From Montevideo to Miami to Mars: A Firsthand Dive into Apple Vision Pro's Revolutionary Realm

On the very first day that I arrived in Miami from my hometown in Uruguay and by a twist of luck, I found myself getting an Apple Vision Pro personal demo without requiring an Apple Store appointment. I was fully ready to give myself over for an immersive journey through the heart of Apple's latest innovation.

Apple stores are the pinnacle of retail experiences, and this upcoming one was no exception: an exclusive, personalized 40-minute session. It included the setup of Vision Pro, a masterclass of its visionOS interface so I could navigate into this new world, and a really good glance into the futuristic experiences and capabilities that lay ahead with this new tech.

The setup lasted just 5 minutes and it wasn’t that much different from the initial Face ID configuration on my iPhone 15 Pro Max, plus some other steps meant to tune my eyes. And right afterward, as I was looking at “reality” through a tarnished veil.

My very first impression was that of seeing the Apple Store through semi-transparent goggles, sort of like what you see on a not too foggy day. Yet, I got to know later that the Apple Vision Pro is entirely opaque! What I perceived as my immediate surroundings was actually a video feed of reality, captured by cameras mounted on the front of the Vision Pro. Yes, I was initially fooled by Apple’s two concave lens displays. Now I know both feature 23 million pixels micro-OLED screens, more than doubling the resolution of my iPhone 15 screen and also surpassing a large OLED 4K TV in clarity at only a slightly larger size than my eyes!

No wonder when I was shown spatial 3D video content, my mind was transported to a new world. But my first thought was, wow, what would it now mean to look into the past when some of your loved ones are gone, but you bring them back with an immediacy that feels real? We are talking about anyone with any version of iPhone 15 can generate this kind of content and see it any time later in the future. What would this mean psychologically? I have a photo of my grandpa on my desk. I see him every day. He’s long gone, but connecting with him this way fills my soul. I don’t really know if I want to see him in spatial 3D. I feel it will be too hard. But this new world of information possibilities is here to stay. It will change our brains in ways I’m sure we cannot yet predict.

Of course, I can think of use cases which make a lot of sense. Experience other worlds, like going to Mars, flying through the canyons, meeting killer whales and sharks. We live in a time of experiences, seeking a new one almost daily. My wife loves nature, animals, but will never join me in the Amazon; now, she can be there without actually being there. That applies to everyone, as I suffer from vertigo and will never jump with a parachute, but now I can sort of experience it. Our mind is used to believing what it sees; well, it will have to rewire, or we will go nuts.

Technically, the Apple Vision Pro is equipped with 14 cameras—some located inside, others outside—a LiDAR scanner, and numerous IR and invisible LED illuminators. That's a more comprehensive array of sensors than what's found in a Tesla autonomous vehicle! Why all these sensors? To perceive reality, to effectively track my hands and eyes, and to understand my location and actions. It anticipates my focus and "knows" my intentions before I even make a command. This means when I looked at the Safari App, it predicted I might tap my fingers on the icon I was viewing. I typed in and navigated to, then leaped to my jikatu account to peruse my library of professional photos. I could zoom into them using the pinch-and-hold gesture, spreading my hands apart and seeing and enjoying them in bigger sized that I have every experience. Learning the primary gestures was swift. The 15 years we've spent mastering gestures on smartphones have truly paid off.

As I read what one of Apple’s engineers involved for years in the project: “your pupil reacts before you click in part because you expect something will happen after you click,” Sterling Crispin mentions. “So you can create biofeedback with a user’s brain by monitoring their eye behavior, and redesigning the UI in real time to create more of this anticipatory pupil response.” He also mentions the use of machine learning: “signals from the body and brain to predict how focused, or relaxed you are, or how well you are learning”. Discussing the potential to subtly influence our emotions in any direction they desire without our awareness?  Witnessing our past as if it were tangible is in itself a deeply impactful experience. If, in addition, visionOS apps have the capability to manipulate our emotions without our knowledge, the situation could venture into perilous territory. The thought of machine interfaces not just providing immersive experiences but also having the power to alter our emotional states without our consent directly plays into the question of who controls our free will. Regulations might affect our freedoms, but ethical guidelines should be discussed, if not at least to protect individuals' mental and emotional well-being.

Who can guess what other innovations lie hidden within the 5,000 patents Apple has filed for this product alone—secrets yet to be unveiled? Freedom stems from awareness, from understanding the ground upon which we tread. Without light, there is no freedom in walking into a dark room; we are either guided, paralyzed, or at risk of colliding with an unseen obstacle. Only with complete transparency and access to all information can we truly have the liberty to choose how and when to use this new technology.

After my experience with the Apple Vision Pro I can see we are days away from virtual collaboration work in a single room with people across the planet almost as if we were there together. An avatar of the best surgeon in New York helping it colleagues in an operation room in Montevideo in real time and with an immediacy never before thought possible. 

I can see myself editing my professional photos with a version of visionOS Lightroom in such fine detail that it would elevate my art. Taking a course, say on Coursera, designed for the visionOS platform, could be so amazing! I don’t know if an Apple Vision Pro app could help me with my tennis, but if it does, I will definitely welcome it.

I don’t really have to mention entertainment, as this is a given. Watching a movie on the Vision Pro is like being in the best home theater, though not in terms of sound. Yes, I only like to watch movies with my wife, not alone. So it’s not for me, but once in a while, yes, as it’s truly amazing.

My companies, Ikatu and Khimo specialize in creating immersive experiences for high-rise condominium sales centers. The Vision Pro could revolutionize the way we conduct virtual tours of new properties. I can’t imagine a more powerful tool for potential buyers. It enables you to walk through your unit while the salesperson accompanies you in real life, enhancing the experience and connection with your dream property.

With over 1,000 apps already available for VisionOS (though iOS has nearly 2 million apps!), it's clear that apps and content will play a major role in the success of the Vision Pro.

And now the million-dollar question: Would I buy it? Not yet. Why? After 40 minutes of usage, I noticed the device's uncomfortable heat on my forehead and felt my eyes becoming strained. My preferences lean towards reading and listening, rather than watching. I'd rather use my vision to enjoy hours of real-life tennis, which makes me feel refreshed, instead of needing a nap to recover from an hour with an impressive VR headset. At 61, I can still use my notebook and phone without glasses. Anything that strains my eyes is a no-go for me.

The Vision Pro is a personal device; it does not support multiple users (though you can share it in Guest Mode), but then I would lose my wife attention during that time as well. Managing distractions is already challenging with our phones; why introduce another one?

I'm not ruling out the possibility of purchasing the Vision Pro in the future. In fact, it's quite likely I will someday. I just yet need to discover that must-have application that compels me to take the plunge. Editing and appreciating my art photography appears to be the compelling draw for me so I'm thinking...