Apple Vision Pro unboxing and first impressions

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Unboxing Vision Pro
Unboxing the Vision Pro.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

Steve Jobs designed the Apple unboxing experience as a careful process of introducing the customer to an unfamiliar product. And the Vision Pro unboxing is no different.

You don’t just rip the product from its box like a kid at Christmas! You carefully unpack it, examining each component as you go. The idea is to gradually show the customer the parts of the product and give them an idea of how they work together. An Apple unboxing is a very carefully thought-out process and ritual.

And, as you’d expect, the Vision Pro unboxing proceeds just as Apple intended. The new spatial computing headset is sleek, premium and very luxurious. This is no Fisher-Price View-Master.

And as for Vision Pro first impressions after using the headset for a few hours? I was originally skeptical of AR headsets after using a Meta Quest 3 and not liking it much at all. But I’m now a zealous convert. I may never take this thing off!

Vision Pro reviews: The good, the bad, the ugly, the insane! [The CultCast]

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Apple Vision Pro reviews on The CultCast episode 632. In the image, a man wears one of the new headsets.
The reviews are in!
Photo: Apple

This week on Cult of Mac’s podcast: A new round of Apple Vision Pro reviews gives us greater insight into what to expect from the high-priced headset. Is it utterly mind-blowing? Clunky and weird? So addictive that we’re doomed to a flat life in the boring 2D world when we take it off?

Sounds like all of the above!

Also on The CultCast:

  • A rundown of new features coming soon to iOS 17.
  • A respected analyst says iPhone can’t compete without these two key features … but at least one of them is nowhere in sight!
  • Is that an unreleased iPad in a Vision Pro cover story?
  • We’re giving away two rugged and waterproof Apple Watch bands from Lululook for all you sporty types.

Listen to this week’s episode of The CultCast in the Podcasts app or your favorite podcast app. (Be sure to subscribe and leave us a review if you like it!) Or watch the video live stream, embedded below.

Why you absolutely should do an Apple Vision Pro store demo

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A fat old guy getting a demo of Apple Vision Pro at an Apple retail store.
The store demo of Apple Vision Pro is wonderful. I urge you to get one.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

SAN FRANCISCO — I demoed the Vision Pro at the Apple Store here on Chestnut Street. It’s the most impressive tech product I’ve ever seen. It makes the iPhone seem like a primitive stone tablet. It’s amazingly intuitive, works literally like magic, and is incredibly emotional. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.

You don’t have to buy a Vision Pro, but you absolutely must go to a store and get a free demo. We put together a video (below) that will show you what to expect from your Vision Pro demo.

Forget pricey piano lessons. Learn to play at home with this AI-powered app.

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Learn to play piano at home with this $150 AI-powered app.
Save $150 on a lifetime subscription to Skoove’s virtual piano lessons.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

It takes a lot more than wanting to be Billy Joel to become a piano player. You need passion, time, motivation and an excellent instructor (and, uh, a piano). But traditional lessons might not fit into your schedule. Plus, they can get expensive if you’re serious about learning.

That’s why you might need Skoove. This app lets you practice with hands-on piano lessons and AI software that listens to your playing. Get all this and more in a lifetime subscription for only $149.99 (regularly $300) — that’s the lowest price found all across the web!

Masters of the Air becomes latest high-flying hit for Apple TV+

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Austin Butler, who recently played Elvis Presley, stars in the show.
"Masters of the Air" has risen to near the top of the popularity charts.
Photo: Apple

The WWII drama Masters of the Air draws in a big audience, debuting near the tops of popularity charts of two different ratings services. Critics like it too, so the ongoing series that dramatizes the U.S. Army Air Force’s role in helping defeat Germany is shaping up to be another success for Apple TV+.

And the historical crime drama Killers of the Flower Moon continues to be even more popular.

Today in Apple history: iPhone comes to Verizon at last

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Four years of AT&T exclusivity on iPhone finally comes to an end.
Four years of AT&T exclusivity on iPhone finally comes to an end.
Photo: Jon Fingas/Flickr CC

February 3: Today in Apple history: iPhone comes to Verizon at last February 3, 2011: The iPhone finally arrives on Verizon Wireless, the United States’ largest carrier, ending nearly four years of exclusivity with AT&T.

The move comes as Apple faces pressure to expand its customer base as Android phones grow in popularity. The deal commences with the iPhone 4 available for preorder by Verizon’s 93 million customers.

Original games for adults and kids launch on Apple Arcade

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'BEAST: Bio Exo Arena Suit Team' is a shooter designed for kids and adults to enjoy.
BEAST: Bio Exo Arena Suit Team is a shooter designed for young and old to enjoy.
Photo: Oh BiBi/Apple Arcade

February brings BEAST: Bio Exo Arena Suit Team, a 3v3 online action game with animal heroes piloting powerful mechanized armor, to Apple Arcade.

Adults might prefer Words in Progress, a puzzle game, which is also newly available for iPhone, Mac and more.

Welcome Home, Franklin special gives backstory on beloved Peanuts character [Updated]

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'Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home, Franklin' on Apple TV+.
Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home, Franklin races onto Apple TV+ in February.
Photo: Apple TV+

Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home, Franklin shows how Franklin joined the Peanuts gang. The special will debut on Apple TV+ in mid-February.

Apple released the trailer on Friday so fans can take an early look.

Also this winter, Apple’s streaming service will release season two of Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock from the Jim Henson Company. The second season of Sago Mini Friends came out, too.

Juice your Apple gear at top speed with this $64.99 travel charger

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Get power for 3 devices at blinding speed with this $64.99 charger.
Take this ultra-fast, 3-device charger anywhere for under $65.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

If you’ve ever forgotten to put your phone on the charger at night (and who hasn’t?), you know how much it can throw off the entire next day. The pace of modern life doesn’t leave a lot of room for empty batteries to catch up, but now there’s a portable/travel charger that can make up for lost time: The Omnia X6i 66-watt compact wall charger.

It’s small, it packs three charging ports, and it even comes with international adapters to make your travels easier. Plus, it’s on sale for just $64.99.

Cool Vision Pro apps, concepts and experiences available on day one

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An example of an Apple Vision Pro app.
Ready to get your mind blown? Check out these Vision Pro apps and demos first.
Image: Apple

If you’re gonna spend $3,500 on a face-hugging computer, you’ll want to get your money’s worth of mind-blowing experiences. For that, you’ll need the best Vision Pro apps available on day one.

Here are some of the coolest apps, concepts and use cases we’ve seen so far:

Today in Apple history: Gil Amelio takes over as CEO

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Bringing on Gil Amelio was viewed as a big coup for the Apple board.
Many viewed new CEO Gil Amelio as the man to save Apple.
Photo: Apple

February 2: Today in Apple history: Gil Amelio takes over as Apple CEO February 2, 1996: Apple reveals that turnaround artist Gil Amelio will take over from Michael “The Diesel” Spindler as CEO of the struggling company.

With disappointing Mac sales, the disastrous “clone Mac” strategy and a failed Sun Microsystems merger to his name, Spindler is asked to resign by the Apple board. Then Cupertino enlists supposed corporate miracle worker Amelio for the job.

Unfortunately, he turns out to be no better than Spindler.

All the Disney+ 3D movies you can watch on Vision Pro

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Disney+ 3D movies on Vision Pro
Disney+ has 42 movies in stunning 3D for you to experience on Vision Pro.
Photo: Disney

Now that Apple’s Vision Pro is out, Disney let everyone know Friday exactly which 3D films are available to watch on the headset. There are 42 different Disney+ 3D movies on Vision Pro at launch. The mix includes Star Wars and Marvel movies, as well as Disney’s celebrated animated fare.

And because of the immersive qualities of Vision Pro experiences like Environments, watching these 3D flicks could be pretty mind-blowing.

Apple eyes 8-inch folding iPad for possible 2026 launch

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AI rendering of a folding iPad.
Apple's working on a folding iPad and it could look like this rendering from Midjourney.
Render: Midjourney/Lewis Wallace

The first foldable device from Apple could be a 7-inch or 8-inch iPad, according to an unconfirmed report coming from Asia.

The potential tablet would be an iPad mini that could fold down small enough to easily slip into a pants pocket.

MacBook Pro rig rocks Sonos sound system [Setups]

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Sonos One SL speakers in MacBook Pro setup
The Sonos sound system consist of Sonos One SL speakers on the desk and a Sonos Beam soundbar behind the user's seat (not shown).
Photo: MentalOriental@Reddit.com

Sonos audio products are popular for a reason — they sound great and they’re not too far from affordable. Today’s MacBook Pro and Studio Display user thinks the monitor’s built-in speakers are good for many uses, but when they really want the big sound — for gaming, it turns out — they’re all about their Sonos One SL speakers and Sonos Beam soundbar.

Indie record labels say Apple’s Spatial Audio payment plan will hurt them

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Spatial Audio
Spatial Audio from Dolby Atmos technology creates surround-sound.
Photo: Apple

Independent record labels say Apple’s recent promise to pay 10% more for Dolby Atmos tracks in Spatial Audio will take money away from them and give it to major labels and their stars, according to a new report Friday.

“It’s literally going to take the money out of independent labels and their artists, to benefit the biggest companies in the marketplace,” said a senior executive at one of the bigger independent record companies.

With this Mac app, PDFs will never flummox you again

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This PDF converter will boost your Mac's capabilities.
Try out this Mac-compatible PDF editor and converter instead of the pricey Adobe Acrobat Pro.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Have you ever been annoyed when someone sends you a PDF instead of a file you can edit? PDFs continue to be one of the most popular file types in the world, so why is it such a pain when you actually need to use one?

The answer is that you probably don’t have the right software to edit and convert PDFs to your liking. An all-in-one PDF editor like PDF Converter Pro can help, and it doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Lifetime licenses for the Mac app are on sale for $24.97 (regularly $99) for a limited time.

Tim Cook: Apple’s AI revolution is coming later this year [Updated]

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Apple’s AI-driven voice-controlled digital assistant Siri
AI-upgrades could make iOS 18 among the biggest OS releases ever.
Image: Apple

CEO Tim Cook teased Apple’s upcoming AI features during the company’s Q1 2024 earnings call Thursday, saying the company’s efforts will start to bear fruit later this year. It is rare for an Apple executive to provide even hints of the company’s future plans, but Cupertino has something to prove when it comes to artificial intelligence.

Google, Microsoft and other tech giants have invested heavily in AI, while Apple has little to show. However, the release of iOS 18 later in 2024 could change this. Cook says he’s “incredibly excited” about what’s to come.

Apple’s $3,499 Vision Pro headset goes on sale — book your in-store demo now! [Updated]

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Apple Vision Pro: Side View
Vision Pro is now available in the US.
Screenshot: Apple

A couple of weeks after Vision Pro’s preorders went live, the headset is now available for sale through Apple’s retail stores in the US.

If you could not get your preorder, grab the $3,499 mixed-reality headset from your nearest Apple store today. And if you preordered on time, your unit should arrive later today.

Also, if you didn’t feel comfortable laying down that kind of cash for a face-hugging computer without trying it first, you can book an online demo at an Apple Store — but it’s likely to be difficult to book a session. Apple’s booking system appears to be overwhelmed, and big crowds are mobbing Apple’s stores.

AI Resume Builder will help you land the job interviews you crave

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Want a new career in 2024? This AI resume builder can boost your employment outlook for only $33.
Take advantage of end-of-year pricing on this AI-powered resume builder and set your sights on a new career in 2024.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Got big plans for a job search in 2024? Ensure you become a top candidate with exclusive pricing on an AI-powered resume tool primed to help anyone take their next professional step forward.

Avoid the stress and frustration of fruitless job hunts with a lifetime subscription to the AI Resume Builder, available for just $29.97 (regularly $468) through February 4. Then get ready to impress future employers more easily.

iPhone up, China down: 7 nuggets from Apple’s earnings call

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Photo of an glass Apple Store with the words
Apple eked out a win thanks to strong iPhone sales last quarter. But not everything was rosy.
Photo: Karl Baron/Flickr CC/Modified by Cult of Mac

Apple’s holiday quarter financial results offer good news for investors. iPhone is doing great! And CEO Tim Cook talked about AI. But there’s rotten news coming out of China.

We pored over the results, and listened to the call Apple executives held Thursday with Wall Street analysts, so you don’t have to. Here’s the information you ought to know.

Strong iPhone sales power Apple back to revenue growth

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An image of the Wall Street bull with the words
Finally! Strong holiday sales propel Apple back to growth.
Photo: Redd F/Unsplash License/Cult of Mac

Apple returned to revenue growth during its most recent critical holiday quarter. The total it took in during the December period went up 2% — that’s after the company experienced declining revenue in each of the four previous quarters.

“Today Apple is reporting revenue growth for the December quarter fueled by iPhone sales, and an all-time revenue record in Services,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a press release Thursday announcing Apple’s fiscal first-quarter results.

Win a rugged and waterproof Apple Watch sport band [Cult of Mac giveaway]

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Lululook Waterproof FKM Sport Band
You don't have to ride a bike to look cool wearing this gorgeous Apple Watch band.
Photo: Lululook

If you wear an Apple Watch or you’re thinking about getting one, you should enter our latest giveaway. That way you might win a super-cool and rugged new Lululook Waterproof FKM Sport Band. We’re giving away one orange band and one blue one, and anyone in the world can enter to win through February 10.

The band is designed for the handsome and tough Apple Watch Ultra 2/1, but it fits Series 9 and SE, as well (42mm/44mm/45mm/49mm).

Apple Vision Pro’s biggest problem: It’s highly addictive!

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Screenshot of Apple's 'guided tour' of Vision Pro.
The biggest problem with Vision Pro? It makes the real world boring.
Photo: Apple

Apple has a huge problem with the Vision Pro that no one has talked about: It’s highly addictive!

The astonishing visuals that Apple’s new headset pumps directly into your eyeballs make the real world seem dull, according to Nick Bilton, a Vanity Fair reporter who got behind-the-scenes access for a cover story published Thursday.

In fact, Bilton says Vision Pro is “like a drug” that offers a “dopamine hit.” And an unnamed source in Bilton’s story likens the Vision Pro to “tech fentanyl.”