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Apple Vision Pro versus business class ticket

A friend asked me this morning whether Apple Vision Pro is a good enough substitute for business class airplane tickets.

The short answer is: no, especially not on red-eye flights. It will never be able to substitute the ability to lay down flat and actually have a good night’s rest. The “no” is more qualified for daytime trips. If you weren’t planning on sleeping anyway, you would probably be able to do a lot more on your Mac with an AVP in economy than without one in first class. That qualified “no” turns into a qualified “yes” for shorter flights in business class — say, American coast-to-coast — where you don’t even have the option of laying down flat and even if you did there isn’t much time for sleep even on a red-eye.

Keep in mind that a cross-Atlantic business class ticket is more than twice the cost of an AVP, and once you spend the money on it it’s all gone. You get to keep the AVP, and even use it on land. Ben Thompson has made this point several times on Dithering, and even had an episode called Vision Pro on a Plane. He also noted that the number of people able to afford AVP but still regularly fly economy is small, but not zero. I can confirm, as I am one of those people: I have taken more flights in the first two months of this year than all of last year, and will take many more in the months to come, so the investment was worthwhile. Your own milage may vary.

P.S. I can confirm that you can charge AVP while in use. The battery seems to have been designed for that very purpose, since the UCB-C charging port is on the same side as the cable going to the headset so that you can have two cables on the same side of the battery while it’s in your pocket. And even economy seats have power outlets these days, unless it is a very short flight where battery life wouldn’t even be an issue.

P.P.S. A great thing about AVP is that it isn’t a large electronic device, so you don’t have to put it away during takeoff and landing. In fact, an interesting use case would be for people afraid of flying. I imagine the fear is elevated during takeoff and landing, and wouldn’t it be nice if they could watch a movie at Joshua Tree instead?

P.P.P.S. If you are to bring an AVP onto a plane for purposes of entertainment, one thing to remember is pre-downloading things you are going to watch. It is amazing that we can text and surf the web while flying, but in-flight internet is bad for anything else.

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