Apple’s pushing Vision Pro but it hasn’t made the world accessible yet

by | Feb 21, 2024 | Wire

Apple's pushing accessibility features and advantages for people with disabilities as it re-launches its Vision Pro. Reviewers say a lot still needs to happen before the device transforms anyone's world. Image credit: The Centre for Accessibility Australia.

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Apple’s Vision Pro has features like VoiceOver, Zoom, and customized gesture options to facilitate easy navigation and interaction for people with disabilities, so it makes sense the Centre for Accessibility Australia is enthusiastic. 

But none of this changes the key issues that almost every reviewer is pointing out. The goggles remain huge, costly, and remain in their developmental infancy. Although they promise the possibility they may someday transform our world, that remains a very distant goal. 

The device’s augmented reality – also dubbed ‘mixed reality’ – means the huge, battery-powered goggles are see-through. They allow you to see computer-generated objects superimposed over your view of the real world, a bit like a fighter pilot’s head-up display. 

The problem is that unlike a fighter pilot, we don’t spend life in a cockpit surrounded by electronic computers we can interact with to engage with the world that surrounds us. And – despite a plethora of recent media articles as Apple apparently seeks to re-launch its $6000 device – reviewers have kept returning to some central issues with the device that severely limit usability. 

The goggles are huge and heavy, only have about two-hours battery, and still have limited utility. 

Yes, when you can walk down a virtual aisle of a supermarket, pick your goods from the shelves, and have them arrive at your door, they will be great. But, hang on a minute, you can already shop online today, so why would you want to wear huge goggles just to experience the fun of living in the real world? 

And when you put on those goggles you can’t share your screen with anyone else. 

Those are the negatives, but it’s important not to forget the promise and potential embodied in the product. Apple Vision Pro is a triumph of engineering and a big leap forward for the next stage of immersive digital experiences. The device (launched at last year’s World Wide Developer Conference) stands out for its inclusive design. 

One fact remains: you can still experience life without an Apple device. Unfortunately you can’t use one (yet) to share your world with someone else.