A technology founder’s view on Apple’s Vision Pro and the opportunity it presents for agencies

I’ve watched many Apple keynotes and WWDC presentations over the years – some more exciting than others. But every now and again, something new comes along, and it’s fresh, intriguing and exciting. The Apple Watch is a good example of an interesting product that is innovative but won’t change how we think about technology. In contrast, the original iPhone completely reinvented a sector and changed consumer technology forever. During the Apple Vision Pro announcement, I couldn’t help but think, “This product has the potential to change the landscape. Is this another one of those moments?”

I’m excited about it because I trust in Apple's ability to execute. They are good at sitting back and waiting for the right time to enter a market. Obviously, they didn’t release the first-ever smartphone, and they even exclaimed, “We are not working on a tablet” several times before eventually releasing the iPad into a crowded market of devices.

It’s an interesting strategy and one that clearly works for them – waiting for the technology and the market to reach a level that makes a higher-quality product feasible. The first Android tablets weren’t great. The first VR headsets, the Oculus Quest included, are already feeling bulky and a little dated. To me, at least. In fact, I haven’t picked up my Quest in five or six months now despite it sitting on my desk. It’s a superb product, but once that initial excitement wears off, the clunkiness and the fiddly UI start to come to light and that creates an invisible barrier that prevents me from picking it up.

This is where I think Apple Vision Pro will probably be different. Historically, Apple has been good at taking something and refining it to the point where it really is a true consumer product that people can adopt at scale. The early reviews that I’ve seen from the lucky few tech reviewers that have used it are praising it as if it’s magic. And these are people who use cutting-edge technology all the time and aren’t afraid to flag a poorly executed product. Are we at a breakthrough moment for experiential devices and VR? I think we might be.

The focus isn’t gaming, it’s productivity and entertainment

I’d have to rewatch it to be sure, but I am fairly certain that the launch keynote didn’t mention gaming at all. This is the key difference in how Meta positioned the Quest  – it’s a gaming-focused device with some nice extras like 360º video and chat. If you’re not into gaming, it’s an expensive and perhaps fruitless investment. If you have enjoyed the games but have exhausted the library, then the device may have already reached its shelf life.

Meanwhile, Apple has made the same move that we saw with the iPhone and the Apple Watch. It’s not just a phone, it’s an “internet communicator”, a navigation device, a music library, and a gaming platform. It’s not just a watch, it’s a fitness partner, it’s a health monitor, it’s a safety aid, it’s even a torch if you’re desperate. In this sense, Apple Vision is a device with broader usage than the headsets we’ve seen so far. It’s an entertainment and productivity device that could effectively replace or complement your TV, your desktop computer, your iPhone and maybe your games console.

While I appreciate it's expensive, I do think it's a groundbreaking piece of equipment that could redefine the space. Remember, the first iPhone was $500 on top of monthly tariff costs, whilst other manufacturers could afford to position their handset as ‘free’. Was the price fair? Considering what it could do and how it could do it, I think it was. Is the Apple Vision fairly priced? I’d be keen to see a BOM analysis (bill of materials), but ultimately Apple is pricing this with value in mind rather than cost. So we’ll see.



An agency vision for Apple Vision

Like many agency technologists, one of my first thoughts is always, “How can we work with this?” Of course, there’s going to be a bedding in period for businesses and consumers. Businesses have to understand how to develop for the technology, and consumers need to adopt the technology. I feel like Apple Vision has the potential to be a mass-market business and consumer product – not quite at ‘iPhone level’, but definitely where relevant businesses have to consider it in their digital strategy.

There are already some great AR, VR and XR agencies out there, and whilst we are not 100% zoomed in on this one thing, we are a digital product studio, which means we must consider all kinds of digital platforms that our products may be used on. I believe that Apple Vision will change how we think about design, usability and interaction.

A tangible example of the adoption is website navigation. We began designing for desktop only, then a dedicated desktop and dedicated mobile site, before moving on to mobile responsive websites. Today, we’ve seen a 180º shift in how one informs the other, with many desktop sites adopting a mobile-first design approach to their menus. Now it’s not just about screen size but a different way of interacting altogether. Ironically, menu navigation is one of my bugbears of the Quest – it’s just not very easy, and I’m hopeful that Apple can solve this with eye-tracking.

A tangible example of one of our own projects is ITVX. We produced their design system from the ground up, and if we’d won that project in 2024 rather than 2022, perhaps there’d be an extra dimension to our design system alongside TV, desktop, tablet and mobile. What would the Vision element of a design system look like?

Who are the vision makers?

As design and engineering teams, we're always looking at how we evolve and adapt our approaches and processes to accommodate new platforms like Vision, so I think this is going to be a big opportunity for us to rethink a lot of our approach to interaction design. This is an opportunity for us to start thinking about visual design and user interfaces with spacial computing in mind. 

Our Lead Product Designers will be thinking about design systems and how we tailor these for eye-tracking and a spatial UI. Our Creative Director will be thinking about how we approach content and identity for virtual displays. Our Head of Technology will be thinking about the frameworks we could use, whilst our Software Engineers will be asking questions about our existing tech choices and how we will need to change what we use to work with Apple Vision. And our QA Engineers will be getting to grips with a new suite of devices in our lab and how we bake them into our testing process. 

Embracing the opportunity (and the geekiness)

At Kyan, we're all interested in this kind of technology, and we look at milestone moments like these as an opportunity to learn new things and build new products. Sure, there'll be a race to get our hands on the device, whether we buy it as a business or as individuals. But I expect that over the next year or two, there will be many conversations around how we like to use Apple Vision, when we don’t like to use it, what works well, what doesn't and ultimately, how we build products for it.

Some of those conversations will also be with clients too. It's an exciting period of innovation and change, and we love it. It’s not just an opportunity to geek out on new tech but also to educate our clients and be ready for their ideas – if and when they come.

Ultimately, until we see the adoption curve and whether businesses are ready to invest in a whole new product line, it'll be an interesting period of waiting to see what's going to happen.

Is Apple Vision’s launch another one of those milestone moments? We’re going to have to wait and see, but I’m certainly excited about it. If anyone can do it, Apple can.