Apple Vision Pro, a mixed-reality headset, is one of the most discussed and long-waited mixed-reality devices in the market. It provokes mixed emotions and opinions. Is it worth the money? What unique features does it offer to its users? How will it change the digital world? 

Before its launch in February 2024, PissedConsumer interviewed a VR expert, Justin Barnett, who shared his insights into the Apple Vision Pro features, alternatives to the product, and trends in VR and gave tips for beginners in the VR world. 

Here are the points we discussed with a VR expert:

About Justin Barnett

Pauline: Hello, everyone. It's time to unveil the mystery behind Apple Vision Pro. Is it worth the money? Are there any alternatives available? And what kind of content and games will be accessible for users?

Justin: I'm Justin P. Barnett. I teach people how to make VR games. I started in the software space doing consulting work for a company and was able to jump on a bunch of different technologies and whatnot. Then, I tried a VR headset for the first time. One of those crappy ones that you slide your phone into, and then you're able to look at 360 youtube videos. As a software developer, I was thinking, 'Wow, how do I actually make some of these myself?' I started to dabble in that a little bit and then couldn't find good resources online to figure out how to do it besides just boring documentation. So, I started to make a YouTube channel. Everything that I would learn, I would post on YouTube. I started to grow a little bit of a following, and now I teach people how to make VR games full-time, and it's been pretty fun.

Key Features of Apple Vision Pro That Make It Unique

Pauline: Could you please discuss some key features of Apple Vision Pro that set it apart from others?

Justin: The first one is Apple. They've never done any kind of device like this.It's absolutely amazing that they're getting into the virtual reality, augmented reality space. However, knowing Apple, they have coined the term spatial computing. If you watch their presentation on the Vision Pro, they never once mentioned virtual reality. It's spatial computing, and that's their term for it.

Apple is trying to step away from the current genre of virtual reality, which is more of a gaming side of things, into a more business-use-case type of situation. 

It's a high-end headset. It has a huge resolution of the screens. Each screen is 4K, which is double what any other headsets besides one or two are right now. And then they have their M2 processor in there. It's going to be super fast and some good spatial audio.

It's just going to be superior to every single headset that's on the market right now. But they are the people who brought it all together. They brought it into the Apple ecosystem and added all those key features that this headset had, like a really good display. And then there's this other headset over here that has really good audio, and they're the ones bringing it all together and putting it into this nice package.

Apple Vision Pro Cost and Alternatives

Pauline: Is it worth the investment?

Justin: If I were not in the virtual reality space, if I were just a consumer, I would say it's probably not worth the money in this first iteration. And I see it being more like how the iPhone was. The iPhone didn't get mass adoption until the third generation. That's when everybody started to see everybody else having an iPhone; the first generation and the second generation; there weren't any apps for the iPhone. There was no point in getting a really expensive iPhone because it did the same things that your flip phone did back then. It was this cool touchscreen technology. But then, after the 1st and 2nd generations, a lot of developers like me got in there, and we're making these cool apps that made it useful. And now people don't even have computers nowadays. They just use their iPhones for everything.

Pauline: Justin, could you please tell us if there are any alternative VR devices from other brands?

Justin: If you're in the Apple ecosystem, there's nothing, and that's how they like it. But if you're looking at other devices that you might pick up that are pretty similar, the closest one is the Quest Pro, which is developed by Meta and that they discontinued. So they're not actually continuing it and doing another version or continuing to build any parts for it.

That's an interesting play by them. The Quest Pro is Meta's high-end headset. It has eye-tracking and face-tracking, just like the Apple Vision Pro. The Apple Vision Pro has eye-tracking and face-tracking and all of those features, so those are pretty similar. The Quest Pro by Meta is about half the price point of the Vision Pro by Apple.

Apple Vision Pro Integration With Other Devices

Pauline: How would Apple Vision Pro integrate with other Apple devices, and how could it enhance the consumer experience?

Justin: It's absolutely going to integrate with everything else. They showed off a little demo inside the video, their announcement video, of someone using a Macbook and just swiping up the screen from the Macbook and then all the apps displayed in the Vision Pro. It will integrate seamlessly. I personally believe that they actually had the hardware made and developed, and the headset was finished a year or two ago. It's been the last year or two up until release that they've been working on all of that behind-the-scenes stuff where it integrates seamlessly and perfectly with your iPhone and your computer and all of the extra iPhone or Apple devices that you can want. I think you can seamlessly swap between everything, and every app is synced across all devices. It's going to be the same way with the Vision Pro.

Pauline: In other words, will we soon forget about the Apple Watch and everyone will switch to Apple Vision Pro?

Justin: That is an interesting point. You're probably not going to wear it outside of your house. And it has a battery pack that you have to have in your pocket, which is kind of annoying, or clip to your pants. That'll give it a two-hour battery life; otherwise, you have to plug it into the wall in order to keep the battery going.

But eventually, they're moving towards a more augmented reality approach. So that's their big focus. In comparison, the Quest devices by Meta are purely virtual reality first. And then, basically, they add on the augmented reality through extra cameras and stuff that brings it in. 

Apple has focused on augmented reality first.

And then they're like, 'Oh, by the way, you can turn off the 'pass-through' of showing me what the room is.' It's totally blacked out, but they're focusing on the augmented reality portion. This is like the crappy iPhone one-model headset for the future. But that's just the beginning. As we get to versions three, four, five, and on and on, it's going to get smaller and smaller, looking more and more like glasses. Eventually, maybe even contact lenses, if we're crazy enough. You'll just wear that instead of having an iPhone. People aren't even going to have iPhones anymore because it's going to be these glasses that you wear. You can talk to Siri. And she'll send all your text messages and everything. It's going to be pretty crazy. You can just bring up displays and windows in mid-air.

I even personally think TVs will eventually go obsolete because everyone's going to have a headset. You can project on whatever wall; for example, I could just project on this back wall whatever I want to watch. Then someone else can look at the same wall and watch whatever show they want to watch at the same time. We're not interfering with each other, but we're still hanging out in the same space.

Content, Games, and Apps for Apple Vision Pro

Pauline: What type of content, games, or apps can we expect to be available for Apple Vision Pro users?

Justin: One big downside to the Vision Pro is that they're not planning on having any controllers, which it's in a couple of limitations to the kinds of games you can have. I have a Quest 2 controller, and it has a little thumbstick like a normal controller. If you are gaming on a console, you move around by pressing the thumbstick, and you do the same thing in VR. You move around by pressing the thumb stick with Apple Vision Pro, not going with controllers. You don't have any controllers. It makes movement very difficult because there's not a good way to move around the space.

There will be a lot of simulation and education-type applications and a lot less gaming. 

That movement component isn't going to be there. You can't run around and do a shooter or those kinds of games. There are going to be a lot more storytelling applications. It's going to be a lot more simulation or education-type applications, which I think is what they're trying to focus on anyway. They're not trying to focus on the gaming side of things. They want it to be more of a professional headset that people can buy. If you're an architect, you and your fellow architects can just throw up a model in the middle of the room, walk around, and make adjustments as you're all interacting with the same model. But it's in virtual space, and it's going to be something as opposed to running around and shooting finger guns at people because there are no controllers.

Trends in VR Technology

Pauline: Can you anticipate any upcoming trends in the VR technology that consumers should be aware of when investing in their first VR device?

Justin: Everyone talks about the metaverse. They're like, 'Oh, the metaverse is coming,' 'You're going to be in the metaverse,' and that kind of thing. What people usually expect to relate to virtual reality headsets is when everyone's wearing a virtual reality headset, 'We're just going to be in the metaverse. And it's going to be an entirely different world.' But the way I look at it, you're already in the metaverse. If you're watching this, you're in the metaverse consuming this content. If you are on your phone, texting people who aren't there physically in person, you are in the metaverse talking to those people. You're already effectively in this alternate reality, which is the internet that connects us all. You're in this space, and you're going to interact with other people. 

A VR headset changes the medium and the way that we actually interact with the environment. 

Right now, you interact with your friends through Facetime, and it doesn't feel like you're there with them. It's just a flat screen that you're talking to them across, you know, the ocean or whatever.

But with a virtual reality headset, they can effectively be a hologram in your space, and you can feel like you're in the same room with people. It's going to increase the quality of interactions we have with people because it's going to feel like we're actually interacting with real people instead of just faceless people across the virtual space.

I think there is hope for the future, whereas people are like, 'Oh, we're just like everyone is carrying a social media, and people are just being nasty because you can just text stuff and nobody sees your face.’ 

Jumping into virtual reality and that kind of space will humanize a lot more people…

…because you are that person, and you have that avatar, and you're talking face to face, and it feels like you're actually in the room with people. People are generally nicer and more courteous, and it is easier to get along with them because you're effectively face-to-face with them. It's just now in a virtual medium.

Pauline: Can you recommend them to regular users, not just professionals like yourself?

Justin: I think for diehard Apple fans who always get the latest tech, it's absolutely something that you should go ahead and get because it'll introduce you to what the future is going to be like. If you're the kind of person who likes to be on the cutting edge and have new technology, this will be a great device, but it will be relatively expensive. But if you're in the Apple ecosystem and already buying the new devices, you expect that kind of price tag for an Apple device. It's not going to phase you too much. 

But as a normal kind of consumer or someone who likes to see their technology tested first or have some more adoption, I think this first iteration of the Vision Pro is not going to be for you. It would be better for you to wait for the second or third version of the device because this first version will be very scarce. It is going to be hard to get one. It's going to be very expensive, and there's going to be a lot of things you can't do on it yet. They have already made iMessage and all of the standard applications you would have on your computer that are the Apple ecosystem applications. They're already ported over to the Vision Pro. You'll be able to have those. But as far as more advanced applications and things you can do, you're not really going to be very impressed. You will not be able to do anything that you couldn't already do on your computer. And so, for those kinds of people, it would be better to wait for the second or third version. Once developers like me and the people who follow my YouTube channel get our hands on it and can actually build out some cool applications that people can then come in and use in the next iteration.

Tips on How to Start a VR Journey

Pauline: What is your key message to VR beginners? Can you share some useful tips on how to start the VR journey?

Justin: If you're looking to get into VR, I would recommend just getting a cheap headset; just wet your toes because it is a little adjustment, especially when you hear people say they get motion-sick a lot in VR. It was a big factor with newer devices, but as our devices are getting more and more advanced, the frame rate is getting higher, which causes you not to be motion-sick here as much. As technology progresses, that's becoming less and less of a factor, and then you can also get used to it. 

The more you're in VR and the more you interact with the medium, the more sea legs you get; you're able to hang out in VR for longer and longer periods.

I highly encourage people who are just getting into the VR space to get a headset, play around in it, and use it for 15-20 minutes a day until they get used to it. Play around with all the different applications because there's tons of stuff to do, and it feels wild, like everybody remembers their first VR experience, and it's super fun. Find a friend who has a VR headset and try it out, too, because that is super fun. 

If you're a developer like me and you want to get into the space of creating these experiences, then YouTube is a great place to start. I have a YouTube channel just under my name, Justin P Barnett, where I teach people how to make VR games. So, if you want to dive into the deep end, we can get you up to speed and show you how to make some cool apps that are fun to play. Then, you can show your friends your own experiences that you actually made, which is really fun.

Pauline: Thank you for the conversation.

Have you had the opportunity to try out the Apple Vision Pro yet? Is it worth the investment? Share your experience and opinion in the comments below. Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay updated on the latest experts’ videos and consumer video reviews.


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