5 cool features from Apple Vision Pro.

The apple vision pro is no doubt an amazing bit of kit. I was lucky enough to spend a whole day deploying and tinkering with it not long before it came out. I've left most of the predictions to the mainstream and focused on the features and thoughts I had while working with it and since.

7 minute read

The apple vision pro is no doubt an amazing bit of kit. I was lucky enough to spend a day deploying and tinkering with it not long before it came out.

Here’s 5 key things that I think it’s delivered well and a few that might get improved.

A great developer experience. Apple is renowned for its developer suite of tools. There’s no doubt that XCode has become a very slick environment for building and deploying applications and the Vision Pro fits right in like snug glove. I’d already spent time building against the simulator but the seamless integration with the headset made testing and deploying against the device a breeze. The use of SwiftUI means the interfaces fit nicely into the ecosystem and can be built by engineers with existing skills.

Eye Tracking interface

I found typing on the Vision pro to be a interesting experience. Firstly, it’s incredibly easy, look and ‘pinch’ no need to use your hands in a typing motion, the tracking is accurate enough that simply focusing on the key and touching finger and thumb together equate to a keypress. It makes typing old fashioned, I’ve spent my whole career having arms bent at the elbow, resting on a desk and it made me suddenly feel like the future had arrived. I became quite adept at use the keyboard quickly, not as fast as typing, but as expected the device does pair to the apple keyboard and for anything long form that would certainly prove more efficient! I also found that it took more concentration that I expected there were a few times that the tracking felt like it wasn’t working, I noticed that when my mind wandered it didn’t seem to work, although I was sure I was looking at the key I was thinking about something else somewhat like a daydream moment, reminding myself to concentrate resulted in success but I’m not really sure that happened. When I’m typing I can look out the window and continue to type effectively, I wondered if there was more to this that might lead to fatigue.

Pass through

The passthrough feature allows users to see the real world while wearing the device, it overlaps applications using a new ‘glass’ interface. There’s a really easy way to adjust the immersion so that users can be immersed in their virtual world or fully engaged with the real one and whilst this feature isn’t new in the field it really felt seamless. There’s a nice mix of apps that work through both and the ability to position windows in the virtual world to complement the real one felt well considered.

Interface design I chatted at length with some of the design team at Apple, its perhaps not surprising to hear about the amount of work and scientific research that has gone into the interface design informing the changes between the standard Apple design patterns and the Vision Pro. There’s the Introduction of a new smoky glass effect to allow light and movement to be subtly present, the the location of the navigation has changed to ease eye movement, the smooth placement, resizing and moving of windows made it really feel like an Apple product. They’ve even considered the effects that rapid changes in focal distance have, where the interface requires an overlay for logins for example the OS ‘pushes back’ the originating frame, surfacing the overlay in the same position to avoid the eyes needing to change focal position which can feel tiring. It’s a subtle effect that isn’t obvious until you know it’s there but is appreciated.


The hefty price tag in comparison to the alternatives might give an idea of the build quality but it really does feel like a premium product. It’s like wearing a velvet cushion, soft, not too heavy (the battery is not on the headset) with a wonderful magnetic set of clips that make it feel a premium product. The magnets hold perfectly the cushioning feels luxury and the small innovative touches like the adjustable band are simple and work well. It’s a delight to use. Overall, despite the price point I was really impressed with the hardware, the Vision Pro felt and behaved in a way that we’ve come to expect from Apple, with the same care and attention to small details that have made them the most successful technology company of a generation.

Reflections on what might evolve Its not all amazing there’s a few things that I feel might change over time.

Available apps

The range of apps I had available on the developer day were limited. I spoke to several teams that were in various stages of development; there are some incredibly talented engineers building some amazing products some of them could be game changing for the world if they ever reached critical mass but at what I saw on product launch felt a little short. Obviously this is going to change over time, but it remains to be seen if there’s enough to hold interest in the early months after people buy the device. I found lots of cool things but nothing that’s going to hold my attention past those magical first few days and weeks.

Use case

I’m not sure the Vision Pro has found its purpose yet. The Oculus is a gaming device as much as Meta would love us to think otherwise its core market is gamers, its app store is packed full of games and it’s not quite managing to move away from that yet. The Vision Pro isn’t targeting gamers in the same way and VR hits like the mighty Beat Sabre or Pistol Whip are better with wands designed to take advantage of the additional devices. Apple has always struggled in the enterprise market so it’s not likely to try to take this on which leaves casual consumers. It’s an amazing piece of tech but technology on its own rarely makes a product, the real sweet spot is the value it brings, I can’t help but think it might struggle to find its mainstream use case for a while.

Battery cable

I can’t make my mind up about this one. The battery is a separate brick that is attached via a the beautiful cable we've gotten used to from Apple. This means the headset is lighter a definite advantage but then it also means having the battery in your pocket with a cable running between the two. It’s not a huge issue, it’s still mobile, but it does on occasion catch, really not a huge problem and I think the device is better for not having the additional weight on the headset but it reminds me a bit of wired headphones and that Ipod advert and given the future styling of the rest of the device it felt a bit 90s, like the headphones never really a huge problem but enough of a fuss that most people use wireless now. In summary I think it’s an amazing device and like to steal my favourite frustrating Arthur C Clarke rule like all sufficiently advanced technology it feels like magic, coupled with the attention to detail that makes it feel so Apple it’s a delight to use. Time will tell if it makes it over the chasm, past the early adopter and visionaries to the pragmatists and conservatives in the meantime perhaps it’s a window into the future in a world where these devices feel less intrusive but can provide the same kind of beautiful interface and seamless integration into the reality.