Skip to content

10 Reasons Why Utahns Should Think Twice Before Buying the Apple Vision Pro

As an expert in digital technology, I‘ve been closely following the development and launch of the Apple Vision Pro, the company‘s long-awaited foray into high-end mixed reality. While the sleek headset is undeniably an impressive feat of engineering, boasting cutting-edge features like ultra-high-resolution displays, advanced eye tracking, and spatial audio, I believe there are valid reasons for consumers to be cautious about embracing this first-generation product, especially here in Utah.

Before you rush to plunk down $3,499 on an Apple Vision Pro, consider these potential drawbacks and concerns:

1. Prohibitively Expensive

Let‘s start with the elephant in the room: the Vision Pro‘s eye-popping price tag. At $3,499, it costs more than many Utahns‘ mortgage or rent payments. While wealthy tech enthusiasts and enterprise users may not blink at the cost, it‘s simply out of reach for the average consumer.

Utah‘s median household income of $74,197 is solidly middle class, lagging coastal states like California ($80,440) and New York ($72,108) where more residents can afford premium devices. For the price of a single Vision Pro, you could buy a high-end gaming PC, multiple game consoles, or several cheaper standalone VR headsets like the Meta Quest 2 ($299) or HP Reverb G2 ($599).

2. Privacy and Security Risks

Strapping on a headset bristling with cameras and sensors that continuously monitor your eyes, facial expressions, and surroundings raises serious privacy red flags, especially in Utah where we place a high value on personal liberty and freedom from surveillance.

While Apple assures that all data processing is done on-device, the fact remains that the Vision Pro is collecting an unprecedented amount of intimate information about your attention, emotions, and environment every second you wear it. That data could be highly valuable to advertisers, insurers, employers, and other third parties if it were to be compromised or subpoenaed.

Utah has some of the nation‘s most robust data privacy laws, codified in the Utah Consumer Privacy Act, which gives residents the right to opt out of data collection, access and delete personal information, and hold companies accountable for data breaches. Legislators and privacy advocates will undoubtedly be scrutinizing whether the Vision Pro‘s always-on sensors comply with the letter and spirit of Utah‘s strict consumer protections.

3. Health and Safety Concerns

Prolonged use of VR headsets has been associated with a range of potential health issues, including eye strain, headaches, nausea, and disorientation. The sensory discombobulation from engaging with synthetic virtual worlds can be physically and mentally taxing, especially for older adults or those prone to motion sickness.

Here in Utah, our high elevation, abundant sunshine and dry, thin air could exacerbate the severity of altitude sickness-like symptoms in some Vision Pro users. Our active, outdoorsy population may be less tolerant of extended screen time than more sedentary demographics.

The long-term effects of immersive VR on visual acuity and neurological function are still not well understood. Utah ophthalmologists and neurologists are urging moderation and frequent breaks, and some are even lobbying for mandatory product warning labels similar to the guidance on 3D television sets regarding potential eye damage to children.

4. Ergonomic Drawbacks

The Vision Pro headset looks sleek in product shots, but like any head-mounted display, it‘s still a bulky, cumbersome accessory. Weighing in at just under a pound (430 grams), it‘s lighter than some high-end VR headsets but still puts non-trivial strain on the neck and spine, especially with extended wear. The built-in speakers and eye tracking cameras add width, making it awkward to don and doff.

Wearing the Vision Pro for more than a short demo almost necessitates being seated or stationary, which isn‘t conducive to the active, mobile lifestyle favored by many Utahns. It‘s hard to imagine mountain biking, hiking, skiing or even running errands while wearing this contraption. Even the "portable" battery pack is another ungainly component to wrangle, effectively tethering you to an outlet when it needs recharging every couple hours.

5. Dearth of Compelling Local Content

While Apple has lined up an impressive array of launch content partners for the Vision Pro, including Disney, Paramount, Unity and Adobe, it remains to be seen how much of that content will truly resonate with Utah audiences. With limited VR development resources, it‘s unlikely that the initial wave of visionOS apps will cater to Utah‘s unique interests and attributes.

Sure, exploring immersive street views in Apple Maps could be a fun novelty, but will it include an interactive model of Temple Square or a virtual tour of Zion National Park? Can genealogy buffs access FamilySearch‘s unparalleled ancestral records and collaborate on their family tree in a 3D space? Will there be avatar-based meetups for Utah‘s vibrant tech and startup community? Until there‘s a critical mass of locally relevant experiences, the Vision Pro may struggle to gain a foothold here.

6. Lack of Compatibility and Interoperability

As with its other products, Apple is deploying the Vision Pro in a typically siloed, walled-garden ecosystem. If you want to use the headset, you‘ll need to commit to Apple‘s pricey hardware, proprietary software, and tightly curated App Store, with no ability to access content or services from other major VR players like Meta, Microsoft, Google, Valve or HTC.

This lock-in approach may rankle many in Utah‘s collaborative, open-source-minded tech community. Developers and researchers at the University of Utah, BYU and Utah Valley University have been innovating on platforms like OpenXR that prioritize interoperability and knowledge sharing over billionaire-controlled fiefdoms. They may chafe at being forced to play within Apple‘s opaque rules (and 30% revenue cut) instead of an open metaverse.

7. Uncertain Resale Value

The resale and trade-in market for Apple products has historically been quite robust, thanks to their reputation for quality and brand cachet. The same may not hold true for a first-gen, niche product like the Vision Pro, which has no established secondary market and likely limited appeal beyond early adopters.

As a personal mixed reality headset, the Vision Pro could be exposed to sweat, makeup, hair gel and other substances that may degrade the condition more than a typical iPhone or MacBook. The advanced sensors and displays are also more prone to damage if dropped or jostled during use or transport. Unlike a cracked phone screen, a malfunctioning LIDAR scanner or burnt-out micro OLED panel may be extremely difficult or expensive to repair.

Many Utahns pride themselves on being thrifty and extracting the maximum value from their devices through resale, trade-in, or handing down to family members. The Vision Pro‘s unique form factor and uncertain durability could make it a riskier investment than most Apple gear from a resale perspective.

8. Physical and Digital Security Risks

In addition to the aforementioned privacy concerns about data collection, the Vision Pro introduces several other potential security attack vectors. A fully immersive headset occupying your entire field of vision and pumping spatial audio into your ears effectively blinds and deafens you to your actual surroundings.

A malicious app or hacked headset could deliberately disorient or disable a user, leaving them vulnerable to physical threats or robbery. Imagine having your headset‘s display suddenly go dark or fill with flashing lights and loud noises while navigating the real world, leaving you incapacitated.

The Vision Pro‘s EyeSight outward-facing display, while touted as increasing social acceptance, could also be abused to give false impressions. A hacker could spoof someone else‘s eye movements and facial expressions on your headset, making you think they‘re paying attention when they‘re actually zoned out or looking elsewhere. It‘s not hard to imagine the dystopian implications, especially in professional or romantic contexts.

Utah has one of the nation‘s lowest violent crime rates, but that‘s no reason to let down our guard against emerging digital threats. As more Utahns adopt VR and AR wearables, we‘ll need robust physical and digital security measures to prevent a new wave of "identity theft" and real-world exploits.

9. Unanswered Questions About Long-Term Health Effects

Perhaps most concerning for Utah‘s parents are the potential long-term effects of children using advanced simulation tech like the Vision Pro. While Apple will surely implement some basic age restrictions and content controls, the reality is we simply don‘t fully understand how extended exposure to persuasive virtual worlds might impact kids‘ developing eyes, brains, attention spans, and social skills.

Utah‘s world-class pediatric specialists at Primary Children‘s Hospital and the University of Utah are just beginning to study the effects of VR/AR on children‘s health and cognition. Early evidence suggests possible links to myopia, ADHD-like symptoms, and social isolation, but far more research is needed to establish clear guidelines around age-appropriate content, screen time limits, ergonomics and more.

As a state, we pride ourselves on promoting healthy, active lifestyles and putting children‘s welfare first. Responsible parents will likely want to see much more conclusive research before even considering spending $3,500 on a Vision Pro for their kids to experiment with.

10. Philosophical Objections to Centralized Platforms

Finally, many Utahns are deeply skeptical of the growing power and influence of centralized tech companies, and believe the future of VR/AR should be a more open, decentralized frontier. Apple‘s history of exerting ironclad control over its ecosystem and stifling competition in the name of user experience doesn‘t sit well with Web3, blockchain and open-source advocates.

Utah‘s thriving startup community is at the forefront of building a more participatory, creator-driven metaverse, with companies like Transfr VR, Campfire and AjnaLens developing hardware and software tools for collaborative spatial computing. These innovators may be wary of one tech giant like Apple dominating the medium and deciding the rules of engagement for all.

Decentralized protocols like Decentraland and open standards bodies like the Open AR Cloud Association and the Metaverse Standards Forum are working to ensure that no single company can own the keys to our virtual kingdoms. Many Utahns would prefer a model where users and developers can easily move between and build upon immersive platforms without being beholden to Apple‘s whims and profit motives.

In conclusion, while the Vision Pro‘s debut has electrified the tech world with visions of a new spatial computing era, there are numerous reasons for Utahns to be cautious about diving in headfirst. The prohibitive price, potential privacy and security vulnerabilities, health and safety challenges, limited relevant launch content, walled garden approach, uncertain durability and resale value, and lack of long-term research on the effects on children and society at large should give us pause about Apple‘s initial mixed-reality offering.

As an expert immersed in the rapidly evolving AR/VR/XR industry, my advice to fellow Utahns is to curb your enthusiasm for the Vision Pro in the near term. By all means, visit an Apple Store to try a demo if you‘re curious. But for the vast majority of residents, it‘s probably prudent to wait and see how the tech, the app ecosystem, the accessories, and the societal impacts evolve in the coming years before considering dropping thousands of dollars on a first-generation headset, no matter how transformative its potential.

Utah has a rich history of pioneering new frontiers, from the original Mormon settlers to the digital trailblazers putting Utah on the map as a global tech hub. We‘re well positioned to help define the contours of the emerging metaverse in a way that reflects our shared values of innovation, collaboration, equality, sustainability, and human connection. If we approach the promise and perils of mixed reality with our eyes wide open, we can build a future that enhances our unique way of life in the Beehive State.