here to tell you... it's HIGH and it's absolutely not normal. The first people to buy Apple products are the DIE-HARDS. They fans. The people like me that adore these gadgets and even collect and save them with PRIDE. And the crazy part? I would've returned this if it was $500. I shit you not. It's unnecessary if you have a Quest and honestly just cannot do all the amazing things that are possible in the MR and VR world.
What, a, disaster. (sigh)