James Lileks
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Apple has a new product called the Vision Pro, a handsome set of goggles that makes pictures, movies, video chats and other activities appear to be right in front of you. It's like a big TV, except it's strapped to your head and follows you to the bathroom on commercial breaks.

It will sell for eleventy million dollars at launch, will be obsolete in two years and will cost $299 in three. Perfect for people who find themselves staring idly into space in the family room, thinking, "I wish there was an icon hanging in the air that said I have 9,432 emails. Sure, I could check my phone, but it's allll the way over there in my back pocket, and, man, it's been a long day already."

Do I sound like a naysayer? I am not. I never pooh-pooh these innovations. I might give a single pooh, but not the full double pooh, because naysayers are usually wrong when it comes to Apple inventions.

A phone, carried around in one's pocket? Why, when there are phone booths everywhere crawling with aspirated viruses shed by strangers? A watch that connects to your phone? Hah, what's next, an egg beater that connects to your fridge? (Now available on Amazon for $19.99)

I'll admit that the anti-virtual-reality people have a point, though. I have a love-hate relationship with VR, which is to say I love people who hate it as much as I do. The Metaverse, a creation of a humanoid called Mark Zuckerberg, was an expensive attempt to get everyone to lurch around in a janky cartoon universe. It's the future! You'll have work meetings where your boss is a unicorn floating on a cloud!

Oh, there are a few games that immerse you in realistic sci-fi stories — remember that scene in "Star Wars" where Luke is having a light-saber battle with Darth Vader, and he trips over his office chair?

Or you can visit a museum, except you can't walk around, you have to point and click to move in 6-foot increments. It's just like going to the museum, except a hook grabs you by the collar and flings you across the room into the wall.

The problem is the headset. Imagine you are wearing a brick, nestled in a sweaty marshmallow. You don't want to wear it more than 20 minutes, unless you're having your leg sawed off in a Civil War medical tent and really need something to take your mind off what's going on. But even then, after they were done you'd be glad you had that thing off your face.

The Apple device is different: You are not totally immersed in an artificial world. You can see the room you're in. Which means that if my wife ever wore it, I would find her scowling two minutes later.

"What's the matter? Don't you see the big screen floating in front of you with the tennis match, showing the sinewy champions excelling at their craft, each bead of sweat glistening in the crisp resolution?"

"There's a spider web up in the corner of the room."

In less than 10 years the Vision Pro will be no thicker than regular glasses and integrated into your daily life in ways that will seem completely normal. Walk past a restaurant, and the menu will appear in front of you so you can see what they have. Walk through the mall, and an item of clothing you might like will appear, with a special sale price.

Who needs that? you ask. I know, it's crazy — like thinking people want to carry around a little glass slab that bugs them every time their favorite celebrity posts an Instagram about eating a hot dog. Like that would ever catch on.