Now that the Apple Vision Pro has been officially revealed, more people are getting to try it – and that means more people are discovering the reality of Apple’s AR/VR headset, both good and bad. And you can put this one in the “bad” column: multiple users are saying that the headset is too heavy and becomes distinctly uncomfortable over longer sessions.
Apple’s reported solution is typically Apple: find a fix and then charge extra for it.
It’s a bit reminiscent of Antennagate, where iPhone 4 owners encountering signal issues were told “you’re holding it wrong” and urged to buy a case – a case that Apple, of course, was happy to sell you with its usual high profit margin. This time around the fix is an extra strap that helps shift the weight a bit, and that won’t be in the box alongside Apple's $3.5K computer hat.
What’s the weight issue with the Vision Pro?
It’s something every AR/VR headset user has experienced: unless you’re willing to wear something that looks and feels like an enormous motorcycle helmet, AR/VR headsets are front-heavy because all the tech is in front of and around your eyes. So this problem isn’t unique to Apple. You’ll also experience it in PSVR 2, with the Vive Pro 2 and other headsets. You don’t even need a headset to experience it: if you’re a glasses wearer you’ll know that some specs get heavy after a while too.
According to Mark Gurman at Bloomberg, Apple has created a second, overhead strap that helps with the comfort – but it “is considering selling that strap as an extra accessory”.
Users are also reporting that old VR favourite, motion sickness – but this time the news is good, because while a certain amount of motion sickness is inevitable when your brain thinks it’s moving and your body knows it isn’t, users say the effect isn’t as pronounced as it is with other headsets.
Gurman has lots of information about the new headset and how Apple will sell it. Expect Apple Watch-style Apple Store appointments, and Apple Store staff using an iPhone app to scan your face. That’s to identify which size of light seal you’ll need; that’s the bit of the headset that stops light from outside spoiling the view.
We’re expecting the Vision Pro to launch in early 2024, although as Gurman points out that could mean any time up until May. However, he says Apple will probably go earlier rather than later: with M3 Macs on the horizon for early 2024 release, “it may appear odd to consumers that the $3,500 Vision Pro is inferior to those in cheaper 2024 Macs.”