What Oculus founder Palmer Luckey thinks of Apple Vision Pro
Palmer Luckey talks in a podcast about what surprised him about Apple Vision Pro. And what he would have done differently.
In the podcast, hosted by author and entrepreneur Peter H. Diamandis, Luckey talks about VR and the interfaces of the future, AI technology, the war in Ukraine, and his defense company, Anduril.
In an earlier Twitter conversation with Diamandis, Luckey said he had tried an earlier version of the headset. When asked what he thought of the unveiled product, Luckey said:
"I think that there's things that I would do differently if I were Apple. But they did basically everything right. They didn't do anything terrible. think Apple is going after the exact right segment of the market that Apple should be going after. Different companies have different products that are right for them to be building. I think if Apple had tried to go after the low end of the market, that would have been a mistake. They are taking the exact approach that I had always wanted Apple to take and really the approach that Oculus had been taking in the early years. When Apple launched the Vision Pro I retweeted a tweet of my own from 2015, where I said that before VR can become something that everyone can afford, it must become something that everybody wants, and I think that's the approach Apple is taking."
Luckey sides with Apple over controversial design
One thing that surprised Luckey was Apple's decision to use an external battery instead of integrating it into the headset. But he thinks the approach is the right one.
"To be clear, that is the right way to do things. And I was a big advocate of this at Oculus. Unfortunately, it was a battle that I lost in my waning years. And they went all in on putting all the batteries, putting all the processing in the actual headset itself and not just in the headset, but in the front of the headset itself, which hugely increases the weight of the front of the device [...]. The fact that Apple did that was something I was afraid they wouldn't do because it does look less cool than having it all in one kind of magical thing that you just put on your head. But getting the weight off of your head is so important, especially for the future."
Luckey believes Apple will stay true to this design because it wants to set a new expectation:
"I think the real reason Apple got the battery off of the head is not because this device couldn't have had a battery on let's say the back of the headset and been fine. It's because they are setting that expectation in people that it's okay to have it off of the head so that in the future they can add more processing, they can add more radios, they can add more batteries to an external puck rather than keeping it in the headset. Because that's what's going to allow the Apple device to become basically a thin pair of glasses. As long as you're keeping all your processing and all of your battery and power in the headset there's a limit how small it can be. And that limit is somewhere around the size of VR headsets, that you see today."
VR input offers more than just eyes and hands
A second highly controversial design decision Apple made was to eschew controllers in favor of eye and hand tracking. Luckey believes that sooner or later Apple will move beyond this minimalist approach.
"Well, it's no secret that I'm a big fan of VR input. I think that's probably one of the things I would have done differently than Apple. On the other hand, they have to have a plan for VR input that goes beyond just the finger inputs. I think they're they're taking a focused marketing approach, but I think they have a broader vision for the future than everything just being eyes and fingers."
You can watch the full podcast on YouTube. The video begins with the discussion of Vision Pro.