Apple’s highly anticipated Vision Pro is set to hit the market this Friday, but early reviews are already pouring in, and they’re not exactly favorable. One notable aspect of the VR headset that’s drawing criticism is its custom digital avatars, known as “personas.”
YouTuber Justine Ezarik recently posted a video on X-formerly Twitter showcasing herself FaceTiming two others using the Vision Pro. The reactions from viewers were less than enthusiastic, with many describing the avatars as unsettling and bad. One X user went so far as to exclaim, “Good God! This is horrifying.”
The negative feedback continued in the replies, with another user suggesting, “This is probably the best advertisement for using anime online identities lol.” The sentiment is echoed by various X users who share their discomfort with the built-in digital avatars.
Even seasoned tech reviewers who received an early sneak peek at the Vision Pro expressed similar concerns about the personas. Some users mentioned the avatars approaching the eerie “uncanny valley” territory, a phenomenon where human replicas look almost, but not quite, like real humans.
Apple markets the digital personas as “an authentic spatial representation” of the Vision Pro user, showcasing facial expressions and hand movements in real-time. The company employs machine learning techniques to map and recreate users’ faces for these avatars.
Despite the high-tech features, complaints about the unsettling appearance of these digital avatars persist. Wall Street Journal reporter Joanna Stern, after FaceTiming with her family using the Vision Pro, revealed that her sister bluntly commented, “You look awful,” while her father described the avatars as “frightening.”
Even with the avatars being labeled as in beta mode during the launch, some critics are surprised that Apple, with its reputation for innovation, hasn’t ironed out the kinks in the digital avatars, especially given the Vision Pro’s hefty price tag of $3,499. As the release date approaches, potential buyers are left wondering if the avatars’ unsettling nature might be a deal-breaker for the otherwise highly-anticipated VR headset.