Apple Vision Pro: A Guide for Google and Android Users

Apple Vision Pro: A Guide for Google and Android Users

Essential Chrome for visionOS

Chrome. I need Google’s browser on visionOS even if it’s just the iPad version. That’s the thing I’m missing the most as a heavy user of Google apps since getting Apple Vision Pro.

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The Need for Chrome’s Features in Safari

It has nothing to do with the user interface and experience, and that’s coming from someone who only tolerates how Safari on the Mac feels compared to desktop Chrome.

Rather, I need access to the Chrome tabs open on my other devices and the Google Password Manager. The latter is available online, but is a manual copying and pasting process instead of having seamless autofill integration like on the iPhone. Then there’s not having my hundreds of Chrome bookmarks, but manually replicating my top ones has been less tedious than expected. (When we asked Google before the launch about its Chrome plans for Vision Pro, they had “nothing specific to share yet.”)

Google Services Accessibility and Performance

Besides Chrome, I’ve been able to access Google services in Safari and performance has been normal/desktop-class. YouTube Music is great and better than the main YouTube website where the touch targets are a bit small, especially in the video player.

Using Vision Pro with an External Display

I’ve been using the Mac external display integration quite a bit and have greatly enjoyed having a floating desktop, though foveated rendering is rather obvious on a big screen with a lot of tiny details/text. The fact this works so well (at 4K resolution) has greatly eased my transition to “spatial computing.” 

Virtual Keyboard Experience

I was very excited to try out the virtual keyboard as someone that cannot wait for laptops to have touchscreen keyboards. However, hunting and pecking with your forefingers is slow and the faster virtual option is looking at each letter and then tapping (thumb + forefinger). You can fortunately use your Mac keyboard to type in visionOS apps.

Display Quality and Augmented Reality Experience

In terms of the display, Vision Pro is high-resolution enough, but fidelity – or how it reproduces the real world – could be better. Apple’s passthrough experience, which provides the best possible augmented reality approximation today, simply isn’t bright enough. Your surroundings are too dim and unappealing. This was the case in the really bright Apple Store, and more so at home where I prefer to keep a darker office and now need more lighting. 

Challenges Using Other Devices with Vision Pro

The other issue is when trying to look at my Pixel 8 or Fold with Vision Pro. For the most part, you can’t read text. You can make out buttons to get by, but I’m using Messages for web rather than typing and replying on the phone. In that regard, I much rather use Vision Pro in virtual reality mode.

Screen Boundaries and Binocular Effect

Lastly, I definitely see the physical boundaries of the screen, which results in a binocular effect, but you learn to ignore it after a few minutes and are focusing on content.

Final Thoughts on Vision Pro Hardware

(My final hardware note is that the Vision Pro battery is a beautiful, monolith-esque object. I wish it were smaller and more smartphone-sized in shape for the battery life you’re getting, but it’s just a nice physical object to hold.)

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