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The Pros and Cons of the Apple Vision Pro for Lawyers

Stacked3Here is my recent Daily Record column. My past Daily Record articles can be accessed here.


The Pros and Cons of the Apple Vision Pro for Lawyers

As a self-professed technology geek, I’m often first in line to buy the latest and greatest new gadgets, especially if they’re in the Apple ecosystem. Even so, when the Apple Vision Pro was released last month, I balked at the price: a whopping $3,500. 

For that reason alone, I was determined to wait until the second-generation headset was released before investing in one. I held steadfast in my determination for all of four days. Then, after reading a few reviews and seeing videos of it in action, I gave in and headed to the Apple Store.

I’m now the proud owner of an Apple Vision Pro. I don’t regret my purchase, but after conducting a deep dive into Apple’s version of mixed reality (a combination of augmented and virtual reality) for the past few weeks, I would not recommend that most lawyers consider buying it at this early stage. Here’s why.

The app ecosystem is limited. As a result, like the iPhone when it was first released, the Apple Vision Pro has lots of potential, but much of it remains unrealized at this early stage. There are only a handful of practical apps designed for business use, but the ones available are very impressive. 

For example, Zoom. The video conference occurs in a virtual environment using my “persona,” a realistic spatial representation of my likeness, and it’s a very interesting, immersive experience. Over time I can envision how improvements to the interface will provide for a more realistic, interactive virtual meeting experience.

Another great business use case is the ability to display your Mac computer screen in front of you while wearing the headset. The virtual display is fully responsive and you can interact with it using your Mac’s keyboard and trackpad. Viewing a large computer screen in front of you is a very intuitive and immersive way to work and feels somewhat “next level.” 

That being said, another drawback is the eye, neck, and other discomfort caused by the weight of the headset and the virtual environment itself. Although the headset is very advanced, and far superior to most of its predecessors in the virtual reality space, it’s still fairly heavy. The weight of the headset can cause neck and face strain in many people, which will limit the amount of time you’re able to tolerate wearing it. Still others find the virtual environment causes them to feel nauseous. However, as the technology improves, many of these issues will disappear and make long-term use throughout the workday more palatable.

Cost is another major deterrent for most people. $3,500 is a lot of money for a headset that is first generation and a work in progress. Unless you’re a diehard early adopter like myself, it almost certainly isn’t worth the hefty price tag.

Even so, it’s an incredibly impressive piece of technology. The cutting-edge gestural interface is next to none, and allows you to interact with the digital content in three-dimensional space by tracking your eyes and hand movements, much like the scene from the movie “Minority Report.” 

The virtual environment itself is incredibly realistic and immersive. Right now, my favorite thing to do is watch movies and shows using the headset. You truly feel like you’re in a movie theater with a large screen, fantastic image quality, and incredible surround sound. The experience simply can’t be beat.

As the technology improves, more apps are released, and the price comes down, you’ll find that you’ll hear about it a lot more, especially for business use cases. Because you can have multiple apps open at once, pinned to different locations in your house, or your workspace, it will become the ultimate way to quickly and effortlessly interact with your data, documents, and colleagues. 

For most lawyers, it’s too early to invest in this technology, but in the near future - likely sooner than you might think - you’ll want to learn more about the potential offered by this technology, and might even be convinced to take a leap and explore all that it has to offer.

Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York attorney, author, journalist, and the Head of SME and External Education at MyCase legal practice management software, an AffiniPay company. She is the nationally-recognized author of "Cloud Computing for Lawyers" (2012) and co-authors "Social Media for Lawyers: The Next Frontier" (2010), both published by the American Bar Association. She also co-authors "Criminal Law in New York," a Thomson Reuters treatise. She writes regular columns for Above the Law, ABA Journal, and The Daily Record, has authored hundreds of articles for other publications, and regularly speaks at conferences regarding the intersection of law and emerging technologies. She is an ABA Legal Rebel, and is listed on the Fastcase 50 and ABA LTRC Women in Legal Tech. She can be contacted at [email protected].