Apple's Vision Pro headset looks incredible and it is definitely the biggest jump into the future I've seen for both virtual and mixed reality, but as it stands, the $3,500 price tag is not for me, which is why I'm looking at an alternative.
I've been thinking about the Vision Pro since Apple announced it back at WWDC at the beginning of this month. There's no denying it — Apple has created perhaps the most technically capable virtual and mixed-reality headset yet, and it will enable experiences previously impossible.
However, even with all of that in mind, I can't help but feel that the Vision Pro isn't for me yet and that, as much as it pains me to say, Meta will likely be getting my money for at least one more generation thanks to its upcoming Quest 3.
There's no denying Apple's headset is superior
When Apple announced the Vision Pro, I was immediately blown away by the visual quality alone. As someone who has used both the original Meta Quest and the Meta Quest 2, I'm used to seeing okay-but-not-amazing graphics. The headset, while cool, is certainly not like strapping an Xbox Series X or PS5 to your head in terms of what it can achieve graphically.
Apple's headset, in comparison, is like strapping two 4K TVs to your face. The sheer resolution of each display on the headset is a true feat of engineering and will enable truly high-resolution experiences not just when using the headset for work, but for gaming experiences as well.
Apple's mixed-reality experience also actually looks good — compared to the Meta Quest 2's extremely basic experience. I'll be honest — using the Meta Quest 2 to do anything in mixed reality feels like I'm seeing my apartment through a black-and-white television from the 50s. I would not trust walking around and doing things in my apartment with the headset on — I'd be afraid I'd trip over something and kill myself.
Apple Vision Pro's mixed reality, in comparison, looks incredible. Of course, I've only seen what Apple has shown in its promo videos, but those who have tried it say that the experience almost feels like actual reality.
The comment that stood out to me most was when The Verge's Nilay Patel said that he, while wearing the headset, instinctively picked up his iPhone and started taking notes. Being able to do things like that while wearing a headset is just not possible right now.
The ability to actually comfortably and confidently interact with the real world, whether you are in a mixed-reality experience or just in general, while wearing a headset is a real breakthrough.
The price alone will keep me away
However, even with all of those impressive specifications and the incredible experiences that they will enable, there is one thing and one thing alone that will keep me — and I'm sure a lot of other people — from ditching my Quest headset and jumping into the future. That thing, of course, is the price.
After showing off everything that the Apple Vision Pro could do and getting all of us completely hyped up, Apple threw a big wrench in everyone's dream of buying the headset by announcing the price. The Apple Vision Pro will cost a staggering $3,500 when it launches early next year.
Now, I can't say I'm surprised by the price. With all of the technological breakthroughs enabled by the headset and the truly insane specs that make it possible, a premium price is expected. Plus, by Apple giving it the "Pro" moniker, the company is openly admitting that it is starting with the more premium version of the headset.
With all of that in mind, and knowing that Apple is already working on a more affordable version of the headset that is expected to come out in the next few years, I'm going to have to skip the Vision Pro.
That doesn't mean I want to give up those virtual and mixed reality experiences, however. So, as hard as it is to pick anything Meta — especially over Apple — I think I'll be picking up the Meta Quest 3 when it comes out this fall. At $500, it is seven times less expensive than the Apple Vision Pro.
Of course, the Quest 3 won't have the specs or experiences that the Vision Pro will be capable of. But, with some impressive performance gains in its CPU and GPU power, as well as adding full-color passthrough for better-mixed reality experiences, it seems like a great upgrade from the Quest 2 and a perfectly good headset to hold me over until a cheaper Apple Vision Pro hopefully comes out in 2025 or 2026.
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Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.