Apple makes its AR/VR headset official with the Vision Pro
You strap it to your face. It has wires and external battery pack. It costs $3,500.
Apple has finally unveiled its long-awaited augmented reality headset, the Apple Vision Pro, at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).
The $3,500 device is Tim Cook’s signature addition to the Apple lineup, making it one of the most significant announcements of the event and, who knows, most likely his career.
The Vision Pro headset is what you’d get if ski goggles and an iPhone had a wild night, resulting in a mind-blowing fusion of spatial computing shenanigans.
The Vision Pro is primarily focused on AR but can switch between AR and full VR using a dial – talk about having your cake and eating it too.
The headset runs on an M2 chip paired with a new R1 chip for video streaming, boasting micro-OLED displays that are sharper than a tack. Apple even teamed up with Zeiss for custom prescription glass inserts, so glasses-wearers won’t feel left out.
While this fancy headset isn’t exactly meant for casual strolls outdoors, it does have some impressive features.
EyeSight, a front-facing display system, reveals your eyes to others in the room, creating an “authentic representation of you” on the curved front glass. Your face scan also becomes your avatar, giving everyone a taste of your digital doppelgänger.
Breaking down what we learned at WWDC 2023
|Features / Specifications||Description|
|Display||Micro-OLED, 4K resolution for each eye|
|Chipset||M2 chip and R1 chip for video streaming|
|Frame||Aluminum frame with curved glass front|
|Design||Ski goggles-like design, flexible strap, light-sealing visor|
|Audio||Built-in audio pods with spatial audio|
|EyeSight System||Front-facing display that reveals your eyes to others in the room|
|Operating System||VisionOS, designed for spatial computing|
|Controls||Eye-tracking, voice commands, hand gestures|
|Compatibility||Microsoft Office apps, WebEx, Zoom, Disney+, Apple Arcade|
|Battery Life||Up to 2 hours with an external battery pack connected via a cable|
|Prescription Inserts||Custom Zeiss prescription glass inserts|
|Camera||3D camera for capturing “Spatial” photos and videos|
Interestingly, Apple seems to be pitching the Vision Pro as a work-first device. Email and Mac desktop projection take center stage over gaming, which makes us wonder if Apple is secretly trying to avoid creating a touchscreen Mac.
The Vision Pro runs on VisionOS, a new operating system designed specifically for spatial computing.
And if you believe Apple, it’s got a whole bag of tricks up its sleeve, just waiting to blow your mind. Here’s what they are prepping us for:
- FaceTime: You can arrange FaceTime participants as “video tiles” around the room using spatial audio.
- Mac desktop projection: Users can bring a version of their Mac desktop into the virtual space in front of them.
- 2D and 3D photo and video capture: The built-in 3D camera allows users to capture “Spatial” photos and videos. The device also supports capturing and reliving 180-degree video while inside the headset.
- Educational features: Apple demonstrated several educational apps, including astronomical and health apps, as well as one for music creation.
Despite its hefty price tag, Apple Vision Pro is not expected to have mainstream appeal just yet. It’s more of a playground for early adopters and developers, but it could pave the way for more consumer-friendly VR products in the future.
As we explore Tim Cook’s bold vision of spatial computing with the Apple Vision Pro, it’s evident that the device offers promising features. However, its true impact and success in the competitive tech world remain to be seen.
The Apple Vision Pro is set to be available early next year, starting in the US market with more countries coming later in the year.
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