Vision Pro

Vision Pro on display at an Apple retail store.
Vision Pro on display at an Apple retail store.

Apple Vision Pro: A glimpse into the future of mixed reality

Apple Vision Pro is Apple’s first “spatial computer.” Revealed at WWDC23 and released on Feb. 2, 2024, the $3,499 mixed-reality headset wins accolades for its high-end hardware and remarkable user interface. A passthrough video system allows augmented reality applications.

Vision Pro runs on visionOS, Apple’s intuitive new operating system designed to enable immersive virtual reality experiences. (Apple calls Vision Pro the “ultimate entertainment device.”) Users control the headset with their eyes, thanks to Vision Pro’s impressive eye‑tracking system, and a handful of simple gestures.

Read Cult of Mac’s full coverage of Vision Pro, including news, how-tos, reviews and opinions.

Introduction

Apple unveiled its groundbreaking Apple Vision Pro at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June 2023, and released it to the public eight months later in February 2024.

The Apple Vision Pro stands is a “mixed reality” headset, capable of showing both virtual and augmented reality content. Unlike typical augmented reality glasses, Vision Pro fully covers the user’s eyes, completely immersing its wearer by blocking out their surroundings entirely.

However, Vision Pro has six external cameras that show the surrounding space, offering users an accurate depiction of their real-world environment. While not transparent like see-through glasses, Vision Pro effectively presents a lifelike representation of the user’s surroundings using passthrough video.

Inside the headset, users can interact with 3D windows, objects, and content seamlessly integrated into their physical space. Alternatively, the cameras can be deactivated by turning the device’s Digital Crown, immersing users into a fully virtual environment. Apple emphasizes the headset’s versatility, enabling users to work, consume content, engage in gaming, communication, and more, regardless of their location, solely with the Vision Pro.

What Is Apple Vision Pro?

Designed to resemble ski goggles, Apple Vision Pro is a high-end headset that blends the digital and physical worlds. Here are some key features:

  1. 4K Micro-OLED Displays: Vision Pro is powered by a pair of custom 4K micro-OLED displays — with more than 11 million pixels each — that deliver extremely sharp visuals directly into the wearer’s eyes. Users can browse the web, work in apps, use Mac Virtual Desktop, watch gian TV and movies or chat in Messages—while staying aware of their surroundings.
  2. 3D Camera: Vision Pro’s external 3D cameras can capture Spatial photos and videos. When replayed in the headset, these 3D photos and videos have a depth that makes the viewer feel ‘almost there.’ It also supports Spatial Audio, which adds to the illusion of immersion. Spatial videos can also be captured with iPhone 15 Pro to view on Apple Vision Pro.
  3. Spatial Audio: Vision Pro support Spatial Audio: sound that appears to be anchored in a particular location in space. Vision Pro’s high-quality speakers are located on the headset’s arms. The speakers can also combine sounds broadcast by the headset with sound from the environment.
  4. Collaboration and Connection: Apple redesigned the FaceTime video-calling app to work in 3D. During FaceTime calls, speakers appear life-size, while the wearer’s face is depicted via a digital representation called a Persona. On FaceTime calls, users can simultaneously work on shared documents or apps. On conference calls, Spatial Audio helps make it clear which person is speaking.
  5. Design: Apple Vision Pro is distinguished by its high-end materials  and clever, thoughtful design.
  6. EyeSight: The front of Vision Pro features an EyeSight screen, made from a single piece of three-dimensionally formed laminated glass, which depicts the wearer’s eyes and facial expressions. This is designed to lessen isolation with people around the wearer; although it’s come in for some early criticism.
  7. Light Seal: The light seal is a soft, cushiony seal to keep out light. It attaches magnetically to the glass-and-aluminum-alloy frame, and comes in a variety of sizes according to the wearer’s face.
  8. Headband Straps: The main headband is made from a soft, 3D knitted fabric, designed it to be stretchy and breathable. It is adjusted by a Fit Dial on the left-hand audio arm that ensures the headset fits closely against the wearer’s head. Apple also includes a dual-band strap that fits over the top of the wearer’s head to alleviate the headset’s weight; and across the back of the head to ensure a tight fit. Apple offers headbands and light seals in a variety of sizes, and the are easily swapped out.

How Does It Work?

Apple Vision Pro runs visionOS, a spatial operating system built upon macOS, iOS, and iPadOS. Interactions feel intuitive and magical:

  • Eye Control: Look at an element to select it.
  • Gesture Interaction: Tap your fingers together to interact.
  • Voice Commands: Use dictation to type effortlessly.

Applications

1. Entertainment

Apple Vision Pro won early praise as a private cinema. Movies and TV shows appear in the headset to be projected onto a giant, 100-foot or larger screen. And with great speakers that support Spatial Audio, the experience is like being inside a private IMAX theater.

2. Photos and Videos

Spatial Photos and videos also received high praise. Thanks to the 3D effect, spatial videos and photos enhance the illusion of reliving the moment captured in them. Vision Pro is compatible with iPhone Panoramas, which wrap around the viewer in 180 degrees.

3. Collaboration

Using FaceTime, participants can collaborate on documents or other work files, bridign the gap between physical and virtual spaces.

Availability and Pricing

Apple Vision Pro starts at $3,499. It’s available for purchase in the United States, with a worldwide launch on the horizon.

Vision Pro How Tos

Notable Vision Pro Apps

Don’t expect Vison Pro 2 or Vision Air before 2027

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Vision Pro 2 in 2027?
There may be no follow-up to Vision Pro for years.
Graphic: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Vision Pro may be Apple’s only AR headset until 2027. The company has yet to start work on Vision Pro 2 or Vision Air, according to a trusted analyst.

That said, Apple is allegedly working on ways to produce the current Vision Pro more cheaply, which could lead to a price cut next year.

Vision Pro returns aren’t as bad as we feared

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Apple Vision Pro: Side View
It seems way, way fewer people return Vision Pro than you might think.
Screenshot: Apple

Very few Vision Pro units are being returned to Apple, according to TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. He pegs the Vision Pro return rate at less than 1%, which flies in the face of previous reports that many of the headsets bought by early adopters would wind up in the refurbished bins.

The reason Kuo states for a large percentage of those Vision Pro returns is even more surprising!

Hot rental market for unreleased Vision Pro springs up in China

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Vision Pro on table
Huge numbers of Chinese appear eager to try out Vision Pro -- not yet released there -- and they'll pay to do it.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Apple hasn’t released Vision Pro in China yet, but that hasn’t stopped scads of merchants from offering the headset for rent to enthusiasts. Many of them appear to think the AR headset may go beyond typical gaming uses, a new report says. Vision Pro rentals in China have attracted tens of thousands of customers.

Some eager testers think Apple’s pricey Vision Pro bests competitors like Meta’s Quest 3, as well.

Wild iPhone and iPad rumors, plus some Vision Pro sob stories [The CultCast]

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Mockup of purple iPhone 16 Pro with a rumored camera module.
Will Apple really give the iPhone 16 Pro camera module a radical redesign like this?
Image: Majin Bu

This week on Cult of Mac’s podcast: The latest iPhone 16 Pro rumor comes with a mockup that looks like a fidget spinner. Will Apple really do that? On the other hand, the latest iPad rumors sound totally believable.

Also on The CultCast:

  • There’s an iOS trojan in the wild that steals your face to drain your bank accounts.
  • Apple is hard at work future-proofing iMessage to keep it safe from quantum computer attacks.
  • We discuss the new Apple Sports app, including one of its weirdest features: betting odds. (Supporting gambling seems like a strange move for the normally vice-averse Apple.)
  • Erfon recounts his Vision Pro return experience, with some interesting behind-the-scenes intel.
  • Also on the Vision Pro return front, Griffin tells us his sob story about parting ways with the expensive headset. (Don’t miss the surprise twist ending!)
  • And finally, Griffin raves about a new wireless microphone in an Under Review segment.

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.

Connect a Bluetooth keyboard, trackpad or controller to Vision Pro

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Vision Pro sitting on a pine table next to a Bluetooth keyboard
A Bluetooth keyboard can turn your Vision Pro into a real productivity machine.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

If you want to get work done on your Vision Pro, you’ll really want a Bluetooth keyboard and trackpad for precision input and pointing. And for gaming, you can connect a controller, too. The Vision Pro officially supports Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo Switch controllers, with support for some other Bluetooth models as well.

Follow these instructions to pair a Bluetooth device with Vision Pro.

Here are all the best apps and games for Vision Pro

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Vision Pro Home View Apps
We’ve found all the neatest apps for Apple’s latest device.
Image: Apple

The best Vision Pro apps, games, demos and experiences showcase the AR capabilities of Apple’s headset.

If you own a Vision Pro and don’t know where to start, I put together a list of apps and games to try out first. Alternatively, if you can’t afford a headset (or if you live outside the United States), you can live vicariously through me as I show you all of the most interesting Vision Pro apps I’ve found.

I highly recommend you check out the companion video to this article to see these apps in action. Alternatively, you can continue reading below.

Vision Pro gives a first look at computers of 2034

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Apple Vision Pro Enterprise apps
Stop thinking of Vision Pro as a clunky thing you strap to your face. Instead, consider visionOS as a window into the future of computers.
Screenshot: Apple

Vision Pro is years ahead of its time. Apple’s AR headset lets us see today what using an average computer a decade in the future will be like.

In 2034, being surrounded by physical screens will seem charmingly obsolete. Virtual displays of any size generated by an AR headset from Apple (or its rivals) will take the place of displays connected to our computers, phones, watches, etc. And that’s only the start.

You can experience the coming revolution now because Vision Pro is another example of Apple giving us a glimpse of the future.

Bullet-dodging game Void-X is a total blast on Vision Pro [Awesome Apps]

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Playing Void-X on an iPhone
Void-X plays like a classic from the ’80s. It's great on iPhone, but even better on Vision Pro.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Awesome AppsI’ve had a lot of fun playing Void-X, a modern arcade shooter game. If you’ve ever emptied a whole pocketful of quarters into Galaga or Zaxxon, then you’ll love playing it, too. And you’ll like it even more if you play Void-X on Vision Pro. (You can play the tame on iPhone and iPad, too.)

Why I don’t want to return my Vision Pro

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Selfie taken wearing a Vision Pro
In case you couldn’t tell, I’m actually wearing the Vision Pro in this picture! You probably didn’t notice because you can see my eyes so clearly.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

The two-week return window for my Vision Pro is fast approaching, so I need to make my keep it/toss it decision in a matter of days. And I desperately want to keep it.

Many publications (including Cult of Mac) are reporting on the mass of people selling their Vision Pros after the two-week return window. A lot of it, I think, is for the drama — Apple is taking a big swing on a brand-new product, people aren’t keeping it, instant controversy. (I bet a lot of these people bought their headsets to produce content on the buzzy device and never planned on keeping it, no matter how good it was.)

Well, here’s the other side of the coin. My Vision Pro has fit into my life perfectly. I use it for hours every day. But justifying the purpose is a financial stretch.

Vision Pro poll: More than half of Cult of Mac readers will return ‘magical’ headset

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An Apple Vision Pro headset promotional image with the word
A shockingly high number of Cult of Mac readers say they won't be keeping their Vision Pro headsets.
Photo: Apple/Modified by Cult of Mac

You’d think readers of a website called Cult of Mac would be into Apple products. But a straw poll of Cult of Mac Today readers found a whopping 76% of respondents plan to return their Vision Pro to Apple.

The eye-popping number comes as droves of Vision Pro early adopters say they plan to take advantage of Apple’s generous return policy. Discomfort, the headset’s high price and the lack of a clear use case for the isolating device top the list of reasons cited by disaffected Vision Pro owners.

Customize Control Center on Vision Pro to be more useful and less irritating

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Vision Pro Control Center settings floating in a forest
Adjust Control Center settings from the comfort of a peaceful forest environment.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Control Center in Vision Pro works very differently than on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac. But as with Apple’s other platforms, you can customize the Vision Pro Control Center to make it far more useful.

The first few days after I got my Vision Pro, I found Control Center to be intensely irritating. It constantly appeared in my field of view, bugging me like a hair in my mouth or a piece of popcorn in my teeth.

Luckily, with just a few changes, you can make Control Center way less annoying.

Kiss productivity goodbye: TikTok just launched a Vision Pro app

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TikTok Vision Pro app
You haven't really seen TikTok videos until you've been immersed in them with Vision Pro.
Screenshot: TikTok/ByteDance

TikTok just outraced some of its biggest rivals by releasing a native Vision Pro application. The short video service that’s become a global phenomenon can now be enjoyed on Apple’s AR headset thanks to the TikTok Vision Pro app.

The head of development for the new app says the company “redesigned the entire TikTok experience.”

3 wild new spatial games coming soon to Vision Pro

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new Vision Pro games
Are you ready to blow your mind with new spatial games for the Vision Pro headset?
Photo: Apple

Three games designed for visionOS spatial experiences through the new Vision Pro headset will soon join a dozen existing such titles, plus another 250 compatible games already in Apple Arcade, Apple said Thursday.

The company highlighted all the fun Vision Pro users can have, including descriptions of the upcoming versions of Alto’s Odyssey, Gibbon and Spire Blast for Vision Pro.

How to charge the battery on your Vision Pro

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Vision Pro battery plugged in, sitting on a pine desk
It’s not a small battery.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

If you get a Vision Pro, you’ll soon need to learn how to charge up that battery. Apple only promises two hours of battery life on its revolutionary headset. Although real-world usage is pushing closer to three, if you want your spatial computing to be untethered, you’ll need to charge the Vision Pro battery often.

Here’s how to do it — along with some tips that will keep you (and your data) safe.

Typing on Vision Pro: A scientific test with surprising results

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Hand touching a floating keyboard typing on Vision Pro
Using Vision Pro's virtual keyboard, you just reach out and touch parts of the screen when you need to.
Photo: Apple

The Vision Pro’s virtual, floating-in-the-air keyboard has been nearly universally condemned. There’s no way around it: Typing on Vision Pro sucks.

But people said the same thing about the original iPhone, which ditched a physical keyboard compared to the BlackBerry. And these days, physical keyboards for your iPhone are more of a novelty than a standard accessory that everybody buys.

So to get to the bottom of exactly how bad the Vision Pro keyboard is, I took a bunch of different typing tests across a bunch of different keyboards. And the results I found were incredibly surprising. I accidentally discovered the best way to input text in Vision Pro.

Check out our latest YouTube video or keep reading to see what happened.

People are returning Vision Pro in droves … or are they?

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Apple Vision Pro box in a bag
Apple Vision Pro is being returned in droves by early adopters.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Many early adopters seem set on returning their Apple Vision Pro headsets. As the 14-day return window approaches for people who bought the device on launch day, an avalanche of posts on X and other social media channels point to a wave of Vision Pro returns.

Apparently, it’s not just Mark Zuckerberg who thinks Apple’s expensive headset isn’t worth the money. There appears to be a mass exodus of early adopters who ponied up the cash for Apple’s pricey headset. They cite three main reasons for returning Vision Pro. But is the situation really as bad as it seems?

How to let other people see what you see in Vision Pro

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Apple TV showing a screen mirrored Vision Pro with the Explore Mars app
Let other people see what you’re seeing. (Featuring the Explore Mars app.)
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

It’s possible to share your screen in your Vision Pro so that other people can see what you’re seeing, too. This is especially helpful in Vision Pro Guest Mode, to help you guide newbies through the unfamiliar headset.

Vision Pro is an exciting new product, but it can be isolating. The incredible experiences it enables aren’t social. However, you can AirPlay your screen to a nearby Apple TV, iPad, Mac or iPhone.

Here’s how.

How to fix eye and hand tracking on Vision Pro

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Man sitting on a couch with a Vision Pro making a pinch gesture with his fingers
You won’t be smiling when your Vision Pro refuses to follow your eyes correctly.
Photo: Apple

You can easily fix Apple Vision Pro eye tracking and hand tracking if your headset starts to act up. You’ll want to follow the steps below if the device stops accurately tracking your gaze or your hand gestures.

As you probably know, hand tracking and eye tracking are essential to using Vision Pro. When they don’t work as well as possible, it’s incredibly frustrating. I know, because sometimes the headset’s sensors have a hard time tracking my eyes up and down. It’s like using an iPad stylus on a touchscreen that’s slightly uncalibrated.

The quick methods below can fix some Vision Pro eye- and hand-tracking problems for you.  You can approach trigger a reset three different ways — by pressing a button on the headset, going into Settings or asking Siri for help — all with the same ultimate result. (In my experience, this is one situation in which Siri excels.)

Mark Zuckerberg says Quest 3 is better than Vision Pro

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Vision Pro sitting on a desk
Zuckerberg has thoughts on the Vision Pro.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said his company’s mixed-reality headset beats Vision Pro in almost every way, despite the fact that it costs far less than Apple’s device. In a short video posted Tuesday on Instagram, Zuckerberg called the Meta Quest headset the “better product, period.”

While he praised the Vision Pro’s high-resolution displays, he said he thinks Apple made a lot of compromises on its $3,499 headset.

How to update Vision Pro software (and try visionOS betas if you dare)

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Vision Pro software update screen in a mountaintop environment
With Vision Pro, you can install software updates from a blissful mountaintop.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Whether to add new features or squash bugs, Apple releases Vision Pro updates from time to time. (The latest one, visionOS 1.0.3, arrived Monday. It eliminates a major headache that plagued Vision Pro owners who forgot their devices’ passcodes.) Luckily, downloading and installing visionOS updates is easy once you know how.

In fact, installing Vision Pro software updates proves very similar to the process for updating an iPhone, iPad or Mac. We’ll show you how it’s done — and also how to get visionOS beta updates. If you want to take a chance on betas, you can test upcoming Vision Pro features before they officially arrive.

What it’s really like to cook with Apple Vision Pro

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Screenshot of a recipe for pizzelles floating in a kitchen
Just look over to the right to see the recipe.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

If you’re addicted to your Vision Pro, with your apps floating around you all the time, you’ll have to cook yourself dinner at some point. After all, you may not be able to afford to eat out after buying one. Cooking with Vision Pro offers some fun surprises, but it’s not all gravy.

There are obvious upsides. Placing timers around your kitchen and having easy access to a recipe floating nearby seem incredibly convenient rather than fiddling with your iPhone. This is what I was most excited to try out.

But the downsides snuck up on me. I had a hard time reading my measuring spoons, nor could I tell apart my sugar from my flour. But worst of all, trying to lick the cookie dough off a large whisk without smearing the Vision Pro proved impossible.

Check out our YouTube video or keep reading below.

visionOS update eliminates a major headache

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Clicking top button on Vision Pro
visionOS 1.0.3 is ready to squash Vision Pro bugs.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Apple released visionOS 1.0.3 to users of the Vision Pro on Monday. It’s the first to go out since the launch, and is primarily a bug-fix patch.

That said, the new version deals with a problem that previously sent some users to an Apple retail store looking for technical assistance.

Apple Vision Pro’s ‘ideal form’ might be four generations away

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Vision Pro's new UI is simple and easy to learn.
Apple's headset is still a work in progress.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

Apple insiders think the Vision Pro is at least four generations away from reaching its “ideal form.” Apple still needs to do a lot of work behind the scenes before the headset can potentially become as popular as an iPhone or Mac.

While the first-gen headset has issues, it is an impressive first try from Apple.

Vision Pro wall-to-wall: Pros, cons, grins and gripes! [The CultCast]

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CultCast host Erfon Elijah wearing an Apple Vision Pro headset behind a microphone, recording the podcast. The CultCast episode 633.
Erfon has some thoughts about the Vision Pro.
Photo: Cult of Mac

This week on Cult of Mac’s podcast: After spending a few days with Apple’s headset, Erfon and Griffin are ready to unleash their initial Vision Pro reviews. They’ve got some gushing praise, some mild concerns and some unmitigated gripes.

Also on The CultCast:

  • A sad Vision Pro “demo” shows why you should never try the headset with your glasses on. Book a real Apple demo instead!
  • The technology in Apple’s headset is astonishing. So are the immersive experiences. But is all that enough to justify the price?
  • Griffin talks about doing actual work while wearing Vision Pro.
  • Erfon reveals his grand plan for a new podcast called CultCast Off Topic.

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.

What’s it like working out wearing a Vision Pro?

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Me wearing workout clothes on a treadmill. Oh, and a Vision Pro on my face.
Is this the future of working out? Probably not.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

People have been spotted wearing Apple’s Vision Pro headset at gyms. I was curious whether they had unlocked a secret killer feature or whether they were bearing through aches and pains just to show off. What’s it really like working out wearing a Vision Pro?

To find out, I hopped on a treadmill, lifted some weights and did some crunches while wearing the headset to discover the pros and cons of wearing a Vision Pro while working out. Check out our latest YouTube video to see what it’s like first-person.

The overall experience proved unsurprisingly mixed — with one very surprising drawback.