Only Apple could pull this off

Apple unveiled a shiny new gadget today: Apple Vision Pro.

This looks really good! I want one. But as the summary of the glorious widget went on, it was clear I was not in their market. It’s a complete wearable computer, with a whole new interface — it’s everything Microsoft and all those cyberpunk authors dreamed of, integrating the real world (it’s transparent) with virtual reality. As I listened to the WWDC presentation, though, every glowing adjective and every new tech toy built into it made me cringe. The price was climbing by the second. Then at the end, they broke the news: $3500. Nope, not for me. It’s about what we ought to expect in something so shiny and new and packed with every bit of advanced technology they could pack into an extremely small space, though.

That price is not going to stop Apple, I’m sure. This is going to be the new must-have technological marvel that every techbro and marketingbro and rich person with ludicrous amounts of surplus wealth is going to want. Apple is going to clean up, I predict.


  1. tedw says

    I have been a long-time consumer of Apple products and can say based on experience that in six months Apple will either come out with a much better version for a little bit more, a slightly less capable version for a lot less, or both, or abandon the project entirely.

  2. birgerjohansson says

    If you have read William Gibson’s “Peripheral” and “Agency” you will know that smart glasses can serve as the kernel of a potentially world-girdling AI downloaded from an alternate time line. $ 3500 sounds like an acceptable cost.

  3. says

    Yeah, the iPhone appeared to be unsustainably priced when it was released, and yet people bought it.

    This has less immediate utility (you don’t need it to communicate with other people the way you “need” a phone) and a higher price tag, so it will not immediately take off, but they’ll sell a bunch, I’m sure. Enough that they’ll be able to bring a gen2 to market for $2500. Then people will buy that and feel lucky to have gotten away with such a steal of a price.

    Then I’ll buy one in 2038 for $1200 — more like $800. in today’s dollars — and reluctantly join the future only 15 years behind.

  4. says

    I can believe in that timeline. I’d buy one for $1200, but in 2038 I’ll either be dead or scraping by in retirement, living on tins of dog food.

  5. chrislawson says

    Some people will buy it, sure, but $3500 in the middle of a global cost-of-living crisis? Not saying it will flop, but pretty sure it won’t overtake the iPhone as Apple’s main revenue source.

  6. hemidactylus says

    I’m happy with my iPhone and iPad. This headset is way too expensive a contraption for me. I haven’t even bought into the Apple watch gizmo.

  7. birgerjohansson says

    PZ @ 4
    In that case you have nothing to lose by ushering in a “strong” AI.
    You either get salvation, or get screwed over by an AI instead of Republicans.
    Myself instead of gadgets I just paid $ 1200 to a cousin to tide her over while she gets the final part of job training needed for her new job. Sweden has generous welfare systems but the inflation has stressed the system a lot.

    Plus, she needs to travel to Gotland so her kid can meet his ailing grandpa for maybe the last time.
    Age sucks.

  8. wzrd1 says

    Give it time, it’ll be emulated on the cheap soon enough, likely from China and the market will be flooded with clones not slaved to Apple’s prison garden.
    As for costs, I spent $1200 on my Android phone, not because of specific bells and whistles, but as a future resistant measure, spending more initially to hedge against it getting bogged down in a few years enough that while multitasking, answering the phone becomes problematic.

    That all said, what was shown in that video was pretty much state of the art in many computer science wearable computer lab productions currently. A ski goggle contraption with such an immense band of fairly high mass plastic just ain’t the hook the fish are looking for.
    As for an always available computing platform, OK, that’s nice, but I barely tolerate my telephone and it can do most of what a PC can do. It’s nice to have information always available, but it can be intrusive as hell with excessive notifications, so for me, it’d be a toy and I’m all about expensive toys at times, but only if I can use them.
    So, given a choice between $3500 for that or the same for a new rifle, I’d go with the rifle and end up using that more often at the range.
    Using my Mark I brain to calculate trajectories, range and wind to place a projectile into a very tiny part of a fairly small bit of paper. Occasionally, winning a really nice prize, such as a Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas ham or a bit of cash to help pay for the otherwise excessive waste of money on match ammunition.
    Although, I’m nearly tempted to emulate the damned thing with a Linux belt box and visual display unit with a camera for the haptics on the cheap. The haptics are the harder part, the targeting view part was done long ago by the US DoD and openly available.
    And no, I’m not going to get a new rifle. Getting older and the model that I want (M1A) is a bit beyond what I’m willing to lug to and from a range.
    But, some bigger pots for cooking, both cheaper and worthwhile. Making a pot of pasta sauce and my current pot is nearly at the brim and the entire time cooking, I’ve been stuck on Chief Brody’s “We need a bigger boat, right?”.
    Since I’m having a gallon of pasta sauce cook, I guess it’s fish tonight.
    Which is of far greater importance than Apple’s new toy for Apple abused youths. And an hour away.

    Although, a wood lathe is tempting. Little’s more relaxing than turning a chunk of raw wood into something useful.

  9. Akira MacKenzie says

    The future is going to be so COOL… for those who can afford it.

  10. lotharloo says

    Apple is very good in fleecing their loyal fans and selling them shiny shit that they don’t need. Also, the VR/AR headsets are ugly, too big, too heavy and too uncomfortable, at least in my opinion.

  11. Pierce R. Butler says

    It seemed almost tempting – until I clicked the play button. Ye gawds, who approved that awful audio?!?

  12. wzrd1 says

    Oh, @ 1, “based on experience that in six months Apple will either come out with a much better version for a little bit more, a slightly less capable version for a lot less, or both, or abandon the project entirely.”

    Based upon my experience, Apple’s good at doing all three at once. Consider the Newton.
    And their competitor’s rapid abandonment of Microsoft Bob, may that actually be consigned to the core of Sag A*.

    @13, blame the pandemic, everyone is doing it, it’s the latest fashion and hides the older venue of hiring the incompetent, they work for cheap.

  13. silvrhalide says

    “Connect with people just as if you were in the same space.”
    Didn’t that used to be called visiting? Or hanging out with friends?
    If you thought the smart phone accelerated isolation, alienation and loneliness…
    How long do you think it will take for the first dead (over)user to be found with gangrenous pressure sores, in clothes that haven’t been washed in weeks, wearing the Apple headset and surrounded by his sexy harem of chatbots, still spewing random word generation when the corpse is finally found?
    Behold the new opium den. It’s portable and you wear it on your face.

    On a more practical level… how long do you think it will take the glass portion to fog up in hot humid weather, like the kind that’s around the corner? I’m imagining the sweat trickling into the user’s eyes with that scuba mask style headset.
    I’m also imagining the new uptick in neck strain and similar problems. Remember when “Blackberry thumb” was a thing?

  14. Jim Balter says

    This has less immediate utility (you don’t need it to communicate with other people the way you “need” a phone)

    We had phones when the iPhone came out; we even had smart phones. The iPhone was a huge increase in the usability of the latter, which is why it quickly dominated that market, then expanded to other phone users as the price was offloaded to expensive cell phone service contracts.

  15. cardinalsmurf says

    I didn’t get the impression it’s transparent. The wearer is only ever watching video on 2 displays. The real world is being recorded through cameras and that video is integrated with digitized context and displayed on those screens. The ability for others to see your eyes is from a display on the front. I found that to be an extravagant feature. But it makes sense to me. The inability of others to see your eyes would probably be a big turnoff for many folks who aren’t tech obsessed.

  16. silvrhalide says

    @10 Canon’s EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM has a list price of $2,399.00… if I’m going to have expensive glass pressed against my face, that would be my first choice. It’s still cheaper than the Apple headset.
    And more fun.
    Maybe when I finish paying off the car…

    For the record, I didn’t get a smartphone until 2021, which is when my non smartphone finally died. Or more accurately, the network it ran on died.
    I resisted to the last. Now, sadly, my employer can both track me and find me with the smartphone. The old one was too old to track.

  17. silvrhalide says


    I can believe in that timeline. I’d buy one for $1200, but in 2038 I’ll either be dead or scraping by in retirement, living on tins of dog food.

    I imagine we’ll all be eating Soylent Green by that time. Or else bug bars.
    Besides, aren’t you vegetarian? Lentils should still be affordable. Whether or not we’ll have any actual fruits or vegetables left will be another matter but most staple crops are wind-pollenated… they would mostly survive the loss of bees… I hope I’m dead before then.

  18. says

    This bike commuter is really looking forward to dodging people driving around wearing these things.
    Wow, you can interact with it just like it’s in your physical space! Like…like…you’re wearing it on your head, or something!
    If my experience with Apple products is any indication, it will work for three years and then fail to connect to anything.
    Nice presentation, though. I especially like how they spent the first 1/3 of the video flying around looking at it from all angles. Sort of like the first Star Trek movie.

  19. says

    OOH! shiny, new, so cool! Is it powered by AI?
    So many cool new gadgets, so little budget!
    I know apple is generally quite responsible, but I can imagine a gadget like this from Muskox or Amaz0n or g00gle flashing laser indoctrination messages directly into your brain. Hello, zombie apocalypse! Help, I think I’ve been reading too much of that kind of stuff (including in these comments)
    @20 feralboy12 said: it will work for three years and then fail to connect to anything.
    I reply: you are quite likely correct. If you visit the techdirt site, they talk about hardware and software that is ‘orphaned’ by their owner/developers all the time.

  20. silvrhalide says

    Rewatched the ad, this time with audio. Ugh. That intro music sounds like something the musical version of an AI chatbot would create.

    That ad is a far cry from their 1984 Super Bowl commercial.

    All that money and no taste!

  21. silvrhalide says

    @20 I’ve more or less given up taking my bike out on the public roads. The roads are in terrible condition and the drivers have been clueless twits for a quarter of a century now and the cell & smart phones only made things worse. That painted white line on the road denoting a bike lane changes nothing. If anything, the preponderance of electric bikes have only made things worse.

  22. chrislawson says


    Yeah, if I was splurging $3500, I’d rather buy a Fujifilm X-H2S and a Lensbaby Velvet 56mm portrait lens. (I still find it amusing that Fuji named their flagship video-oriented MILC camera after rotten egg gas.)

  23. bravus says

    That’ll be AU$ 6 grand…

    Think I’ll keep surfing just behind the bleeding edge as I do with phones and pick up something once it’s smaller, lighter, more powerful and cheaper.

    Though I have to admit I’m dissuaded: among other things, it’s a device for delivering spam ever more intimately…

  24. bravus says

    @26 – H2S is hydrogen sulfide, aka rotten egg gas.

    Interesting factoid, it’s highly toxic, on a similar order to carbon monoxide and not a million miles from hydrogen cyanide, the gas used in gas chambers

    Oh, and there’s a Fuji camera that has H2S in its name.

  25. microraptor says

    The real question is going to be what it’s actually going to be able to do that other shiny but less expensive toys already on the market can’t? I’m not expecting much.

  26. antaresrichard says

    It’s way out of my price range! It also looks a tad ungainly despite Apple’s effort at stylization. However, that dangling power cord* right outside of peripheral view; just waiting to get snagged? No thank you.

    *Speaking of the cord and where it eventually leads, Apple promotions, it strikes me, seem determined to hide the external power source – which I imagine you’d have to wear on your person as well. In all the promotional videos I have thus far seen on their site, it’s always conveniently and consistently out of view.

    Maybe they haven’t settled on a final design, but all that baggage…


  27. wzrd1 says

    #bravus, hydrogen sulfide is also a cellular signalling molecule.

    @silvrhalide, it’s a shame that Doctor Kevorkian is long gone and unavailable for house calls.
    Or maybe it’s my flagging SPO2 levels talking, as doctor waited a week again to refill life sustaining medications.
    Not a biggie. I have an offshore will that leaves detailed plans for modern generation thermonuclear devices to North Korea and Iran.
    Call it MAD, Stranglovian variety.

    But, losing consciousness at random times is quite entertaining!

    And no, I’m not going to go to the hospital.

  28. wzrd1 says

    SPO2 rose from 90% to 95%.
    Normal for me is 98%, so likely a neighbor smoked up again, as I’m badly allergic.
    Yeah, the will exists, with specific conditions. As does the distilled document.

    Back to the OT, erm, just no. Not fond of carrying a pistol at the range, wearing it as a goggle, just no.

  29. seversky says

    What’s the betting that, if Apple launches the rumored folding iPhone like the new Razr, the price tops $2000.00?

  30. says

    A report on CBC Radio One’s World Report this morning suggested Apple expects the initial customers for this are software development types, not the mass consumer. It’s also not going to be available until next year, so you’ll have time to fill your coin jar to save up for one.(Or for some major problem to delay it.) The Canadian price will be at least 4700 bucks before taxes.

    As far as tech goes H2S was a British ground mapping radar, the first such device deployed, used by British bombers during WW2. It has been suggested the name came from the inventor saying it was “rotten” he hadn’t realised you could detect things on the ground with an airborne radar earlier. Other sources say it was short for Height to Slope, others it was derived from Home Sweet Home.

  31. outis says

    Not for me, but I’ll be very interested to see how this story develops.
    Facebook tried VR as Meta and cratered spectacularly, so what will Apple do to dodge that fate? A visor is no good if one does not have the software and raw brute gigaflops VR needs. And delivering that online to masses of users in real time is no joke… we shall see.
    Will it need a top-of-the-line Mac to work properly (costly)? Will there be appropriate software (no mean feat that)?
    But really, there’s oodles of people addicted to social media as it is, if we get a really convincing, attractive VR we’ll just fall in and never get out. It’ll be like Lem’s The Futurological Congress. Halp.

  32. KG says

    Ugh. I’ll keep the “digital world” at a decent distance, on a screen, thanks. And I notice it has built-in camera and video, so anyone you point it at will know you could be recording them. That was one thing that killed Google Glass – non-wearers objected.

  33. says

    Well, I perceive a lot of people are Apple fans with an abundance of money. But, many aren’t fans of either Apple, heavy spyware VR with a cord and no applications and many dislike both. I try to not fall into the luddite category, but my desire for privacy and my limited budget preclude me from indulging in ALL these ‘in your face’ gadgets (hardware and software).
    As I accessed this Post by PZ just now, the embedded video is no longer available and says ‘this video is private’.

  34. birgerjohansson says

    A cover story for the RAF bomber command sirborn radar was it was a radio device intended to find the way home after night raids by homing in to radio beacons- thus the code name was supposed to mean Home Sweet Home aka H2S .

    H2S is also produced during the process producing fermented herring.

    Personally I prefer lutfisk.

  35. silvrhalide says

    @25 Japan is a volcanic archipelago. Maybe Mt Fuji was spewing fumes that day and they were dizzy and lightheaded.
    Or inspired, since volcanos emit hydrogen sulfide.

    My 180mm macro works beautifully as a portrait lens. Just saying. ;)

  36. tuatara says

    Following Apple’s launch of its new VisionPro AR Headset earlier today, CEO Tim Cook has announced a FREEDOM version of the device, specially designed for freedom lovers who will NEVER be told to wear a mask on their face and prefer to have it hanging around their chin.

    Unveiling the new product at the Worldwide Developer’s Conference, Cook said the FREEDOM will have all the tech of the standard model. “You won’t be able to see anything of course – it fundamentally won’t work if it’s on your chin. But you’ll get to feel like you’re giving the middle finger to the elites, which I’m sure you’ll agree is worth the $3,500 price tag”.

  37. silvrhalide says

    @43 This is genius. Crying laughing here.

    Also, goes well and is fully compatible with the chin diaper that is already dangling around their fREEdOm-LOving MaVerIK chins.
    With the correct configuration and alignment of synergistic business strategies coupled with wads of cryptocurrency and the occasional sacrifice to the dark gods at Faux News, the FREEDOM version will allow the user to see Alaska from their house.

  38. birgerjohansson says

    Whenever I read a scare story about Skynet coming to take over the world I say “finally someone competent taking charge”.
    Regarding travelling by bike, and decaying roads.

    We have plenty of bike roads and lanes in Sweden.
    Unfortunately the Green party has blocked adequate funding to maintain ordinary roads outside the big cities because all cars are evil.
    This means people living in the northern half of the country have had to deal with a decaying road network.
    Who could have thought that inflexible greens could be as fucking stupid as Republicans.
    There is another green party, the Center party. But not being populist is no way to get votes.
    The Greens are not as evil as the xenophobe party (SD) but their rigid minds make them stupid.

  39. wzrd1 says

    birgerjohansson @ 45, sounds more like a sound defensive tactic against Russian invasion. Busted up roads should stop their convoys as thoroughly as running out of supplies did.
    Failing that, the vehicles might just fall through the road, then through the ice and drown the armor crews…

    timgueguen @ 37, as I recall, the Nazis were wondering as to how British bombers were able to so well find their targets at night. Their agents being told that carrot consumption was responsible for superior night vision.

  40. pavium says

    My interest in computers started when personal computers became available. As an impoverished engineering student, there was zero chance of affording an Apple computer, so I gravitated toward IBM clones. I still think Apple computers are overpriced and, since retiring, I use Linux exclusively.

  41. wzrd1 says

    pavium, I use Linux nearly exclusively. I retain a Windows box for commodity use, such as life sustaining medical devices (yes, that’s both intentional and literal) and occasionally, for other OS experimental, aka computer lab use, such as Solaris or *BSD.
    With some sensors that are a *BSD flavor based.
    Did enjoy a bit of fun with an OSX computer, but alas, it was stolen and I was at the time unwilling to spend that much to replace it and now, unable to.
    Considered some bleeding edge open source version of OSX, but I’ve had enough bleeding on my two recent episodes of vomiting.

  42. wzrd1 says

    Oh, before anyone objects to my dismissal of vomiting blood, the differential is either nothing much or esophageal cancer of fairly advanced stage.
    Longstanding GERD, Barrett’s esophagus present, moderate mitral valve regurgitation, 3.5 cm AAA, signs of vascular defects in CNS, Grave’s disease and sequelae to delayed recognition and treatment, for starters. Add in smoker and multiple exposures to known carcinogens at fairly high levels.
    And the episodes were initiated by heavy coughing, secondary to allergy induced coughing and congestion, with vomitus basically being early bright red blood followed with mucus from the esophagus.
    Most probable origin is pharynx proximal to the esophagus.
    Yeah, I’m rather good at differential.
    Most likely, a tear in the esophagus, secondary to strenuous coughing, which was present. Likely locations, near the oropharyngeal border or at the Barrett’s border.
    Any doctors out there want to discuss it?