Design Talk: Apple Vision Pro
Join us as we talk about the Apple Vision Pro—from the industrial design heritage to adding tools to your workflow arsenal.
Industrial Design

KEN TOMITA (Grovemade Co-Founder, Head of Product): Let's start with the industrial design then. I know they used a lot of expensive components. They're using the best of everything. That's why it's so expensive, and even then it's still kind of visually bulky.

SEAN KELLY (Lead Designer): It feels to me like they pulled in people from every single team at Apple to work on this. You've got the Apple Watch dials on there. You have the headphones, you have the glass research and the machined metal frame, like chassis, and you have the soft goods side of the business as well.

Iterations & Evolutions
Sean: It feels like it was a group effort, like everyone pulled together and brought in the best elements of every single product they make. It's kind of Frankenstein, but it brings in the best elements of every product that they make and tries to put it into one product.

It reminds me of what we do, where a lot of our own inspiration is the work our own brand has done in the past. Apple's very good at that. Sticking to their signature aesthetic and the style.

Sean: I'm seeing the headphones here, I'm also seeing the Apple Watch here. I'm seeing the smaller headphones here and the battery pack case for the iPhone, that bulge going on there. The dial, headphone strap.
Ken: Sean is doing it in his head! He's like a design dictionary. There's even some of the vibes from that case they have for the AirPods Max.

Sean: It's like an over molded soft touch plastic leather-ish kind of material.

Ken: The strap is beautiful.
Spatial Computing

NICK LAPLANTE (Director of E-Commerce): I'm curious—why would you still be at a giant desk?

Ken: Sure. So I think, let's say zoom ahead 10-20 years and this kind of technology is just normal like a smartphone is today. I think people will still have a physical place where they work. It's similar to today—some people like to work on the couch or their kitchen table. I don't think the idea of a workspace will completely disappear.
Some people want a dedicated room to go to. A place that has their analog tools—pen and paper—is not going to die. Despite our best efforts, they're still going to have some bills that the IRS sends them or something. Paper, shelving, those are going to exist.

How the desk will evolve if you don't need to write on it is going to be interesting. It might not be that different though. Desks were invented before there were computers, but did they look that different?

Nick: It makes sense you'd still orient relative to some physical objects when you're doing this digital stuff.

Ken: Of course there's going to be an in-between era where, just like in this image, those people still use their laptops, still use their tablets, still use pen and paper. And this will start a process, the virtual will be the best way to do certain things, but not everything. That's going to go on for years.

It reminds me of that scene in Minority Report, where he's throwing stuff up on the screen and swiping through and pulling things out. When are we going to get the Apple Vision Gloves that you wear with it? That's what I want to know.

Lead Product Designer
Bridging the Physical and the Virtual
Ken: Like even now, tablets are new. Smartphones are new. Computers are not. A lot of work is still done on a computer. Trying to use an iPad as a primary device is actually kind of brutal for certain kinds of work, like spreadsheets and stuff. I think there are going to be years and years and years of transition. People are using both. But is the keyboard going to die someday? The physical keyboard?

Nick: A keyboard is interesting because it bridges the physical and the digital world. So thinking of the feedback cues that you get from typing, or from a phone screen, but can you get that on a hologram? You know what I mean?

Sean: You need gloves that have the keycaps in them, so when pushing your fingers down it clicks.
Ken: Voice-control is also huge. My brother came over, and I thought he was talking to me, but he wasn't. He was talking to his phone and texting people. I've struggled to adopt that, but he does it all day. He's just talking, talking, talking and he doesn't type into his phone.

Sean: It's hard for me to talk through my thoughts. I have to type them because I get lost sometimes.
Ken: Let's say dictation inputs gets really good, but creative people will still be like, "All right, that's good for some things, but some things I need to type." It's a different mindset.

Just like right now Chris Do (Founder of The Futur) was like, yeah, I'm aware that computers exist, but I choose to write on these notecards for hundreds of hours because it's using a different part of my brain. (You can find our whole conversation with Chris as part of our Note-Taking Kit design article. Read more here.)
More Ways to Find Your Flow
Ken: What's cool about technology is that it increases your options. So there's voice dictation, there's VR, there's just more. There's going to be some things where this new technology is better, but we don't lose the old stuff. So people are going to be able to pick and choose what input style works best for the way they want to work.

Nick: Yeah, it's interesting too, if you think from a device standpoint: if there's a well-defined enough niche and if there's enough value in having a specialized device for it, then it will exist. So the iPad for example isn't great for your sole computer, so you need a computer as well. But there are some things that are better on the iPad: hand writing, drawing, and so it creates its own need and facilitates better work.
Ken: Yeah, it's another thing. The iPad now is great because I feel in flow sometimes with the help of technology. If I've got my iPad Pro out and my iPad Mini and my computer and I'm sketching certain things digitally and analog, it feels good that the technology is removing these barriers.

Further Reading