By Bobby Carlton
Now that the “wow factor” of the Vision Pro has quickly passed. The reality of Apple’s new mixed reality headset is less than stellar for enterprise use.
Apple finally announced their Vision Pro headset and even though the device comes packed with a lot of tech that advances mixed reality hardware, the $3,499 price tag and the fact that the hardware technology fell a tad short with tech experts has people thinking that Apple might have fallen short in expectations.
Since its inception, Apple has been at the forefront of technological innovation. The company’s recent entry into the mixed reality (MR) headset market with their Vision Pro is a clear example of its commitment to pushing the envelope. Nonetheless, it is important to take into account the headset’s various drawbacks.
The Vision Pro looks great and according to Marques Brownlee, Apple’s headset best feature is eye tracking saying “it is the closest thing I’ve experience to like, magic.” But does outstanding eye tracking technology make this headset the hardware solution for delivering XR into the enterprise? It doesn’t, but it is a step forward and eye tracking along with a number of other features is definitely something industries require if they were to adopt XR into the workforce.
But before you consider looking at Apple’s Vision Pro, there are some things to consider.
The Price Point Hurts:
One of the Vision Pro’s most significant disadvantages is its expected high price. $3,499 is a lot of money, and since Apple has a tradition of premium pricing, it is unlikely that the company will deviate from this approach with its MR headset. This could restrict the device’s adoption among consumers and prevent businesses and developers from contributing to the ecosystem.
There is no doubt that this Apple is thinking about how many devices the Vision Pro would replace. Why have a desktop Mac, several monitors, MacBook Pro, and other devices when the Vision Pro could give you all of that. But it is still a large investment, even from an enterprise perspective.
Dependency on Apple’s Ecosystem:
The Vision Pro is expected to rely heavily on the Apple ecosystem for account information, content, and management. This might be ideal for Apple users and some companies who have their workflow through Apple solutions. However, this would also limit the headset’s capabilities and prevent users and industries from fully utilizing its features.
Many companies in all industries don’t use Apple software with their workforce. Bringing in the Vision Pro would cause bid disruption during adoption and could even alienate employees who prefer other tools such as Microsoft Windows or an Android device.
Battery Life Is Only Two Hours:
Simply put, two hours isn’t enough. If we are talking just about a workforce tool, we need a device that we can use all day. Apple’s solution is an external battery that you put in your pocket or on your desk to keep the Vision Pro charged that under best case scenario would last two hours. This actually means you’ll get two full hours if you limited/reduced settings on your headset and ran very basic software. Anything outside of that means you’ll get less than two hours.
Just imagine if you’re at work and your laptop, tablet, mobile device, or any tool used at work only had two hours. You wouldn’t be very productive.
It’s unclear if you can just plug your headset into an outlet as you work from your desk.
Lack of Use Cases:
Although mixed reality has immense potential, Apple failed to provide a compelling reason for people to buy their Vision Pro headset. There was a lot of compelling conversation during WWDC about what it could do, however Apple wasn’t able to really show how its advanced tracking and spatial audio capabilities could help people work more efficiently.
For those who were at WWDC and where able to get their hands on the device, they reported that Apple was incredibly strict on how people were able to demo it and even controlled the environment. So there was not real data on how well the Vision Pro would perform in a warehouse environment, outside under the sun, or other work scenarios.
Every demo shown during Apple’s event was someone at a desk with proper lighting, which as you know, isn’t always the case at work. So there are a lot of unknowns on how well the Vision Pro would perform in a work environment outside of a desk.
Potential Privacy Concerns:
One thing that Apple does very well is protect their privacy of their users of the iPhone or Apple computers. But privacy concerns are raised by the use of MR headsets, such as the Vision Pro. Although Apple’s commitment is admirable, the Vision Pro could potentially collect and process personal data such as a person’s location and activities.
People are still a bit skeptical about how data such as eye tracking and facial tracking is protected. As MR technology evolves there will be better tools in place to protect users, but protecting your personal data such as routing numbers and social security number vs protecting what you look at and physical movement is incredibly invasive.
Comfort and Ergonomics:
Early reports from those who were able to try the headset said that the Vision Pro was well built but was slightly uncomfortable to wear. Unlike headsets such as the Meta Quest or HTC’s XR Elite which are made out of plastic, the Vision Pro uses metal parts, which makes it front heavy and not something you’d want to wear on your face for hours.
Weight distribution and heat management (which Apple didn’t address during WWDC), can affect the Vision Pro’s user experience. If the device is not designed to provide a comfortable fit, it might limit its appeal and practicality for consumers and for enterprise use.
What Does This Mean Enterprise?
If we are talking specifically about the Apple Vision Pro as an enterprise tool, yes, it is an important step in the evolution of mixed reality, but it is still important to consider its various disadvantages. Some of these include its high price, privacy concerns, limitations on third-party app support, and its lack of comfort and practicality.
Is Apple’s Vision Pro ready for enterprise? The direct answer is that the Apple Vision Pro is not ready to be a full blown XR solution for enterprise. As a matter of fact, in my own opinion, headsets like the Quest Pro and HTC’s XR Vive Elite are better suited for enterprise at the moment than the Vision Pro.
XR in enterprise is an interesting market, with companies such as Meta, Magic Leap, and HTC investing a lot of money and focused on being a tool for enterprise in all industries, they also still struggle with finding solid footing in the same way computers and smartphones have been adopted into the workforce.
The Apple Vision Pro is being marketed as a “new era in computing”. Basically XR’s “iPhone” moment where we now have a device that we use work literally everything; from work, play, socializing, entertainment and more, but if anything, they’re not even close to being that new computing experience.
While it is already known that Apple will occasionally make changes to its products, addressing these issues can help the Vision Pro gain widespread popularity and become an industry standard, and keep in mind that this is Apple’s first entry into the mixed reality market. A lot will change over the years and it’s possible they could get there in a few iterations of the Vision Pro.