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Public opinion of Apple Vision Pro is all over the place, with some calling it a glorified dev tool

Apple Vision Pro

Apple Vision Pro launches on February 2, and public discourse surrounding the product indicates it is very divisive, even among Apple employees.

Apple revealed the Apple Vision Pro during WWDC with a sub-10-minute video showing the product's features and some discussion of the developer story. Since then, very little information has been shared about the product, even just before its launch, so public discourse has filled the void.

On the one hand, there are people who don't see it as more than an overpriced iPad you wear on your face with no addressable market. On the other hand, you see the usual unstoppable hype around an Apple product launch amplified more so by the fact it's a brand-new platform.

Oddly enough, there doesn't seem to be any overtly wrong answers among popular opinion. Apple Vision Pro can be both an incredibly niche product and a completely fascinating peek into the future at once.

A glorified dev tool

The sudden change in discourse around Apple Vision Pro could have given you whiplash if you weren't prepared for it. Fresh from the new year, conversations were mostly positive, with a hopeful outlook toward what Apple's $3,500 headset could be used for.

Suddenly, speculation about a potential second event and a mountain of questions being answered was squashed by a simple Apple Newsroom PR post. Apple Vision Pro was coming on February 2 with pre-orders beginning January 19.

It was as if Apple let all the air out of the room for half the population. Suddenly, influential members of the tech community began referring to Apple Vision Pro as a dev tool disguised as a consumer product.

While Christina Warren may not have been the first to say it, her comments about Apple Vision Pro being a dev tool quickly propagated across social media.

It's not an altogether outrageous sentiment. Apple has asked developers to create apps for a platform that only a handful has actually seen firsthand, which means true app development won't begin until after release day.

The initial run of Apple Vision Pro orders will undoubtedly be for developers, extreme enthusiasts, journalists, and the rich. So, calling it a glorified dev tool isn't far off.

Despite that, Apple has pushed consumer-focused content hard in the lead-up to pre-orders. Over 150 3D movies, 8K immersive experiences, and VR-style games on Apple Arcade were part of Apple's push.

Disney+ on Apple Vision Pro showing Tatooine as an immersive scene
Disney+ on Apple Vision Pro showing Tatooine as an immersive scene

Disney+ has even hopped on board the hype train with an Apple Vision Pro app built with immersive environments to sit in while watching movies. These environments include the "Monster's Inc." scare floor and sitting in a landspeeder on Tatooine from "Star Wars."

However, other big companies aren't looking to capture the niche audience. Netflix won't build an app for visionOS, nor will it allow its iPad app to automatically port to the platform. YouTube and Spotify have joined in that sentiment and will no doubt be joined by others.

From the start, Apple has pushed Apple Vision Pro as a consumer product, so it's hard to see it as a glorified dev tool. Regardless, Apple Vision Pro lives and dies by its customers, and people do seem excited.

Not all is doom and gloom

As with any Apple product release, there's plenty of hype around Apple Vision Pro. Developers building apps are posting screenshots of the simulator tool, journalists are discussing their hands-on experience with the device, and fans are contemplating exactly how it might be used in their day-to-day.

We ran a poll on X to see what feature people are most excited about. Persona didn't even register on the spectrum of excitement, but it seems people who follow AppleInsider are excited to try 3D content and 8K immersive experiences.

People are very interested in the gesture and eye control features. Anyone who has used the headset says it is precise and quickly becomes second nature.

Of course, we at AppleInsider have varying levels of indifference and excitement among our ranks. The author of this article is particularly excited and will attempt to work from Apple Vision Pro, for example.

Apple employees do exist on social media, though they tend to be rather private. The ones on the Apple Vision Pro and visionOS team have been slipping to the surface to celebrate the device release.

When Apple revealed the release date, Mastodon was filled with Apple employees linking to Apple's announcement. They reiterated the usual Apple byline, except coming from humans, it felt more sincere — "can't wait to see what you do with it."

Of course, social posts from Apple employees are likely vetted or, at the least, carefully considered. No one would willingly go onto their social media and bad mouth a product they made at Apple unless they wanted a quick exit.

A change of tune internally

Apple is a very secretive company, and because of that, employees can't say much about their jobs outside of closed doors. Anything said publicly will likely never be critical of Apple or its products.

Apple's Photo app icon viewed in 3D from Apple Vision Pro. It's an abstract flower with petals colored like the rainbow popping off of a white round icon.
Apple Vision Pro and visionOS was built by many employees, all with their own opinions

Internally, things change. The people working at Apple are human, after all, and hold opinions about the company they work for and the products being released.

Regarding Apple Vision Pro, sentiments are as mixed inside Apple as they are out. Some employees AppleInsider has spoken to anonymously have said they wouldn't purchase Apple Vision Pro, nor would it fit with their workflows.

Apple Vision Pro is a niche product with a very specific user group in mind. Being a part of a greater team doesn't automatically make you its biggest fan, and if anything, it gives you a more informed opinion than most.

February 2

Initial shipments and in-store pickup begin on February 2 after pre-orders on January 19. As much speculation and commentary that exists online, nothing can replace experience.

Stay tuned to AppleInsdier for every conceivable detail about Apple Vision Pro and whether it truly signifies the future of computing.