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Vision Pro Stole the Show at WWDC 2023. But What About the Mac?

“Just casually sitting on my steps with my Vision Pro on. How about you?” Image credit: Apple

The Apple World Wide Developer’s Conference keynote presentation has come and gone, and I’m still processing the deluge of announcements made in the rather lengthy two hour keynote.

No doubt, the most talked about device of this year’s WWDC keynote will be Apple’s new VisionPro. Call me a skeptic (or a fuddy duddy), but I’m less enthused about Apple’s new entry into “spatial computing.”

A space case of a device…

While I can see certain appeal in strapping on a pair of goggles to escape the confines of reality while on a lengthy flight, the potential teased in Apple’s own videos felt like the introduction to a new dystopian era.

Technology, as Apple has emphasized numerous times in the past, is a tool that is meant to bring people together. In light of those previous statements, the scene shown during the keynote of the dad wearing a headset while floating around his daughters playing in front of him to “capture the moment”, could not have seemed more out of touch.

In my humble view, Apple has made a novelty and nothing more. The company spent almost an hour trying to sell theahem vision of the VisionPro, and (pardon the pun) I’m just not seeing it.

…with lots of questions to answer.

Even if I could get past the princely sum of $3500, I can’t fathom anyone clamoring to wear a bulky device just to fiddle about with virtual screens, attend Zoom meetings, or shift between Word and Excel in a virtual environment. Imagine saying, “I need to check out those numbers before this next call…oh wait…gotta slip on the ‘ol headset first!”

The future of work? Image credit: Apple

Like many others, I expected Apple to lean into gaming as a use-case for this device, but that category seemed to be largely absent.

That being said, I can see a use-case for this device, as it was shown today. For those who have limited mobility, the Apple VisionPro offers some tantalizing possibilities. Using one’s eyes, voice and fingers alone for general computing can really help accessibility. I wish Apple had promoted this aspect within their promotional video.

One other limiting factor is the battery life. The device doesn’t have an on-board battery. Instead, it must be plugged into a power supply, or used with a portable battery seen in this image from Apple.

Image credit: Apple

Apple says battery life with the portable battery pack is 2 hours. That doesn’t seem like a lot of battery for a device that is supposed to be immersive, but I suppose we’ll have to wait and see.

Also unknown are what the long term effects will be on one’s eyesight while using the VisionPro for lengthy periods of time. Earlier in the keynote, Apple announced new features in the Health app for iOS and iPadOS that will monitor how close you’re viewing an iPhone or iPad from your eyes. They said viewing a device too closely can cause eyestrain in adults and myopia in children. And within an hour they were asking that we strap screens inches from our eyes.

Mac musings from WWDC 2023

Turning attention to other areas, I will admit that I died inside a little when Apple Software Chief Craig Federighi kicked off his macOS Sonoma presentation by announcing slow-motion screensavers. Screensavers? Really?

If that wasn’t disheartening enough, the “hold my beer” moment was when Apple spent a whopping 5 minutes touting system-wide stickers.

The oldest Mac that is officially supported by macOS Sonoma is the 2017 iMac Pro. I suspect that this will be the last macOS release before Intel-based Macs are cut off for good.

Widgets can now be placed directly to the Mac desktop in macOS Sonoma. Source: Apple

Of all the new macOS features demoed, the Autofill PDF feature is probably one I’ll find most useful. Widgets on the desktop will probably make some folks happy, while others may find better value in Apple’s video conferencing improvements.

Hardware-wise, it was nice to see Apple deliver on their promise of an Apple Silicon-based Mac Pro.

The exorbitant $6999 price means that the Mac Pro is targeted specifically for niche professionals who need access to expansion slots. The rest of us will have to bury our pipe-dreams of buying an affordable and expandable Mac and steer our dollars / pounds / euros towards its smaller brother, the Mac Studio. I’m not decrying the Mac Studio (I think it’s a solid device, from what I’ve seen and read) but I do miss having expansion slots. Oh well.

And speaking of the newly announced M2 Max and M2 Ultra Mac Studio, I really wish Apple would bump up their base M2 Max configuration from 512GB to 1TB. With a starting price of $1999, there’s really no excuse not to do so, besides greed.

For those seeking a new laptop, I think the new 15″ MacBook Air ticks a lot of boxes. I like the larger screen size, and applaud Apple’s decision to include a headphone jack. This model would be a slam dunk purchasing decision, were it not for the meager 8GB RAM spec.

The mobile OSes

If I had to sum up the next versions of watchOS, iPadOS and iOS collectively, in one word, it would be “widgets.” They seem to be infiltrating more and more parts of each of Apple’s three mobile OSes.

I suppose the new ability to include widgets in the lock screen of the iPad will make some folks happy, but I remain ambivalent. I’m glad that users can finally interact with widgets directly as well, instead of a tap taking the user directly to an app.

One under-the-radar feature that I do find value in is Safari’s ability to autofill verification codes that are received in Apple Mail. Presumably this feature will come to iOS and macOS as well.

The inclusion of SmartStacks in watchOS (turning the Digital Crown to reveal… widgets) will make it much easier to get to information when using the Apple Watch. As a frequent cyclist, I am looking forward to testing the new Cycling metrics to measure my cadence, speed and power during my rides.

As far as iOS goes, I do like the live audio message transcription feature in iOS 17. The newly announced StandBy feature allows your iPhone to display the date, time, photos etc. when it’s charging―I think I’ll find this one useful as well.


All in all, I felt that the VisionPro was overhyped. The new OS features across the rest of the platforms are a bit hit or miss for me, but at least this time around, I see myself using a few of the new features on a regular basis. From a Mac standpoint, I think that the Apple Silicon lineup is pretty solid now.

What about you? What was your favorite thing announced at this year’s WWDC keynote? Do you think that the VisionPro is hot, or is it all hype? Let me know in the comments below.

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  • I’m still using a 2015 27″ iMac waiting for an iMac Pro with the latest chips giving me more memory. In my small home office, I don’t want a tower on the floor to bump my knee on every time I turn to get up. Nor do I want any additional pieces of equipment sitting on my already crowded desk. I want one piece of equipment that has enough screen real estate and memory that I can work back and forth between InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator without having to close any one of them. That is the most efficient scenario for my big projects and I can’t see that efficiency on an iMac in a color that messes with my color perception and has only 16GB of memory. What am I missing here??? I’m also still carrying an iPhone 7Plus because $1000 is ridiculous for a new one although I will probably break down soon and spring for it. Got the money for both. It’s the principle really! And what’s with those “updates” lately that cause my iMac to freeze?

  • Apple is losing the Spirit of Steve Jobs. He would never have released this absurdity. But Apple has nothing to worry about in the short term since their competition is so pathetically far behind.

  • I’m engulfed by the Vision Pro hype, and can’t wait until February 2024 to get one . . . it offers so many possibilities . . . my concern is the $3,495 is an entry level price with added RAM and storage to add even more, plus a better battery.

  • Try to burn a blu-ray using Apple’s FCP or Compressor and then play it in a standalone blu-ray player. It was possible but along the way some bug crept in which Apple has known of for years but has refused to fix. Instead of venturing off into vision land they should be required to make right what they claim to have. Don’t get me wrong, I love Apple but find their refusal to pay attention to the little guy is a rotten apple in a box of delicious Macintosh apples threatening to infect the whole batch.

  • So happy to hear it’s still Sucksville for me and Apple. I am not sure who they are making their stuff for and wanting primo bucks but I am taking exit ramps to end my nightmare with this company. Paying $1k+ for a phone that essentially is an ok camera is not my idea of progress or bang for the buck. I used to love my iMac and now tolerate it because the updates have destroyed older versions of any of their applications that I stored my things on and have lost or cannot retrieve. Maybe they should just do roll outs every 3 years and by then true innovation will occur enough to keep suckering in folks. Your article and comments are on point.

    • You got it! EVERY update is a calamity. That calamity leaves you at the mercy of the makers of your peripherals such as your fine art printer and your scanner. These manufacturers love it because, sooner rather than later, these things will stop working with your updated-to-the-minute Mac.

  • The Vision device may find serious applications in medical education, flight simulation, 3D modeling and the obvious attraction for 3D gaming. I dont personally see myself ever wearing a headset for word processing, spreadsheets, 2D graphic design, internet browsing or basic entertainment… The new Mac Pro, however, is exactly what I need for my “pro” usage, ie >= 24 cpu cores, high bandwidth RAM, lots of huge screens, decent GPU support for 3D modeling in medical applications and lots of PCIe slots for expanding fast I/O and adding as-fast-as-possible internal SSD and SSD RAID devices to access TBs of medical imaging data and for video editing. 192 GB RAM is twice what I currently use in my 16 core 2019 Mac Pro so that is not a limitation, and the 800 GB/s RAM bandwidth is very useful.

  • Really great insight here Krishna! While some innovations are indeed cool, one must be wary of the new Kool-Aid flavor…

    “Also unknown are what the long term effects will be on one’s eyesight while using the VisionPro for lengthy periods of time. Earlier in the keynote, Apple announced new features in the Health app for iOS and iPadOS that will monitor how close you’re viewing an iPhone or iPad from your eyes. They said viewing a device too closely can cause eyestrain in adults and myopia in children. And within an hour they were asking that we strap screens inches from our eyes.”

  • I see a lot of use for the VisionPro in industries where health and safety is critical. It will be useful for explaining and exploring the risks/hazards around using machinery that can cause harm if misused, and for stepping people through safe methods of work.

  • VisionPro is a version 1 product. Look at iPhone version 1. Look at the MacPortable… There is clearly a market and a direction for this device. Remember when iPhone was released people in the US (only country it was released in) were not used to buying their phone. So 600 bucks for a phone seemed bonkers. Nobody can afford it, nobody will buy it. There will be more.

    As to the studio, I find it interesting that you can get the SAME computing power as the MacPro for 3k less. You gotta REALLY want/need slots for that kind of price. RAM still not upgradable. Gotta be a VERY small percentage of users that even need that MacPro.

    • I agree with you, Keith. It will take some time and Apple will continue to iterate. The product needs to find its legs, and I think it will. Clever developers will, no doubt, find creative uses that will compell more people to give it a try. Very much like the Apple Watch – initially, it seemed like a novelty – now it’s found its niche with health and fitness tracking.

      • The original Ape Macintosh 128K sold for $2500, or about $7400 in 2023 dollars. Early adopters will find the VisionPro interesting and developers will get creative.

  • I agree. I love my Apple devices, but I was embarrassed to witness the hype and “awe” portrayed for seemingly “meh” advancements.

  • It’s unfortunate that Apple didn’t upgrade the iMac. I have the model year before the M processors were released.
    That has to be slowest Mac that I have ever owned. I would give anything to move to an M processor however I don’t want to do it if the M2 is released in august or October.
    It would be a good computer if I could add more ram and a larger hard drive.
    No one in my area will touch them iMacs that are serviced by removing the screen.

    • Me too. But my old 27” iMac collapsed and I had to buy Mac mini with Apple display. Together they take up less space than the iMac. That old iMac worked night and day and so bit sad to say goodbye

  • I see the Vision Pro as a product best suited for the Military, specifically the Boots on the Ground. This product would allow commanders to provide troops with encrypted realtime critical information regarding threat locations, asset locations, maps, orders and other critical information. The screen could be hardened on the exterior to provide eye protection for the troops. Who knows, maybe Apple already has that product in production or planned. As a consumer product, it just seems to be another way for us to become more isolated from each other, with minimal gain. Of course, people said the same thing about the iPad.

  • I was immensely impressed with the Vision Pro. Considering the level of tech in the device the price point is justified.

    Those that can, will. Those that cannot, won’t.

    Nice article.

  • Regarding the new MacBook Air, exactly!… “This model would be a slam dunk purchasing decision, were it not for the meager 8GB RAM spec.”

  • The Vision Pro was a dud for me – I don’t use the whole concept but I know others do. As to maybe trying it out, the price has made it a waste of time to do that. I did like the information about the Studio and learned that the Mac Pro’s price was forcing me to replace my old Mac Pro with a Studio. I don’t have an Apple watch and don’t feel the need plus the new stuff on the iPhone might be good but as a Luddite, I’m still learning the very basic stuff, with reluctance and some ire. The whole concept of making Macs operate like iPhones is bad thinking – it ought to be reversed, make the iPhone (and probably iPad which I also don’t have) work like computers and I’d be happy.

  • With reference to visionPro, you join a long list of new technologies doubters. You would have been there saying fire wouldn’t work as a cooking technology. You would be lining up with Watson saying only six computers would be needed in the world.

    Your complaint about price just shows you are light on when it comes to price setting and to the willingness of the market to pay a price based on their values. Happens all the time in the luxury cars and goods markets. Happens all the time when companies wish to recover research and prototype sunk costs. You are simply dismissing a new technology because for the moment it is beyond your price

    I’ve already had a client in medical and sports technology asking me to look at visionPro use in their injury recovery equipment. Only took them a day to make the call. Need to get my hands on one but initial impressions suggest adoption.

    • @Hedware, I’m not dismissing the VisionPro altogether. As I stated above, I can see it as a potentially excellent tool for those with limited mobility, or those who have accessibility issues where traditional computing inputs are not feasible for day to day computing.

      As time goes on, the product will no doubt get refined and the price will come down. Early adopters and developers are going to jump in, no matter what.

      The real answer as to how useful the VisionPro will be will come from third party developers.

      • You have quite a narrow view of potential uses and application. I have a real time example. Somebody today mentioned fashion and clothing as potential target usage. It’s easy to think of other deployments even by that early adopter the porn industry. You are correct in suggesting third party developers will lead the way but they will be lead by potential users and clients.

        • To be fair, I can see other applications for the VisionPro, but I didn’t state them. There can be some broad applications for education, especially in terms of abstract subjects where 3D visualization can help. I see fashion and clothing as something that will eventually come about as applications for the VisionPro, once Apple can further minimize the design to where it’s more conducive to wear around in public spaces. I’m only commenting on the use-cases that Apple itself presented within their keynote. It remains to be seen if Apple can pull off what Meta could not.

    • l’m an individual, not a member of a corporation, so price has a rather significant impact on my income and expenditures. I stated that the new technology was not something I would use – that was a personal comment, not a comment about the nation’s tech users as I stated in the next clause. I would anticipate that if the VisionPro technology has immediate recognition as eminently usable, it will do the nation well and Apple’s bottom line even better, and I hope that it can accomplish that.

  • I like the Mac Studio, but I’m waiting for an update to the 27” iMac…

    • @Geo Hough, I don’t believe there is ever going to be an update to the 27″ iMac. At the WWDC keynote they stated that the migration to Apple Silicon was now complete.

    • Yeah, I think back as far as 10.4. I’m still using my G4 MDD as it runs 2 pieces of software I cannot afford to replace so they can run on a newer Mac. They work in the Leopard environment and won’t run on my iMac nor iPad Pro. If the tool works, I will continue to use it.