Category Archives: Design & Aesthetics

Second Impressions

After nearly a week using the Apple Vision Pro I think it’s an awesome experience, with a few glitches.

My at-home scan suggested a 23w light seal. I was rescanned in-store when I picked up the unit with the same result. But for me, the 23w was letting in light near my temple (the AVP’s speakers) that looked like little flashlights in the corners of my eyes and like a yellow dot in the middle of my field of vision. After several days, I was able to identify and influence the issue: the light seal flares out at the edges and my head… doesn’t.

I took the unit and seals into my local Apple store to try a few replacement options (you can swap light seals within 14 days free of charge). I ended up leaving with a 21n light shield and it’s the difference between… well… day and night. No more temple light entry.

Independently, there’s a fair bit of light bleed around the nose, which is expected and documented on Apple’s support fora. Much like the frames of a new pair of eye glasses, I’ve found I notice it less each day.

Unresolved is lens reflection of bright FOV content that would make JJ Abrams proud. I’m still working on limiting that. One factor appears to be how your AVP is seated on your face: with some placements, what otherwise appears as a flare focuses on your pupil. But I still find myself distracted by bright content near the edges of my FOV, such as the daytime terrain in the Moon environment. The effect is an unsettling, foggy blurring that makes me think my eyes are misty.

First impressions of the Apple Vision Pro

The AVP was released for sale yesterday, Friday, 2 February 2024. I picked up my pre-ordered unit the next day with my prescription Zeiss inserts in hand.

My friend was able to get a walk-in demo of the AVP while I was working my way through the pick-up and setup processes. His hands flailing in the air, the enjoyment was virtually palpable.

Great Experience Working with the Staff

There were a number of points where I was frustrated during my in-store experience, however. Some of it is first weekend lack of experience with the Apple internal process on the part of the staff, despite being good mannered the entire time. There were questions about whether the unit could be returned without the packaging (no), whether I was expecting a fit check for the face mask as advertised on the Apple Store site (yes), and whether I wanted hand-holding during the setup (yes).

During check out, despite the device having been pre-paid online, the salesperson’s check out app crashed repeatedly, requiring them to re-scan my Apple-provided QR code a dozen times.

There was a fair bit of uncertainty on everyone’s part whether or how much light I should expect to see with the recommended size gear on my face. I’m not sure we ever resolved that.

Once pick-up was complete, I was taken to the setup assistance area… where there were no staff on hand. Not that they were busy setting up other customers… rather, the designated setup table was simply empty, devoid of customers or staff. The rest of the store, including the demo area, was buzzing with people.

A perfectly pleasant staff member joined me a few minutes later, after I had started the unpacking. They explained that they were excited to work with me since this was their first unboxing, too. I understand: it’s the first weekend of sales. It’s the first time for all of us. Still, it asn’t the first message I was expecting to hear.

Challenges with Setup

During the device setup, a number of experience issues arose for me. First, the Apple Store was far too loud for the built-in sound system on the headset to be intelligible. That meant I couldn’t hear what I was being prompted to do by the headset, what information was being demanded of me, or which way I was expected to look. I proceeded on faith and a good guess about what images I was seeing.

The unit asked me to bring an iPhone or iPad that was logged into my account near the AVP. I did. It authenticated and picked up my iCloud credentials. Having already associated with the in-store WiFi, the AVP then started a series of setup steps related to my Apple Pay account, email, calendar, and so on.

It then required that I agree to the terms and conditions and offered to email me a copy. I said yes. It then demanded my email address be entered… again, after having just seconds before associated with my iCloud account.

For each app tied to an account, I was required to re-enter my email address and service password. None of those account details were conveyed through the iCloud restore.

Hint: install your preferred password manager, if it’s available on the AVP, as early as you can in the process.

Normally that wouldn’t be a problem, but to enter my very long, randomly generated passwords, I needed to consult my iPhone. Which wanted to unlock via Face ID. But I had the AVP on. So I needed to repeatedly enter my device password on my iPhone. Then, I needed to launch my password manager, with similar issues: Face ID couldn’t work with the AVP on, so I had to enter my long master password manually.

Finally in my password manager on my iPhone, I then had to look up each service’s credential, display it as boldly as I could so that I could make it out through the AVP’s camera system, and then type them into the AVP’s virtual keyboard. I usually don’t regret having 40+ character, random passwords…. but…. patiences were tried.

I’ve spent the rest of the evening entering credentials into the AVP manually, including OTP’s where available. I’ve retyped my name and email addresses so many times in the past few hours that I practically know them by heart. (gallows humor)

I’m frustrated there’s no Contacts app on the AVP, so Messages and Facetime don’t know who I’m calling/being called by.

I’m frustrated that when I connect the AVP to my Macbook as a virtual monitor, I can’t scroll or click on anything in the virtual window… keyboard and mouse or trackpad required.

I’m frustrated that when I first connected the AVP to the laptop, my Airpod Pros didn’t auto switch, leaving me thinking that the volume was very low, when it was actually exceptionally loud coming out of my laptop speakers and what with me and my noise cancelling earpods in.

Clear Winning Aspects of the Experience

I’m impressed by the Persona the AVP generated and the nuance it picked up. Sure, it’s a bit cartoonish, but the face scan picked up muscles and facial features I wasn’t expecting and reproduced my facial movements (tongue wagging, face squinting, etc.) with remarkable precision.

I’m very impressed with the built-in open ear speakers. The sound quality is outstanding. I felt like I was flying right along with the characters of Apple TV+’s Masters of the Air.

I’m very, very impressed by the responsiveness of the user interface elements. As noted by other reviewers, the experience is similar to the feeling of direct manipulation of objects that iOS gets so very right and Android gets so very wrong. When you grasp something, it seems to move at exactly the speed and with the fluidity you would hope for. I found myself repeatedly pointing at virtual objects while I was talking with others, forgetting they couldn’t see them. Everything just feels—real!

Finally, the video quality is beyond impressive… it’s downright stunning. Either I paid 3,500$usd for a headset or perhaps I just paid that for the very-smallest very-big TV screen I’ve ever seen. Watching Disney+’s Percy Jackson, Masters of the Air, or For All Mankind was a theatrical experience of the highest quality. I can understand why James Cameron is so taken with the AVP.

Viewing panoramic photos taken by past-me was also a breath-taking experience. I was once again in those places with those people. And that’s still without the new spacial photos and videos features… I’ll have to leave that for another day.


It’s new. The UI/UX experience is new. It’s going to take some getting used to for us all. But the things I already imagine doing with this device has me excited.