Vision Pro-fessional: day one at work

Vision Pro-fessional: day one at work

Work can be a very personal thing – we all work at our best in different ways, in different shaped teams, increasingly in different places. For me, I've spent nearly a dozen years working mostly where I want, with who I want, how I want.

My most meaningful work is split in two places:

  1. Flow work: getting into a deep state of thought about interesting ideas and tricky challenges. I'm alone, I want minimal distractions and maximum focus.
  2. Teamwork: Collaborating around ideas, improvising new solutions, making things happen.

Unsurprisingly, Vision Pro is better for one of these than the other.

A useful comparison point is the iPad. When the iPad Pro came out, I made great efforts to see if I could make it my primary work machine. I liked the idea that limited multitasking forced me to focus on whatever was immediately in front of me and nothing else. Less clutter, fewer distractions, more flow.

In practice, this worked well – until you hit an inevitable obstacle: anything with big spreadsheets, anything that requires specialist software, most video calls (as you can't multitask and video call still.)

Any of these would send you either tunnelling back to a Mac via remote desktop and whipping out the MacBook. At which point, you wonder why you're dragging this extra lump of hardware around anyway.

In a work sense, the Vision Pro chooses a fundamentally different starting point: it begins with the Mac at the centre. Yes you can use apps without it – but let's be honest, you have everything you really need on your Mac desktop, and Vision Pro just improves the one thing that's usually a frustration: screen space.

It's what surrounds this solid core that I've really enjoyed for work. I can have my Albums app for music floating off to my left. Discord, with my team channel, is just behind my Mac monitor. I've got a couple of pictures of my kids in life size just over to the right. And behind it all is a broad, deep, serene lake, surrounded by trees, topped with a fine mist and a mountain peak in the distance.

FantastiCal sits over to my right and I pull up the email app to quickly send emails when I want.

It's just a nice place to work. I like it here. And I like that I can bring it with me wherever, I go. Standing and working is super easy. Moving rooms so my wife can use the desk is super easy.

And everywhere I go, the work flows.

Now, teamwork. In Discord, we have a "hangout" channel where everyone tunes in for chat and a bit of company throughout the day. It's a nice way to feel part of a remote team. And it's really nice seeing my friends' heads in large scale in Vision Pro.

However, to them, my face is an abomination. Even more so than usual. Nobody liked the look of my Persona. Everybody commented on it. To be honest, I don't really mind, I think it actually looks INCREDIBLY expressive, more than any virtual avatar I've ever seen. And I think they have nailed the EYES. And bet big that that is a huge part of communication.

On this topic though, fundamentally there's a much much easier solution for video calls.

You take it off.

It's so easy to spring it on and off – especially because your laptop is usually with you at the core of the experience. So for our big team call, I just took it off. It's such an obvious and simple way to show a bit of respect and give people your real face. And the rest of the time, it's an ok compromise that I think works better than it has any right to.

Other thoughts and observations from day one:

  • I'd really like them to include some kind of keyboard recognition like Facebook have in Workrooms. It stops me from extending the immersive environment as far as I'd like.
  • Cursor flow between a Mac monitor and Vision Pro apps works beautifully well. Seamless.
  • The temptation is to want to make screens really really big. I actually find it more impressive and comfortable to make them medium sized and much closer.
  • By 12:45, I had a BIG OLD HEADACHE. I think (totally unsurprisingly) breaks are really necessary. That's probably true anyway with monitors and it's a good thing that's likely to make me set timers and step away from the screen more regularly. It also makes me wonder how I decide when to work in here and how not to. TBC.