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Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works. - Steve Jobs

Experience Notes on My Apple Vision Pro Demo

Allison Nance - February 19, 2024 - 0 comments

These are my super casual UX notes about my experience demoing the Apple Vision Pro. The demo itself was around 25 minutes so I didn’t have time to make deep observations. These notes are based on quick first impressions. I enjoyed the demo and think Apple has an impressive V1 product. 

*All photos used in this post are credited to Apple

The Good

woman wearing apple vision pro looking at a group of floating app icons

The Demo Itself

There might have been some hiccups along the way (discussed later in this post) but overall, I was impressed. After the initial fit check, my measurements were sent to the back of the store where I’m supposing the best light seal for me was put on and the head strap sized. Then, an Apple Specialist brought the headset out on a tray and placed it in front of me. It started the experience off with a feeling of exclusivity and personalization. 

The Fit

Some people complain about the fit, however, I found it comfortable for a VR/AR device. It wasn’t as heavy as other’s I’ve worn and the strap was soft while keeping the headset stable. No, it’s not comfortable enough to wear for hours but this is what’s possible with the technology we currently have. My expectations were met. 

No Controllers 

It’s freeing not to have to use controllers to operate the device. The eye tracking and hand gestures do take some getting used to but by the end of the demo, things were coming more naturally. Usually in design, we want things to be intuitive from the start but I think when introducing new technology that’s such a big step from what we’re used to, this is ok. 

More notes on this:

  • There are accessibility features available if eye tracking and hand gestures do not work for you. 
  • As a UX designer, it was interesting to watch my eye movements across the screen and see what I noticed first and what I focused on most. It also brought to light how much I searched for things with my eyes. 

Media Viewing

The movies, photos, and sports are the best parts of the demo. This is what I see the V1 Vision Pro being used for the most.

App Screen

The app screen was very crisp, the icons looked great, and the “pinch” (aka click) targets were large enough that I didn’t struggle to select the correct app. 

The Meeeh 

Display Quality

This was something I was looking forward to after reading other reviews that praised the display quality. While it is good quality, I didn’t think it was better than other headsets. The display at times was blurry. I think this has to do more with the way eyes work vs. the quality of the display, but what’s a great display if our eyes can’t focus properly on it. 

Window Management 

The floating windows are cool. It’s also nice to move them around. I can see where the concept could be helpful. For someone like me who tends to have 15-20 windows open and 100 browser tabs, I’m not sure this management system would be the best option for me. It could quickly get overwhelming. 

The Keyboard

I did it… I went rogue. The keyboard wasn’t part of the demo but this was one element I had to try. The Apple Specialist was nervous. The first way to “type” with the Magic Keyboard is with eye tracking and hand gestures. This was difficult and I quickly switched to “typing” with my fingers by “pressing” the keys in the air. I’m not sure this worked 100% correctly but I was in a hurry to get back to the demo before my time was up. Speech-to-text would be the best option here but it wasn’t presented as my first option. When I clicked on the search bar in the browser, the full keyboard popped up. Maybe this should be rethought to prioritize speech-to-text.

The Bad

Fit Check

At the beginning of the demo, I had to scan a QR code with my phone that brought up a fit app. While holding my phone camera up to my face, I had to turn my head in different directions at certain times. It was difficult to watch the screen while turning my head. Voiceovers would have been helpful here. 

There was also a point in fit check where a big blue button appeared. The Apple Specialist warned me about this screen and how I wasn’t to tap the button until after a certain point. If I pressed this button too soon, we would have to start the fit check over from the beginning. This seems like a UX misstep that should be addressed. 

Web Browsing

I didn’t get to REALLY browse since I only saw two web pages. Both were the desktop version of the sites but presented in portrait as if they were mobile views. The navigation buttons were so small at the top and reading was difficult. Windows can be made larger in Vision Pro but it was just…off. It was like the Safari browser on my Mac was inserted directly into Vision Pro. This was the low point of the demo for sure. Vision Pro needs its own browser for its unique experience. Web design might have a new frontier also. 

It’s Lonely in There

I want to share experiences with others. While the movie and sporting event clips were exciting, it was just me in the headset. Normally when I watch those things, it’s with other people. Even when looking at some of the panorama photos of beautiful landscapes, I felt isolated. I wished I could look beside me and see someone else also enjoying the view. 

Difficult to Share

At the price point of $3500+, I don’t see families buying a Vision Pro for every family member. However, to share, multiple light seals may have to be purchased to get a good fit for everyone. These light seals are $200 each! Even if you purchase light seals for everyone, the device has to be recalibrated every time before sharing. There isn’t an option for saved fit profiles.