Recent videos of people sporting the Apple Vision Pro — a new augmented reality headset — have spurred discourse online around whether the device is dystopian or revolutionary.
The wearable product, which costs $3,500, allows users to see apps, email, video games and more integrated with their real-world surroundings. Since its release last week, some people have shared video of themselves testing it out, while others have made videos observing people who look out of place while using it in public spaces.
The device’s introduction into the marketplace has generated comparisons between present-day society and the Netflix show “Black Mirror,” which explores the unease over technology and the future, and the 2018 film “Ready Player One,” which is based on the science fiction novel about a future in which people obsess over virtual reality.
But tech enthusiasts who have gotten their hands on the product say it feels like a revolutionary next step in how people merge their devices with their lives.
The Vision Pro was a leap in technology in the same way the car was an advancement on the horse, said Casey Neistat, a YouTuber with roughly 12.6 million subscribers who tests technology products regularly in his videos.
“It’s an imperfect product, but to me, at age 42, this is without a doubt the most profound piece of technology I have ever experienced, and that was not my expectation,” Neistat said.
Isaac Mosna, a content creator who goes by Canoopsy, said that when he wore the Vision Pro around Toronto, where he lives, he got a few looks on public transit. But most people weren’t bothered by the headset.
“Nobody really cared,” Mosna said. “You know, big cities have a lot of other things to worry about besides somebody wearing some goofy-looking goggles.”
He posted a video to YouTube, where he has 240,000 subscribers, in which he said he wore the Vision Pro for 24 hours.
Like Neistat, Mosna believes the Vision Pro is imperfect, citing its bulky hardware. But he said that the software feels futuristic and that it is most likely a sign of where Apple is headed.
“Overall, I’d say I think it’s like one of the most exciting pieces of technology I’ve ever used in my life,” he said. “And it’s really hard to explain the nuances of it, because it’s very much a product that is all about, like, experiencing it for the first time and trying it out.”
Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
In recent days, the conversation surrounding the Vision Pro appears to have reached an inflection point as more users started posting their takes on it, accompanied by video.
One video showed a man crossing the street wildly swinging his head around allegedly using apps on the device. In another video, a man alleges he recorded himself getting arrested while driving a Tesla while wearing the device. He later clarified that the video was a skit.
Memes like “Distracted Boyfriend” have also been re-imagined to include the Vision Pro.
An X user likened the behavior of people using the Vision Pro in public to how people behave when they take psychedelics. He followed up by saying that the opportunity to see a film on a massive screen the way the Vision Pro offers is a genuinely enticing prospect but that he simply couldn’t afford the price point.
At least one person made a fake video claiming people could use deepfake technology to replace faces while using the Vision Pro. The person later explained that the video was made using the editing software After Effects.
Some of the videos appear to have been made to gain clout — Neistat pointed out that the users in the videos don’t appear to actually be interacting with the Vision Pro’s interface.
But other videos, like one Neistat posted of himself using the device in Times Square, have been posted in earnest to show off the Vision Pro’s capabilities.
“I am a tech nerd and enthusiast through and through,” he said. “In my life, I’ve never experienced something that is such a quantum leap in technology as the Vision Pro.”
Still, he added, “I agree that no one should wear these in public.”