Apple Vision Pro on a plane — this Microsoft exec is blown away

woman using apple vision pro on a plane
(Image credit: Apple)

The Apple Vision Pro is the current hot topic du jour in tech right now, and groups of early adopters and the ultra-wealthy are posting their first experiences with Apple's $3,500 headset.

Microsoft exec Omar Shahine posted a few photos and thoughts about wearing one on a plane to his Threads account earlier this month, and they paint an interesting picture of what it's like to fly 7,000+ miles with an Apple computer strapped to your face.

As you might expect from an early adopter wearing his VR headset in business class, Shahine's comments about the experience are quite positive. 

"My Apple Vision Pro is connected to in flight WiFi and I am watching movies and browsing the web using the entire cabin as my screen," wrote Shahine from his seat aboard a plane enroute from Seattle to Dubai. "This is wild."

Post by @omarshahine
View on Threads

There are a few things we can glean from Shahine's firsthand account. First and foremost, the Apple Vision Pro has a travel mode that 's explicitly designed for use on airplanes. And according to Shahine, "you absolutely have to turn it on, [Apple Vision Pro is not] usable without it" on a plane.

Shahine also notes that he used a pair of Apple's AirPods Pro earbuds on the plane in conjunction with the Vision Pro, and that the bigger AirPods Max "would be super hard to use" with the headset.

Apple Vision Pro in use on a flight from Seattle to Dubai by Microsoft exec Omar Shahine in February 2024

A glimpse of what it's like to sign into inflight Wi-Fi on an Apple Vision Pro, courtesy of Microsoft exec Omar Shahine. (Image credit: Omar Shahine/@omarshahine)

What about comfort and battery life? Well, Shahine says the longest he wore the Apple Vision Pro was for "about 4 hours" at a stretch, and the only comfort issues he noticed were "some eye fatigue and internal glare in some of the dark theater modes." 

Presumably he was able to stay in the headset for so long because he plugged it into his seat charger, because we know from our own Apple Vision Pro review that the headset's battery pack won't last more than 2-2.5 hours at best.

Post by @omarshahine
View on Threads

Finally, we hear that using Apple's Magic Trackpad in conjunction with the Vision Pro isn't a great experience. According to Shahine, "it's a bit hard to use a keyboard and trackpad [with the Vision Pro] unless the display you are using is floating right above the keyboard and trackpad." 

Based on our testing, you are much better off pairing the Apple Vision Pro with a MacBook Pro, and then you can use the latter's keyboard and trackpad in the Mac Virtual Display mode. But we're guessing a Microsoft exec wouldn't want to be caught using one of the best MacBooks

These are just observations from an early adopter during the first weeks of use, but they give us useful insight into what we should expect from Apple's first AR headset in the year to come. And clearly, we should expect to see it out in public, because unlike competitors like the $499 Meta Quest 3, Apple's headset is specifically designed and tailored to be used out and about, in places as uncomfortable as an airplane seat.

Now, whether you'd actually want to risk lugging your $3,500 Vision Pro headset on a trip and breaking it out while scrunched into an economy class middle seat is another subject entirely. But clearly people are doing it, so expect to see even more uses of Apple Vision Pro headsets out in the wild in the year ahead.

More from Tom's Guide

Alex Wawro
Senior Editor Computing

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice.