Technology as Writing Aid

Some of you may remember my post last summer where I raved enthusiastically over the announcement of Apple’s Vision Pro, its augmented reality headset.

Unlike most of the hoopla surrounding the announcement—even Apple’s own promotional stuff—I immediately thought of the Vision Pro (now rebranded as simply Vision) as a productivity tool.

My First Impression

Well I finally got my hands on one on release day, February 2. Here’s how it went.

UPS delivers my package, and I eagerly tear the box open. As always for Apple devices, the Vision is beautifully packaged. But what’s this? Tucked neatly into the top of the box was something I haven’t seen in years.

A user manual. The manual was short and had lots of pictures, unlike user manuals of the past.

I was really glad it was there, because unlike most buyers, I bought my Vision online, completely forgoing Apple’s recommended stop at the Apple Store for a fitting.

But the Vision fit perfectly, right out of the box. I logged in to my Apple account, set up my passcode, and the Vision took over the rest of the set up process by connecting with my iPhone. Easy as pie.

Not All Was Rosy

I was less than enthralled by the mid-air keyboard, which seemed pretty jumpy. I couldn’t type at all. Which put an end to my productivity dreams. I thought, “Hmmm, I know there’s an operating system update. Maybe that will fix the problem.”

I no longer had to worry about the jumpy virtual keyboard because the update froze my Vision.

At the time, the user could not reset the device. So I made that trip to the Apple Store I had so smugly thought to avoid.

A Long Day at the Apple Store

Six hours and seven techs after my appointment started, the Apple Store finally admitted they couldn’t reset it either. They gave me a new one.

They desperately wanted me to open the second box and let them fiddle with my new Vision, making it pitiably obvious they hadn’t had much hands on training with it. I declined and took my prize home.

Uhoh. Not Again?

Alas, the new Vision had wonky display issues too. I returned it the next day, necessitating another trip to the Apple Store, which is 45 MILES from my home. This time, I declined a replacement.

But that night and the next morning, I found myself pouring over the online reviews and I realized I would never be happy if I didn’t try one more time. But I figured the inventory in the store I’d been to twice probably all came from the same production lot and probably had the same wonky software version.

I Couldn’t Resist the Siren Song

I decided to try a different store. This one was a mere fifty miles from home. (Note to Apple. Why is the nearest store to me 45 miles away while there are TWO stores less than ten miles apart? And another one a few miles further on? And then another one.)

Anyway, I arrived at my newly chosen store and received immediate, friendly service. They were surprised when I told them I planned to use it for a productivity tool. “Huh,” they said. “First time we’ve heard that.”

I shrugged and took my prize home.

An Amazing Experience

Third time’s the charm. The device worked perfectly, and even had the upgraded operating system already installed. The display was rock steady, and as enthralling as the ads show.

Crisp. Clear. Sharp as the edge of a knife. Totally gorgeous.

I don’t even have words to express it. It made me gasp when I saw the moonscape, and I’ll even admit to shrinking back an inch or two when the gigantic dinosaur stepped right out of the frame and gave me the evil eye.

But I’m not interested in sitting on the moon or flirting with a dinosaur. The next thing I did was download Word.

But Is It a Productivity Enhancer?

I opened my current manuscript by connecting to my Mac. It was, as promised, a one click process. The display was amazing. I positioned it directly in front of me and made the document huge. I also opened my progress tracking spreadsheet, my email program, my KDP sales dashboard, and iMessage, each in its own display in front of me. I could jump from screen to screen as needed simply by moving my eyes. Oh man. This was so cool.

Suddenly, the need for multiple displays didn’t confine me to sitting at my desk. I left my office, dragging all my open windows with me with a pinch of my fingers, and sat on my couch with Molly, where I spent the afternoon happily writing away in mid-air while she snoozed on my lap.

I more than accomplished my daily writing goals. Although the bridge of my nose hurt like mad from the weight of the device pressing on it, I didn’t feel a bit of eyestrain, a huge problem for me on most heavy writing days.

I will soon try the other device strap Apple provides, called the loop. Rather than allowing the full weight of the device to sit on your nose, this strap distributes some of the weight to the top of your head. I haven’t yet found the soft strap to be so uncomfortable that it motivates me to swap it out, although I will soon, if only as an experiment.


So, all in all, I love my Vision. When I first heard about it, I predicted it would be a huge boon to improving productivity, especially for writers. I stand by that prediction, although I suggest that unless you are a die-hard tech-weenie who doesn’t mind a few technology glitches, you might want to wait for next year’s model. Or at least a few more operating system updates.

About Sharon Ward

Sharon Ward is the author of the Fin Fleming Scuba Diving Mystery Series, which includes In Deep, Sunken Death, Dark Tide, Killer Storm, Hidden Depths, and Sea Stars. Rip Current, the seventh book, will be released in early 2024. Now available in audiobooks, ebooks and print.

Sharon was a marketing executive before becoming a novelist. She was a PADI certified divemaster who has hundreds of dives under her weight belt. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, MWA, ITW, and several other writing organizations. She lives near Cape Cod with her husband Jack and their miniature long-haired dachshund Molly, the actual head of the Ward household.


    1. Absolutely. I totally love it. As you know, I’m a big fan of technology that helps users be more productive and Apple nailed it. Plus it’s pretty cool for recreational use too, although after a day of working, my nose is ready for a break from the weight.

  1. I want one. But I don’t have the patience to deal with something so new. I’ll have to wait and maybe someday take the time to try someone else’s vision.

    As always, I’m impressed with your technical expertise.

    1. Thanks, Catherine. I think you’d love it. It practically sets itself up (if you have an iPhone or another Apple device.) I’d give it at least another few months so they have time to send out a few updates.

      If we’re ever in the same place at the same time, I’d be happy to let you try mine. (It comes complete with Guest Mode)

    1. I’ve always been an early adopter. I love exploring new technology and figuring out how it will help me accomplish whatever it is I’m trying to do. And usually I love troubleshooting, but I admit to being pretty annoyed with six hours at the store while tech support tried to fix it. (I told them when I went in that the software they needed to do the reset hadn’t been updated yet to support Vision. They finally called someone at corporate, and guess what? The software they use hadn’t been updated yet to support Vision.)
      PS It has been now

  2. It sounds fascinating and I hate to ask a stupid question, but how do you actually write. Do you bring your keyboard with you? Do you say it out loud? And I salute you for going to three different Apple stores!

    1. That’s not a stupid question at all. There are multiple ways to type. The Vision projects a virtual keyboard, and you can type on it by touching the keys or by looking at the key you want and touching your thumb and index finger together. Both are pretty slow methods if you’re doing a lot of typing, like trying to write a book.
      You can also speak and it turns your voice into words in the document, but sine I write better than I speak (which isn’t saying much) this is not a good choice for me.
      But I do have an Apple Magic keyboard, which is pretty tiny. It’s what I use to type on my MAC when I’m sitting at my desk. It connects to the Vision automatically using Bluetooth, and I type on it. It’s small enough to fit easily on my lap and still leave room for Molly.

  3. I’m actually more excited about creating virtual environments to wander through — since I’m writing historicals. Not yet in my price range, alas.

    1. Hmmm, I’m not sure users can create their own environments–yet. here’s a list of what there is (and even some of these are due in the next OS update.
      Fall Light
      Joshua Tree
      Lake Vrangla
      Mount Hood
      Spring Light
      Summer Light
      The Moon
      White Snow
      Winter Light

      But I love your idea. Wouldn’t it be fun to wander through Victorian England, knowing you just have to flick your eyes when it’s time to go home? And I would definitely create an underwater environment.

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