heavy battery, strange personalities and other surprises of Apple Vision Pro
The long-awaited Vision Pro VR headset has finally gone on sale, and early adopters are mostly impressed with Apple’s mixed reality glasses. There was a lot of discussion about what to expect before launch, but a few surprises caught reviewers off guard, according to HowToGeek.
- 1 The battery is heavy and large
- 2 The characters are technically impressive but strange
- 3 Vision Pro can’t see your eyes
- 4 No YouTube or Netflix
- 5 There is no unique program
- 6 You only get one virtual Mac screen
- 7 Quality VR
- 8 Surround sound is compelling (but not private)
- 9 Siri is a secretary
- 10 Nothing can be changed (yet)
The battery is heavy and large
The Vision Pro uses a removable 353 gram battery (a solution that shifts the weight from your head to your pocket or belt). The battery has a capacity of 3166 mAh, which according to Apple representatives is enough for about 2 hours of normal use (or 2.5 hours of watching movies). Some reviewers even managed to squeeze an extra 30 minutes out of their batteries.
Perhaps the biggest surprise here is that the battery is so heavy and large compared to the overall capacity. The iPhone 15 has a 3,349 mAh battery and the entire device weighs just 171 grams.
Nilay Patel of The Verge noted that the battery is “barely worth talking about” but that the battery itself is “very Apple-esque” in terms of its limited capacity.
If you buy a spare battery for $199, be aware that when you disconnect one battery, the Vision Pro will turn off. It takes about 45 seconds for the device to be usable again after stopping.
You can charge the battery with the included 30W charger while using the headset, but actually tethering yourself to an outlet.
Interestingly, the Vision Pro’s battery seems to hide a huge Lightning cable, which can be removed using the iPhone’s SIM removal tool.
The characters are technically impressive but strange
Personas are 3D images of Vision Pro users for use in FaceTime conversations. You can create a persona by scanning your face using the sensors on the front of the headset. From here, your face is used during a FaceTime call, mimicking your facial expressions, movements, and even hand placement.
This feature has been launched in beta as it is not yet fully completed. One of the most impressive aspects of these characters is how Vision Pro can pick up micro-expressions, mouth movements, and other parts of your face that the sensors wouldn’t seem to capture well. Here’s what it looks like.
However, a lot of amazing things happen here. Personas resemble the owner, but do not look quite human.
The hair does not move and in some cases looks more like a hat. The same goes for any jewelry or clothing you wore during the scan. The feature is both technically impressive and slightly disturbing.
Vision Pro can’t see your eyes
The Vision Pro has a screen on the front of the device known as EyeSight. It is designed to give other people the impression that they are seeing your eyes.
Cameras inside the device monitor your eyes and facial expressions and transmit it to a display on the front panel, which appears under a lenticular film designed to give the illusion of depth.
Reviewers have noted that this feature can lead to some strange problems. For example, your eyes look like they are spaced too far apart or in the wrong position. Other commentators have suggested that this is a feature of the first generation headset and may be removed in future versions.
No YouTube or Netflix
Anyone hoping to dive into YouTube or Netflix may be disappointed with their Vision Pro. These are by far the two most popular apps not yet available on the headset. Which seems strange for a device that heavily emphasizes its unique video streaming capabilities in its marketing.
You’ll have to use a Safari window to access two of the most popular streaming services on the Internet. You also can’t add them to your home screen as web apps (like on the iPhone or iPad).
There is no unique program
Specially designed Vision Pro programs are available right now, including Disney 3D, immersive star maps and virtual DJ booths. Apple has adapted many of its own software to run on Vision Pro, and there are millions of apps for iPhone and iPad. But there is currently no single program that reviewers point to as a reason to use Vision Pro.
You only get one virtual Mac screen
For some, the prospect of using the Vision Pro as a Mac display is huge. It works, and it works well on a giant crisp 4K display that can be scaled and moved anywhere. Unfortunately, you can only use one display in this iteration, which ruins any hopes you had of a virtual multi-monitor setup.
You can still open other windows in visionOS next to your Mac’s virtual display. And you can move your cursor smoothly between them and the Mac screen, but all that will be limited to visionOS apps like Safari windows and the Notes app.
The spatial aspect of the Vision Pro works very well. If you’ve tried augmented reality on your iPhone, you’re probably used to objects appearing to float or drift.
The Vision Pro seems to have enough sensors and cameras pointing in any direction that this is no longer an issue. Several reviewers have noted that it’s the best video and most convincing implementation of mixed reality they’ve ever seen, and considering the price, that’s a relief.
Surround sound is compelling (but not private)
The two downward-firing speakers provide a spatial sound that was highly appreciated. But others in the room can hear what you’re doing.
This means that if you want to watch a movie while flying and not draw attention to yourself, or if you want to avoid distracting your crew members while working while listening to music, you will need to insert headphones. Fortunately, you can use any Bluetooth headset with the Vision Pro as long as it fits comfortably.
Siri is a secretary
Vision Pro is an Apple product, so of course Siri had to appear here. You can access most functions using Siri: launching and closing apps, switching to different immersive environments, and dictating text.
There are several ways to enter text with Vision Pro, and Siri is probably the easiest of them all. The built-in on-screen keyboard has been criticized for slow typing speed, and as with any non-tactile typing surface, the experience is far from satisfying.
You can dictate messages, run software, and even dictate web searches and URLs out loud while you’re using the device.
Nothing can be changed (yet)
visionOS is based on iPadOS, which has given Apple a big advantage in terms of ecosystem and basic functionality. But there are no settings yet, including on the main screen. Reorganizing your apps isn’t currently supported, which means you can’t put apps in folders either.
Instead, you’ll get the Apple Apps screen with a “Compatible Apps” folder designed for iPhone and iPad. You’ll then see a long list of third-party apps, arranged in alphabetical order. Maybe this wasn’t a priority for Apple, or maybe the company just doesn’t know how to implement the feature yet.
Previously, ProIT reported how many programs will work with Vision Pro. Netflix and YouTube have said they have no plans to make apps optimized for Vision Pro.
Read also on ProIT about Apple Vision Pro: 6 limitations and the zero-day bug.
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