Can the Apple Vision Pro replace a Macbook or laptop?

Will the Vision Pro usurp the trusty MacBook?

Can the Apple Vision Pro replace a Macbook or laptop? Image shows the Apple Vision Pro next to a Macbook Pro, with a green tick and a red cross, on a purple gradient background.

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The Vision Pro is Apple’s first new product category since the Apple Watch in 2015, and although it provides a powerful ‘Spatial Computing’ experience, can the Apple Vision Pro replace a Macbook or laptop? Arguably, the Vision Pro is one of the most exciting pieces of tech to hit the market since the launch of the original iPhone, and with its high price tag, it’s no wonder you’d expect a unique experience. Well, with the embargo now lifted, reviews are now showing us just how diverse of an experience the Vision Pro is. But is it a viable alternative to using traditional computing devices?

In this article, we’ll compare the Vision Pro and the MacBook laptop experience, weighing in on whether Apple’s powerful VR headset is capable of replacing its flagship laptop or if it’s more like a wearable iPad.

The Vision Pro vs the MacBook: how does it compare?

One of the main questions surrounding the Vision Pro is whether it can truly replace a MacBook or laptop. To answer that, we need to examine its capabilities and limitations. While the Vision Pro offers unique features like video calls, collaborative workspaces, and typing in a virtual environment, it’s not really intended for general-purpose computing. Firstly, the headset itself is not designed for prolonged use, as wearing it for extended periods can be uncomfortable and lead to nausea.

There’s also the matter of battery life, but even with equivalent specs to a Mac or laptop, the headset still won’t be able to compare in terms of power. This is due to having to render full 3D environments in 4K at 90 fps constantly, and not just once, but twice: one for each eye. Even the highest-end desktop GPUs have trouble with this, let alone a portable headset.

On top of this, there are also limitations of VisionOS, which is based on iPadOS. On this operating system, you’re only able to download apps from the app store – this fact alone clearly means the Vision Pro isn’t a full laptop replacement. While iOS-based devices can do most things a Mac can do such as video editing, Excel, and Teams, you can’t access or install essential tools for web development. These include Bash, npm, PHP, Javascript, and more, as Apple won’t allow terminal/root access.

So, while you can perform basic computing tasks from your Apple Vision Pro, it’s not a replacement for a Macbook or laptop but should be thought of as a companion device – as expected, Apple would rather you own both a Macbook and a Vision Pro. However, the Vision Pro does still provide more of a computing and productivity experience than other VR headsets such as the Meta Quest 3, and we’ll no doubt see the Vision Pro further refined over time.

Can the Vision Pro replace the MacBook for everyday tasks?

The Vision Pro is not designed for general-purpose computing and may not offer the same level of convenience and versatility as a MacBook or laptop. However, productivity is a clear aim of Apple’s headset, as shown across the marketing and various reviews of the device so far. With its integration of Excel, Teams, email, and web browsers, as well as a suite of Apple apps from the custom App Store, the Vision Pro should be able to replace the Macbook for the completion of everyday tasks as well as entertainment purposes. Of course, you still have to take into account that a VR headset is not made for extended periods of use, and you may experience eye fatigue and neck pains if you use your Vision Pro for too many hours at a time.

Will the Vision Pro work with existing Apple devices?

The Vision Pro is designed to seamlessly integrate with Apple’s ecosystem, allowing you to stream your MacBook and use the world around you as the display. However, compatibility may vary depending on the specific models and configurations of your devices. You can also use your iPhone 15 to record spatial videos for viewing on your Vision Pro. Luckily, it seems that you won’t require any other Apple devices to run the Vision Pro, as it still operates as a standalone headset.

Conclusion

While the Apple Vision Pro offers exciting possibilities for the future of computing, it is not yet positioned to replace your MacBook or laptop entirely. Its unique features and capabilities make it a compelling option for specialized tasks and industries, but it may not meet the requirements of everyday computing for the average consumer.

Marla writes across a wide range of topics across PC Guide, including AI, PC hardware, and news on the latest tech releases. She's a passionate writer that's interested in the future of technology.