My pal Jacob and I trekked over to the Apple Store in New Orleans this morning to be customers #1 and #2 on Apple Vision Pro launch day. We both went for the half hour Vision Pro demo sessions that stores are now offering. The verdict? If you’re at all interested in experiencing Apple Vision Pro, you just have to find the nearest Apple Store and take advantage of the opportunity.

It was nice to finally experience some of the things Chance Miller hasn’t stopped talking about since June. But my experience isn’t really complete yet. My memory of using Apple Vision Pro so far is distant and blurry. That’s because there weren’t optical inserts for my particular corrective lens prescription. Still, I had to try Apple Vision Pro, and it was an interesting 30 minutes.

Apple does have a device that analyzes your glasses and suggests which ZEISS optical inserts to provide with your Vision Pro demonstration. ZEISS will also create optical inserts that you can purchase with or without Apple Vision Pro for $150. I don’t think most people will need to actually buy the optical inserts just to try Vision Pro. If you’re curious, this is my specific prescription:

  • OD (Right Eye)
    • Sphere: +3.00 (indicates farsightedness, or hyperopia)
    • Cylinder: -0.575 (indicates a mild degree of astigmatism)
    • Axis: 024 degrees (orientation of the astigmatism correction)
  • OS (Left Eye)
    • Sphere: +0.50 (indicates slight farsightedness)
    • Cylinder: -1.00 (indicates a moderate degree of astigmatism)
    • Axis: 180 degrees (orientation of the astigmatism correction)

In short, my eyes have irregularities in shape, affecting how light is focused. Without optical inserts, that was a bit of a showstopper.

However, Apple employee Greg who lead my demo was fantastic. When we transitioned from just talking to the start of the demo, he shifted into presentation mode with professional delivery that shows how serious the staff is taking this launch. I did have a moment of thinking I already know everything and that it would feel like someone explaining to me how to use my iPhone. It turns out Vision Pro gestures aren’t second nature to me yet, though, and the value of the instructions was immediately apparent.

We made it through a tour of the hardware, moving and expanding windows, and into the Photos app. Scrolling through photos and videos simply delightful. Then I needed to select a button to be immersed into a panoramic photo. That’s when my vision, err, eye sight, err, lack of corrective lenses became a dealbreaker. It felt like taking an eye exam when you press the button when the lights blip and there are no lights blipping.

I winked a lot and tried to drive with one eye without luck. We tried to turn on the accessibility option to drive with just the right or left eye, but I couldn’t focus my eyes on the right buttons to make it that far. So without corrective lenses, I just can’t use Apple Vision Pro. I also can’t drive or use my MacBook or cook breakfast without my glasses. Fair enough.

Then Greg tried something else. I took off the unit and waited a few seconds, then put it back on. This time I was in a game-like mode where I was tapping when my eyes were focused on colored circles. Three rounds of this and I was in! I was suddenly able to drive the demo experience with precision. Somewhat blurry and distant precision, but it was doable whereas before I was basically trying to control a Mac with no input device.

From here on out the demo experience was a total joy. I smiled when I saw rhinos, I readjusted my viewing center and saw people actually around me, and I found the sound output to actually be better than headphones. AirPods Max are my go-to headphones, but hearing sound coming from in front of me instead of either side without anything touching my ears was fantastic. Also great for music.

I did feel the effects of straining my right eye without corrective lenses for too long, but it was worth it. It felt really good being back in control of visionOS once I was able to calibrate it for my viewing. Even with more time spent with my pal’s Vision Pro, I do feel like I’ve only partially experienced Vision Pro. The headset itself isn’t in my budget right for now. I’m interested enough, though, that I’ll order ZEISS optical inserts just to have a proper Apple Vision Pro experience.

Also, the $200 travel case is stellar. Seriously, like NASA-grade, space age design. I tried fitting my friend’s case in my backpack to determine if I could travel with Vision Pro on my motorcycle. My MacBook Air is slim enough not to be an issue. Fortunately, the travel case fits too. I totally want to bring my work into Vision Pro in the future! Seriously, give the demo opportunity a try if you can!

Thanks Jeff Richardson of iPhone J.D. fame for snapping me in Vision Pro!

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