After years of development, this Monday (05/06/2023) during WWDC 2023 Apple finally unveiled its long-awaited AR headset: the VisionPro. This ad brings to mind the iconic moments of yet another thing from Apple’s past.
Unlike the supposed Apple Car, one thing is certain about the Vision Pro: it’s real and it’s here, but we can’t predict yet whether it will be successful. While introducing the new headset, Tim Cook highlighted the freedom it offers by removing the limitations of traditional displays.
Apple is placing a heavy emphasis on augmented reality rather than virtual reality, introducing a concept they call space computing; this innovative approach allows users to interact with the computing user interface in a new and engaging way, similar to using a mouse or trackpad.
An immersive experience (even for those who wear glasses)
In terms of design, the Vision Pro resembles ski goggles and is intended primarily for indoor use, the headset features an aluminum frame, curved glass and convenient buttons for capturing and adjusting images. To ensure a comfortable fit and block outside light, it comes with a flexible strap and a visor that extends from the display to the wearer’s head. Furthermore, integrated audio pods provide spatial audioenhancing the immersive experience.
Under the hood, Vision Pro is powered by M2 chipalong with a new one R1 chips dedicated to video streaming. The micro-OLED displays offer impressive pixel density, and the three-element lens enhances imaging from all angles. In partnership with Zeiss, Apple has also introduced custom eyeglass inserts for eyeglass wearers.
Work and play
Interestingly, Apple seems less interested in VR and more focused on work-related applications. Rather than emphasizing games, the company highlights features like email and projects a version of the Mac desktop in front of the user.
The matte display creates a dark room effect, and 2D photos taken by iPhone are heavily promoted. The headset also includes a 3D camera for capturing spatial photos and videos, as well as a cinematic mode for a bigger screen illusion.
Disney is the first content partner for Vision Pro, with Disney+ available at launch. This partnership indicates promising future experiences.
The Vision Pro it will work with Microsoft Office apps and popular teleconferencing services like WebEX and Zoom; existing iOS and iPadOS apps will be compatible with VisionOS and Apple is launching a dedicated App Store for headphones. The collaboration with Unity will also ensure advanced game development tools for a more immersive gaming experience.
VisionOS – the beginning of the era of space computing
Apple has developed a new operating system called Vision OS, specifically designed for spatial computation. Educational apps, astronomical tools, health apps, and music-making apps are among the available features.
A notable feature is View, which uses a front display to show your eyes to others in the room, this compensates for the opaque visor, creating an authentic representation of the wearer. The initial facial scan also acts as an avatar to represent you to others wearing the headset.
To address security issues, Apple introduces Optical ID (an updated version of FaceID that improves features like Apple Pay). It’s worth noting that camera data is processed onboard and Apple doesn’t record where users look.
Available next year – it won’t be cheap
Although the product is still in its early stages, Apple announced it to attract developers. The presentation showcased renders rather than actual experiences, as presenting a 3D experience in a 2D video poses its own challenges. The Vision Pro is expected to be available early next year at a price of $3,499.
Well, better start saving now, as this exciting AR headset is sure to enthrall tech enthusiasts and open up new possibilities in spatial computation. What is your opinion on the new Apple product? Do you take one? Be sure to let us know in the comments!
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