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How to Give Insanely Great Apple Vision Pro Demo

April 26, 2024 · Milan Lajtoš
Apple Vision Pro, virtual reality, spatial computing, demo

I distinctly remember when I received my first VR demo – it was 2016 and a friend just got an HTC Vive. That demo was magical and since then I have given VR demos to hundreds of people using many different headsets. Eight years into my VR journey, I continue giving demos with Apple Vision Pro and here is my script…

There isn't any public information from Apple about their script, and to my surprise I haven't found any other script from owners. The in-store demo cannot be replicated 100% as they have companion app that can drive the demo, and they don't suffer from DRM problems.

0. Preparation

The usual demo I give is always one-on-one with the person and it takes about 30 minutes. This way I can give the person 100% of my attention and we can cover everything important without rushing through the experience. The ideal place is a well-lit room with a couch, and the person is sitting on my left side. I always go into the demo with full battery and headset freshly rebooted by reattaching the cable. When the headset is ready I make sure that my iPhone and headset are connected to the same network and that the Internet works. After this, I initiate the Guest Mode with view mirroring to iPhone (sound stays on headset) and all allowed apps and data. Then I put down the headset and clean lenses, front panel and bottom cameras with the polishing cloth.

1. Fitting

The last thing I mention before the headset leaves my hands is that the Light Seal (21W) is magnetically attached and the person should not hold the headset by it. I turn the knob of a Solo Knit Band all the way to loosen it as much as possible and give the headset to the person. People usually slide down the back of the strap way too much, so I always tell them that having it slightly higher is better. With a slight tap on the knob I let them know where they can tighten the fit to their liking. Now, people usually acknowledge how heavy the headset is. I tell them they are right, and that the right-sized Light Seal plays crucial role for comfort. I also mention that for longer sessions I use Dual Loop Band that alleviates front-heavy pressure.

2. Calibration

Eye and hand calibration process is straight-forward, but some people may struggle with it, so I always narrate what they are seeing and explain what is happening and what should they do. There are two important things that they need to understand. First, where the Digital Crown is, and second, how to do good pinch gesture. Second is much harder. At the end of the calibration process, it is good to sum up with note that „You just look at a button and pinch your fingers together to click it. You can rest your hands in your lap.“ There is an annoying Safety Dialog where they can immediately try it out.

3. Photos

App grid is automatically presented, but it is a good thing to teach the person that you can get (rid of) the app grid by pressing the crown. The first app that I tell them to open is Photos. Within Photos, they learn basic gestures like scrolling, pinch to zoom, resizing a window, dragging a window, closing a window, etc. I always make sure that they see all my photos in a zoomed out grid and scroll through it, showing thousands of little pictures flying by. Then I encourage them to stand up, take the battery and put it in pocket, and walk around the window and examine it from a close up. Even taking the window and walking with it. After this, when they are seated, I tell them to see Spatial Videos – I have a few where I pet my dog. They are mostly static, the depth effect is just right, and everybody loves dogs, so they are great choice. Then I send them to see many different Panoramas where they can experience immersion and won’t see their surrounding. Which is a good segue to the next part – Environments.

4. Environments

I explain Environments as visual noise canceling combined with a background. Many people want to see all options and just to look around, but some are not that taken away, so often times, I tell the person to open Safari and browse their favorite sites in multiple floating windows while sitting on top of Haleakalā, or near lake in Mount Hood. Throw in some Beautiful Things to spice up the experience. I always show them the Breakthrough function. We continue in the demo with environment turned off and all windows closed.

5. Dinosaurs

Encounter Dinosaurs is a beautiful example of interactive media — not a movie, not a game — something in between. The animals react to the person, and every person reacts differently to every moment. Some physically feel the butterfly on their hand, some would pet the small dino and call it a day, some freeze when large dino head-locks onto them, some are terrified of petting the large one, and the situations go on and on. For many people, this is the peak of the demo and I totally understand. It is also my favorite moment when giving the demo – seeing people being genuinely curious showing their inner child and seeing their wonder always makes me happy. As the portal closes, the demo reaches its grand finale.

6. Immersive

Due to copyright protection, you can’t mirror the view onto iPhone and watch copyrighted material, so I always end the demo in the TV app. I navigate the person to play the Experience Immersive trailer and then turn off the mirroring. What follows is a lot of wows, gasps and smiles. When the video ends, the scripted demo is over, they put down the headset and we chat a little bit about what they think.

7. Encore

If there is time and interest, for example with regular VR users or extremely curious people, we continue with the demo. Without putting it down because then they would have to do calibration again. And of course, only after we somehow reenable the mirroring to my phone. The selection of experiences and apps in encore heavily depends on the person, so I won't even try to name some.

One more thing, this script is just a skeleton, and good demo sometimes goes off the rails, in good and bad ways, so always be prepared to adapt to the person. Good luck!

8. The Perfect Demo

The description of the current demo isn't the one that would perfectly demonstrate of what this device is capable of. For that, you need two headsets. One for you and one for me. When we both see the same virtual content where it really is, the term "spatial" start to mean something more than when you are just alone. We can have meaningful interactions with digital content that is all around us in a way that is more humane than traditional computers. Sharing a file can finally be as easy as giving someone a piece of paper. Finally! We can look each other in the eyes and see our whole faces, no devices in sight & hands free. We could be in other parts of the world and interact the same way as we interact when we are in the same room. Physical distance start to loose meaning. The perfect teleporation device. That is the true aspiration of Apple Vision Pro. So far, it has been cosplaying only as a personal IMAX theater. This is just a beginning of a path with a lot of fruitful inventions, so get ready!