Apple’s mixed-reality headset is finally official, after six years of rumour and speculation. Do you want the bad news or the other bad news?
The first bad news is that it’s not coming to New Zealand. In fact, it’s not going to be available anywhere but the United States when it goes on sale early next year.
The other bad news is that, even if it were, it would set you back at least US$3,500 — or around NZ$5,773. And that factors in a slightly naive assumption that Apple wouldn’t offer unfavourable exchange rates.
Actually, there is some good news for those determined to import. The somewhat jaded tech press invited to WWDC to be the first in the world to try the new hardware seem to generally be blown away by the headset’s abilities, and Apple’s first foray into what it somewhat grandiosely calls “spatial computing”.
Yes, you can argue that wearing ski-goggle-like visors indoors isn’t that much less of a fashion faux pas than donning existing VR headsets, but in terms of performance, it’s getting rave reviews — as you’d hope for some headwear costing the same as seven Meta Quest 3s.
“This is the first headset I’ve tried which has been utterly effective and continuously appealing,” The Standard’s hands-on write-up concluded. “Actually, it took my breath away.”
YouTuber Marques Brownlee was equally dazzled. “Just spent 30 minutes in the Apple Vision Pro headset,” he tweeted. “Y’all I am VERY impressed with a few specific things.”
The subsequent video suggested this was largely hand and eye tracking, but there are lots of these ‘wow’ moments in the writeups.
“At one point in a full VR Avatar demo I raised my hands to gesture at something, and the headset automatically detected my hands and overlaid them on the screen, then noticed I was talking to someone and had them appear as well,” The Verge’s write-up reads. “Reader, I gasped.”
Of course, there’s a difference between experiencing a handcrafted demo free of charge, and trying to wow yourself with a headset that’s just emptied your bank account. Perhaps the fact it’s not coming to New Zealand in the foreseeable future could be a blessing in disguise — let the early adopters iron out the kinks, and give us a cheaper, more refined product in 2025.