Vision Pro - A developer's experience 🥽


The first time you try one of these, you’ll be wowed by the hardware. It feels like a premium product. The built-in software feels good. It generally integrates well within the Apple ecosystem.

You start to feel like this is the next big thing as you dial into your immersive environment of choice, like Mt Hood, and begin engaging in one of the current “happy paths” of the device, eg content consumption. Resizing the screens in front of you.

And it is.

But you quickly realize that this is v0, not even v1. This is a devkit, or an incredibly expensive iPad strapped to your face.

When you turn your head, things get blurry. Sometimes things are blurry when you’re not even moving.

It’s heavy. Uncomfortable to wear for more than an hour.

You feel weird wearing it when you have others at home.

When you get a call on your phone, you find yourself awkwardly trying to stop what you’re doing to take off the whole ski mask to answer.

There’s no killer app yet. Not even a first-party YouTube app.

Working on it feels less productive than simply working on your laptop directly due to all of the current limitations. You can’t interact natively with your Mac’s apps, you have to use the mouse and keyboard. Only one screen/window. Outside of working on an airplane, I can’t see myself doing anything serious on it.

Even the early App Store apps are meh. I tried Zillow for the house tours, but it was too gimmicky in user experience and in image quality.

Fortunately, I bought this to be a devkit. I wanted a glimpse into the future, and I wanted an early start developing for it.

And that’s exactly what I got.

I am excited for where this platform will go in five years. I fully expect there to be multiple variations of the hardware, e.g. less immersive, but lighter.

I’ve used a few VR headsets over the years (friends, VR arcades), and this one is the best I’ve used.

But for now, it’s going to be an expensive personal television/iPad replacement, and target development device.

Developing for the Vision Pro

It's actually pretty straightforward if you've built iOS apps before.

To get started learning, I watched a few of the early WWDC videos (opens in a new tab), and then cranked open Xcode with the starter template for visionOS.

There were a few hurdles to getting my first app on the device:

Truth be told, the one time it's kind of nice to be productive on the Vision Pro is when you're building on Xcode for ... the Vision Pro. It's about as responsive as using the simulator, but you get to experience it natively alongside your streamed MacBook window.

Last Updated: Tue March 19 2024



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