Sneak peek: Apple Vision Pro might be a boon for travelers

Friday, Feb. 2 marks a significant day for Apple as their highly anticipated mixed-reality headset, the Apple Vision Pro, hits store shelves. With a hefty price tag of $3,499, this new product platform aims to usher in a new era of “spatial computing.” While the launch is generating buzz among tech enthusiasts, the question remains: could this device have an impact on the travel industry?

As a traveler myself, I was intrigued by the potential of the Vision Pro headset to enhance inflight entertainment and connectivity. I was fortunate enough to be invited by Apple to demo the device before its release. While my 60-minute session couldn’t fully replicate a long-haul flight, it gave me a glimpse into how this device could be used during travel.

First and foremost, it’s important to acknowledge the obstacles that the Vision Pro headset faces in becoming a travel essential. The price tag and size of the device are major barriers for most travelers. Additionally, it remains to be seen if the device will have the same mass-market appeal as other Apple products. However, if we set aside these challenges, we can explore the potential benefits and limitations of the device for travelers.

One of the most obvious use cases for the Vision Pro headset is to enjoy content in an immersive way. Watching movies and videos on a large virtual screen provides a unique viewing experience. Native support from Apple TV+ and Disney+ is already promised, with other streaming services like Netflix accessible via Safari. The picture quality is impressive, offering more pixels than a 4K TV, and the built-in speakers provide spatial audio. With full immersion, your surroundings are replaced with a virtual reality world, enhancing the viewing experience. While the price tag may limit its accessibility, this device could potentially replace seatback screens on flights.

Another area where the Vision Pro excels is in providing an immersive browsing and gaming experience. Browsing the internet becomes a unique experience, with the ability to resize windows, move them in any direction, and float tabs in 3D space. Reading articles becomes as simple as moving your fingers up and down in space, free from distractions. Gamers can enjoy their favorite games without screen size limitations or distractions, using a paired Bluetooth controller.

The Vision Pro also includes a feature called Mac Virtual Display, which allows you to beam your MacBook monitor to the headset. This feature is particularly appealing for maximizing productivity while on the road. It creates a virtual screen in your field of vision, as large as you need it to be, allowing you to complete your work in a mixed-reality world. This functionality could be especially useful for those who work with confidential information in public settings, providing a more secure and private computing experience.

While the Vision Pro headset has the potential to enhance the travel experience, there are limitations to consider. The price tag and size of the device may deter many travelers from investing in it. Additionally, using the device in crowded spaces, such as a plane, may draw attention and potentially make others uncomfortable. However, if future generations of the device become more affordable and the technology continues to evolve, it’s conceivable that travelers may embrace it for inflight entertainment and productivity.

In conclusion, the Apple Vision Pro headset represents a significant step forward in mixed-reality technology. While it may not yet be a travel essential due to its price and size, it offers a glimpse into the future of staying connected and entertained while on the road. With its immersive viewing experience, browsing capabilities, and productivity features, the Vision Pro has the potential to enhance the travel experience for those who can afford it. As the technology evolves and becomes more accessible, we may see a greater integration of mixed-reality devices in the travel industry.

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