Why did the first batch of Apple users who tried Vision Pro start returning it?

Vision Pro's newbie benefit period is gradually coming to an end as rumors of returns are fermenting.

▲Vision Pro return news. Picture from: The Verge

Bloomberg interviewed more than a dozen users who returned Vision Pro in the past few weeks. The following common usage problems led them to make the decision to return:

– The device is too heavy and uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time.
– The current lack of apps and video content doesn’t justify the price.
– Working with Vision Pro on Mac is no more efficient than using an external monitor on Mac, and it can’t be used for long periods of time.
– These work features don’t make people more productive than just using a regular external monitor on their Mac, and they’re difficult to use for long periods of time.
– Monitors with too much glare and a narrow field of view can also cause eye fatigue and vision problems.
– When using the device, you are almost isolated from the outside world. There is a lot less sharing process in work and life, and due to adaptation issues, the interesting content in Vision Pro can hardly be shared with others.

The experience that is out of proportion to the high price has made Vision Pro reverse the opinions of many people less than half a month after its official release.

Zuckerberg also gave his own conclusion on Instagram:

But after using (Vision Pro), I not only think Quest is a better value, but I think it's a better product cycle.

They have different strengths, but overall, the Quest is better suited for the vast majority of things people use mixed reality for.

Like the iPhone and iPad, Vision Pro is another epoch-making product from Apple; the difference is that it was born in the era of information explosion, and all advantages and disadvantages will be infinitely amplified by the Internet.

When we came out of the overwhelming first experience of Vision Pro and calmly re-examined this "snow goggles" that may have been a milestone or become cannon fodder, we discovered that its greatest significance is to create a "model room" for space calculation. ”.

Excellent, but with conditions

Some time ago, we also invited several bloggers to the Future Society to participate in public testing. Everyone has indeed experienced amazing functions that are different from the past on this headset that has been in development for 8 years.

Returning to Apple's official website and comparing several functions that have been displayed one by one, it is not difficult to find that the achievement rate of the first generation Vision Pro is quite high. Apple has really brought spatial computing to our eyes through the three pillars of interaction, imaging, and audio. , and when compared with competing products on the same track, obvious advantages can be easily seen.

The clarity that has been praised repeatedly deserves to be mentioned again. Vision Pro is divided into two modes: "pass-through" and "immersion" in application scenarios. The former reproduces the environment through the camera, and the latter uses the screen to create virtuality.

In a head-mounted display market that is full of 2K LCDs, Apple has used these two nearly 4K micro-OLED displays to express pass-through and immersive reality.

Especially when using pass-through mode when the light is sufficient, when you see static objects and dynamic hands in the device, you will hardly notice that this is a "reproduced" scene, because the ultra-low latency of 12ms makes it all insensible.

▲ Latency data of mainstream head-mounted display devices. Picture from: OptoFidelity

Not feeling anything at all is the biggest compliment I can give the Vision Pro.

Space operations are cool, but they are not the only option. After being connected to a Mac, the physical trackpad, keyboard and mouse are still smooth and easy to use.

After getting used to gesture operations and eye movement tracking, these actions seemed to become an instinctive reaction of the body. Looking back, I discovered that the original meaning of "natural interaction" is exactly this: to interact with the device in the most natural way.

Real estate companies always decorate various house types in the sales department to look magnificent. Even if the house for sale has not yet been built, they can always use the model house to tell friends who come to see the house, "Your house can look like this."

The current Vision Pro has the same purpose: it can be what Apple demonstrated in the video, but it has not yet fully completed the concept at WWDC 2023.

In short, the amazingness of Vision Pro is conditional:

– Realistic pass-through restoration requires sufficient light
– Eye movement tracking errors occur from time to time, and sometimes it is necessary to deliberately squint to select the designated target.
– Although placing your hands in a comfortable position can still trigger response operations, only when you raise your hands can you ensure that every action is recognized as much as possible

Unachievable long-term wear

As a model room, Vision Pro has created a spatial computing platform that looks very powerful at first glance, but it cannot be used in daily life.

Long-term wear is the second biggest obstacle for Vision Pro to go to market (the first is always price).

During this period, whether it is our own actual testing experience or online feedback, almost all of them have maintained a high degree of consistency in the point of "it cannot be worn on the head all the time."

You want to wear it for a while, but your body won’t allow it.

The first is the weight. Due to the weight issue of Vision Pro, the center of gravity is placed forward. After you put your head up, you always feel like there is a mysterious force pulling your head down. All the solid texture and materials used when you hold it in your hand are all transferred to your apple muscles when you put it on.

During several hours of urban road testing, we deeply felt the malicious intent of Vision Pro on facial muscles. We also understand that many bloggers will look ten years older when they take off the device after wearing it for dozens of hours. .

Another troublesome screen distance, in a word: too close.

This is a "mom-to-beat" distance, which is equivalent to placing a mobile phone horizontally a palm-width away from your eyes and watching it for a long time.

Eye fatigue and overuse caused by the screen being too close is a common problem in all VR devices. It is also a form gap that Vision Pro cannot overcome at present. Even though it can use outstanding display and interaction to minimize the user's perception of fatigue, it cannot be changed. The truth is: it’s really not suitable for long-term use.

Components that enhance the look and feel are also obstacles

The most popular news about Vision Pro during the Chinese New Year was the imaginative and creative use of the device and the feedback from one of the first users that the device caused blood vessels in his eyeballs to rupture.

Parker Ortolani, the product manager of foreign technology media The Verge, is one of the "victims". Although similar situations have not become a common phenomenon, headaches and dizziness caused by long-term use still appear in our office partners, especially If you are nearsighted, you will be more likely to have similar conditions.

In the first test of foreign technology media, contact lenses were called the alternative to Vision Pro and Zeiss custom lenses. After our experience, this is indeed the case from the look and feel, but we must add the second half: at the same time, the eyes will also bear the impact of the past. Twice the burden.

The double pressure brought to the eyes by contact lenses + the screen being too close is the worst part of the entire actual test, and it is also the culprit of causing headaches and even eyeball bleeding.

In order to provide a better immersive display effect, Vision Pro's light shielding component is very well done. As long as the position is correct, there will be almost no ambient light seeping into it to affect the look and feel. Of course, it will also block the wind – Vision Pro in After wearing it for a long time, you will obviously feel stuffy. Although the built-in cooling fan and fabric material can alleviate the problem of airtightness, the heat dissipation effect of this device on our faces is minimal.

It is precisely because of this set of light shields that the Vision Pro's field of view is forced to shrink. Apple did not give a specific number, but it must be slightly smaller than the 110° of Quest 3. We can clearly see the screen when using it. The surrounding black edges are like looking at the world through a telescope.

▲ Quest 3 vs Vision Pro. Picture from: uploadvr.com

If you remove the hood alone, the Vision Pro's field of view will become wider, but a device without supporting parts will put all its weight on the bridge of the nose, and the device will also become loose and unsteady, exposing too much ambient light. Intervention will greatly reduce the display effect. It is not recommended to pick up sesame seeds and lose watermelons.

Generally speaking, using Vision Pro is a contradictory process. On the one hand, I am shocked and attracted by the unheard of and unseen display effects. On the other hand, due to the above, I can only take off the headset when I am still unsatisfied and let my body recover. .

visionOS, it will take some time

Before the release of Vision Pro, major media were worried about the application ecosystem of Apple's head-mounted display, and even believed that this was a more serious problem than the high price.

As expected, there are only a dozen apps and unique functions customized for visionOS, and the rest are almost directly copied from iPadOS.

There are constant criticisms on the Internet about "Vision Pro lacks a killer app", but this statement is not accurate. Just pick out a certain application or function of visionOS, and it has a very eye-catching performance:

·The viewing effect of Vision Pro is very good. Combined with the spatial audio and environmental noise floor, it can be said that the effect is no different from that of a movie theater. The experience of watching movies alone will even be better.
·Vision Pro’s Fruit Ninja is very interesting. It directly integrates the game into the space. It is a game that has witnessed the rise of smartphones and has entered a new era of products with more realistic gameplay.

But if these excellent parts are put together, with the current number and scale, they will not be able to make up the size of an OS. Therefore, what Vision Pro really lacks is the "killer application group" corresponding to this price range. It can appear and play a role in every scenario you can think of.

Apple cannot expect most users to spend 10 times the price to buy an iPad that hangs on their face, and the market will not pay for the functions of watching movies or gesture operations alone.

This is a cool product, but when we can experience all the applications and functions in less than two hours, and when the price reaches US$3,500 (JD International’s self-operated price is 39,999 yuan), all the impulses and overpowering , will be immediately put aside.

visionOS is not only a bridge between Vision Pro and users, but also has a mission: to justify the high price of Vision Pro through a unique software ecosystem and experience.

But at the moment, neither Apple nor visionOS can do this.

According to the plan, Vision Pro will be released in mainland China in April this year. By then, more friends will be able to experience it in person, and more domestic applications will be added to visionOS. Of course, a new round of disputes and returns will arise. will come again.

Apple needs to know that behind the dispute over returns may be the first thing to resolve when the Vision series of products enter the consumer electronics market.

1. The software design is human-centered, and the hardware also needs to be: in all the software ecosystem of Vision Pro, you can feel that you are standing in the center of the device, but when wearing it, you have to constantly compromise for this headset: imbalance weights, non-breathable eye masks, uncomfortable headbands.

The contradiction between the immersion that requires long-term wear and the large tablet that cannot be worn for a long time is the first contradiction that Apple needs to solve urgently.

2. Find the right positioning and optimize the all-scenario experience: The price of Vision Pro will give people a sense of being a "universal tool", but in actual use, it seems that even mobile phones cannot compare: the demand for all scenarios and scarce applications, is another contradiction.

Vision Pro has decorated the model room of the Spatial Computing Building in a stunning way. During this experience, we can also get a preliminary glimpse of the new paradigm of human-computer interaction in the future.

But before these problems are solved, it will take some time for Vision Pro to transform from "style" to "real".

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