Every time Apple releases something new, I get the urge to throw money at them. You know that feeling? So, since Apple just launched the Vision Pro “spatial computer”, here are 5 reasons you should NOT buy it. Hopefully this saves both you and me a bunch of money.
Speaking of money, reason number 1 not to buy the Apple Vision Pro is the price. At $3500, it is extremely expensive, especially when you consider that there are high quality VR headsets like the Meta Quest 3 available for $500, which is just 15% of the Vision Pro’s cost! That means you can get seven Quest 3s for the cost of a single Vision Pro.
What’s more, the $3500 starting price only gets you 256GB of storage, and Apple has the audacity to charge $200 for a 256GB storage upgrade to 512GB, and another $200 to upgrade to 1TB. Honestly, they should have just included 1 TB as the only and default storage option at the $3500 price point.
And if you don’t have perfect vision, which is probably most of us, you’ll need to get the Ziess optical insert to the use the Vision Pro since it doesn’t support wearing glasses, which is another $150.
And you better pony up an additional $500 for AppleCare+, which by the way is the total cost of a Meta Quest 3, because if you happen to crack the cover glass on your Vision Pro, you’ll only need to fork out $300 (on top of the $500 you already paid) to get it fixed. If you don’t have AppleCare, be ready to pay $800 to fix the glass, or a whopping $2400 if something else is broken. That’s almost 70% of the cost of a brand new one!
And don’t forget the sales tax for another 10% on top in many places, which is another $350-$400 on your initial purchase, bringing the price point well above $4000 for the pleasure of being an early adopter of the Vision Pro.
And reason number 2 is exactly that the experience of using the Apple Vision Pro is indeed one of an early adopter, as the device is currently lacking in app support. Apple’s list of included apps at launch shows that 15 of the pre-installed apps (around 60%) are optimized for Vision Pro, while the other 10 are not. Given this is the state of Apple’s own apps, its likely that 3rd party app support for Vision Pro is going to be much worse for the foreseeable future, given that the device was just introduced and priced to exclude the mainstream market.
And even worse is that popular apps including YouTube, Netflix, and Spotify have already announced they actually won’t be supporting the Vision Pro at all, which seriously hampers it’s ability to be an amazing home theater and media experience. You’d be well-advised to wait and see if this is trend that continues to spread before investing in this ecosystem.
But even if you could do all you wanted on the Apple Vision Pro, reason number 3 to avoid it is that you won’t be able to do it for long. The battery for the Vision Pro is actually a separate dongle that hangs out of the headset, so good luck if you don’t have a pocket to put it in. But the worst part is that the battery life is only rated for 2 hours of general use, or 2.5 hours of video watching. And since that is Apple’s claim, real world battery life is probably even worse.
But that means you can barely even watch a single movie on it before the device is dead, let alone use it for productivity and around the office like Apple seems to be proposing. Unless… maybe Apple is secretly advocating for shortening the work day from 8, 9 or more hours down to just 2 hours, in which case… I really hope the Vision Pro succeeds in Enterprises… “Sorry boss, it’s 10am and I’m out of power, see you tomorrow!” One can only dream…
Ok, to be fair, the Meta Quest 3’s battery life is also said to be around 2 hours, but there the battery is built into the headset, so if you’re going to be forced to carry around a brick, why didn’t they make it have a longer run time?
And you CAN charge the battery while using the device, but that means being tethered to an outlet. And I suppose you could get multiple battery packs and switch them out, though that would interrupt whatever you’re doing, force you to carry around multiple batteries, and cost you $200 per extra battery.
So while Apple’s laptops can now boast all day battery life, it’s spatial computer still has a long way to go.
And as a computer, the 4th reason to avoid the Vision Pro is its specs. In particular, it’s outdated even before its release. First of all, it’s powered by the M2 chip, which is no longer the latest CPU after the M3 was introduced 3 months before the Vision Pro launched. The refresh rate only goes up to 100Hz, while the Quest 3 can do 120Hz, again at a fraction of the price. Granted, the Vision Pro does have great specs in some areas, but one would expect it to use the latest chips and be the industry leader in every dimension if it’s going to have the industry leading price as well.
The biggest problem is that Apple has shown that it’s not afraid to disrupt the value of its computers shortly after release. The M2 Max Mac Studio was released in June 2023, and just 4 months later, was basically made obsolete in terms in terms of chip performance by the M3 Max launch. Of course, Apple’s not going to refresh the Mac Studio with the M3 series chip until later, but by the time they do, the M4 chip will be right around the corner, so the Mac Studio will always be nearly one chip generation behind.
This seems to be the case with the Vision Pro as well. Releasing on the M2 chip this late into it’s lifecycle either means they are always going to be relatively underpowered within Apple’s computing lineup, or they’ll have to release a refresh soon after to bring it up to date. Either way, it’s not a good feeling that the $4000 you just spent is getting you yesterday’s tech.
Availability … Or Just Pretend
And the last reason you shouldn’t buy the Apple Vision Pro is that… you actually can’t buy it. All models of the Vision Pro have already sold out, with shipping times going into March or beyond. So if you were unlucky enough to be one of the 80,000 who managed to get their order in early… I’m sorry… but this is a blessing in disguise for the rest of us. After all, we still have time to regret placing an order and click undo before 4000 big ones leave the bank.
But in all seriousness, the Apple Vision Pro is in the first generation of a completely new type of product for Apple, and that usually means it’s a good idea to wait before buying, if not for a second generation, then at least for initial launch issues to be addressed. So here’s to hoping that you’ll have spent that $4000 on something else in the coming months and you won’t be able to afford the Vision Pro anymore once it comes back in stock.