Apple Vision Pro releases in the U.S. in just a few weeks on February 2, and that’s got me thinking about how I’d like to use Apple’s first foray into AR/VR (if I could afford one, at least).
Retailing for $3,499, the first iteration of Vision Pro is likely to be for the most serious of early adopters who’ll be the pioneers in testing Apple’s first new hero product since the Apple Watch launched in 2015.
A lot has been made of the immersive prowess of the Vision Pro that makes watching movies and TV shows better than ever before, but movie lovers looking to use the Vision Pro while traveling or away from a wall outlet may want to think twice before running to their local Apple Store.
I’ve found seven of the best films from the past few years that you won’t be able to watch on your next long-haul flight without external batteries to help you along the way. These films are some of the best Apple TV Plus movies the service has to offer, alongside major Academy Award frontrunners that are sure to be amazing experiences in Apple’s immersive headset.
So, if you’re looking to pick up a Vision Pro as a traveling cinematic experience, here are seven movies (or reasons) why you may be best keeping the headset for home.
Vision Pro’s battery life
Before we take a look at some of the films that are just too long to fit into a single charge of your Vision Pro headset, we first need to look at how long Apple Vision Pro can actually last when not connected to a plug.
Apple’s official product page says you’ll get up to 2.5 hours of video playback using “2D movie content purchased from the Apple TV app.” That’s roughly 150 minutes to watch any 2D movie on a screen that feels 100 feet wide. While there’s no exact wording for 3D video, Apple does say a single charge of “general use” will support around 2 hours of battery life. “General use” is defined by Apple as “video playback, internet browsing, spatial video capture, and FaceTime.” So basically, 150 minutes for a 2D movie or 120 minutes for a 3D movie, which seems at first glance to be enough to watch your favorite films but could quickly start to become an annoying limitation of the first generation of Apple’s AR/VR headset.
Avatar: The Way of Water (3D) — 192 minutes
The best place to start is with the very film Apple uses to showcase the amazing 3D movie capabilities of Vision Pro. Avatar: The Way of Water is made for 3D and is likely to be the perfect opportunity to test out the immersion capabilities of your new headset. Apple says 3D movies bring “amazing depth and crisp motion” allowing you to “watch the story leap off the screen like never before.”
But what if you want to watch Avatar: The Way of Water while on your next flight? Unfortunately, you’ll only get to see about ⅔ of the film before you need to find an alternative form of entertainment.
Killers of the Flower Moon (2D) — 206 minutes
Apple’s main Academy Award hope for 2024 is Martin Scorsese’s 3-hour-long epic starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, and Lily Gladstone. This is the kind of film that demands your attention, perfect for 2D viewing inside Apple Vision Pro.
After missing the film at the cinema, I’ve been waiting for Killers of the Flower Moon to release on Apple TV Plus, and luckily, any subscriber of the streaming service purchasing a Vision Pro will have access to the film from day one (set for release on TV Plus on January 12).
Killers of the Flower Moon is set to become one of the best movies on Apple TV Plus, but it’s just a shame that it’s too long to watch on Vision Pro without worrying about charge.
Oppenheimer (2D) — 181 minutes
When Apple Vision Pro was announced at WWDC 2023, the first use case that sprung to mind was watching one of the best films of 2023 in the most immersive way possible. Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer is one of the most anxiety-inducing cinema experiences I’ve ever had, and it is sure to be one of the best films to watch on Vision Pro. Shot in IMAX, I’m hoping we get IMAX viewing experiences from within Apple’s headset, and what better way to experience that than with this incredible piece of cinema?
Oppenheimer is looking likely to sweep the Academy Awards and is the frontrunner to win Best Picture, Best Actor for Cillian Murphy, and Best Director for Christopher Nolan. Those hoping to catch the movie in VR before the Academy Awards on March 10 will have to settle for a wired experience because even in 2D, Vision Pro won’t handle the runtime.
Napoleon (2D) — 157 minutes
The second of Apple TV Plus’ major movie releases of the last few months is Ridley Scott’s Napoleon starring Joaquin Phoenix. This entry is a little bit of a cheat, as film runtimes include the end credits, but at 7 minutes longer than Vision Pro’s 150-minute 2D battery runtime, I’m adding this fantastic film to the list.
Ok, you’ll likely be able to watch the whole movie untethered with Apple Vision Pro, but there is literally 0 room for maneuver, so if you opt for a toilet break or take your headset off to let your face breathe, you could end up running out of juice at the most pivotal of scenes.
I expect Napoleon to look fantastic on Vision Pro, especially with AirPods Pro 2 USB-C allowing for Lossless Audio — just make sure you don’t pause for a second or you might be stuck wondering what happens until your plane lands.
Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour (2D) — 181 minutes
I mentioned Lossless Audio above, but one film that is sure to be incredible in Vision Pro is the live performance of Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour at SoFi Stadium. As a huge fan of live events, Vision Pro is set to be an awesome addition for anyone looking to watch live sports, live concerts, or recorded and perfectly mastered ones like this film.
It’s no surprise Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour was one of the highest-grossing movies of 2023, and while it would be awesome to see the concert in all its glory on Vision Pro, you may be better off opting to listen to TayTay on Apple Music while out and about.
No Time to Die (2D) — 163 minutes
A slightly older selection for this list, but a fantastic blockbuster nonetheless that, you guessed it, is longer than 150 minutes. No Time to Die is Daniel Craig’s final James Bond movie and has a runtime of 163 minutes.
Without spoiling the latest James Bond release too much, this film made this list as the last few scenes of the movie are pivotal for not only No Time to Die but the James Bond franchise as a whole. So anyone opting to watch No Time to Die on Vision Pro better have power outlets at the ready; otherwise, you’ll fade to black. (Is this the incredible immersion Apple was talking about?).
Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame (3D) — 181 minutes
This list wouldn’t be complete without arguably one of the biggest 3D films ever made. Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame is the final part of the Avengers storyline, and while I’m not a massive Marvel movie fan, it could be one of the best 3D experiences on Vision Pro.
Another 3 hour movie, there’s no way you can watch Endgame on Vision Pro without extra power coming from somewhere other than the headset’s battery pack. Even if you opt to watch the film in 2D, you’ll miss the end of the fight against Thanos.
But should I be worried about Vision Pro’s battery?
Looking at Apple Vision Pro from a movie-lover’s standpoint, I think there are genuine reasons to be concerned about the headset’s battery life. When Vision Pro was revealed last year, Apple’s marketing showed someone immersing themselves in a movie while on an airplane. While that scene is likely to be a reality, it doesn’t come without caveats that may hinder immersion.
For starters, worrying about battery life while watching an unforgettable movie completely devalues the experience of zoning out of the world and zoning into your favorite films. Yes, Vision Pro has unlimited battery life when plugged in, and you’re likely going to be able to purchase extra battery packs, too, but for those looking to have a portable cinema, the battery may be the point of no return for the first generation headset.
Beyond our picks, analysis from 3DModels.org has found that five of the top ten movies on IMDB exceed Vision Pro’s advertised 2D video playback battery life, and one-third of the top 50 films of all time, according to the platform, exceed it, too.
This list has been made with a little tongue in cheek, of course, and if you want to watch these movies on Vision Pro, you can with some workarounds. But if you are looking for the perfect travel companion for a movie experience on the go, you might need to wait that little bit longer.
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John-Anthony Disotto is the How To Editor of iMore, ensuring you can get the most from your Apple products and helping fix things when your technology isn’t behaving itself.
Living in Scotland, where he worked for Apple as a technician focused on iOS and iPhone repairs at the Genius Bar, John-Anthony has used the Apple ecosystem for over a decade and prides himself in his ability to complete his Apple Watch activity rings.
John-Anthony has previously worked in editorial for collectable TCG websites and graduated from The University of Strathclyde where he won the Scottish Student Journalism Award for Website of the Year as Editor-in-Chief of his university paper. He is also an avid film geek, having previously written film reviews and received the Edinburgh International Film Festival Student Critics award in 2019.
John-Anthony also loves to tinker with other non-Apple technology and enjoys playing around with game emulation and Linux on his Steam Deck.
In his spare time, John-Anthony can be found watching any sport under the sun from football to darts, taking the term “Lego house” far too literally as he runs out of space to display any more plastic bricks, or chilling on the couch with his French Bulldog, Kermit.
One little problem with your strawman the vast majority of long haul flights have power at each seat so you can just plug in the Vision Pro.Reply