Apple has introduced its first mixed-reality headset, Apple Vision Pro, which lets users experience both the real and digital world in a “seamless” way. The device, which resembles a pair of ski goggles, is what Apple CEO Tim Cook claims is “the first Apple product you look through, and not at.”
The headset will cost USD 3,499 and will be available in the US market early next year, followed by other countries later in the year.
The Apple Vision Pro can be used for various purposes, such as a laptop, a TV screen, and a gaming platform. The device runs on visionOS, an operating system that supports “hundreds of thousands of familiar iPhone and iPad apps” that can be accessed by looking at app icons.
The Vision Pro is different from other headsets on the market, such as Meta’s Quest line. The Vision Pro can switch between augmented reality and full virtual reality modes using a dial similar to the crown on the Apple Watch. Aside from turning the dial, you can control the headset with your eyes or voice.
Augmented reality overlays virtual objects in the real world, while virtual reality creates a fully immersive environment. Apple claims the Vision Pro is the most advanced AR/VR device ever created.
Apple Vision Pro’s hardware
The Apple Vision Pro is a lightweight headset with a glass front, an aluminum frame, and a cloth-lined headband. This headband will be available in three different sizes to accommodate different head shapes and sizes.
It has dual 4K micro-OLED displays and spatial audio pods. And it runs on visionOS with an M2 processor and a new R1 chip.
To reduce the headset’s weight, it also has an external battery that can be connected to a power source. The battery is expected to last up to two hours.
The Vision Pro uses various cameras and sensors to track head and hand movements and record 3D video. These include IR cameras, LED illuminators, LiDAR, and traditional camera sensors.
For people who wear glasses, Apple partnered with Zeiss to offer optional optical inserts that can be used with the headset. The price of these inserts is not yet known.
The Apple Vision Pro lets you see and interact with virtual and real worlds simultaneously. It has a system called EyeSight that displays your eyes to those around you through an OLED screen facing out. If you’re in full VR, a glowing screen will obscure your peepers to let those in the room know you can’t see them.
The headset also creates a “persona” or a 3D avatar of your face that you use for video calls. Apple wanted to emphasize collaboration with the Vision Pro, so you can connect it to a Mac and use apps like Messages and FaceTime. You can also use spatial audio to arrange FaceTime participants as “video tiles” around the room.
Besides connecting your Mac to the headset, you can also use Bluetooth accessories like Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad for work. The Vision Pro supports Safari and Microsoft Office apps.
You can download more AR and VR software from the App Store for Vision Pro.
Capture memories, enjoy content
You can use the Apple Vision Pro’s 3D camera for recording videos with depth. There is an indicator to let others know when you’re recording.
Of course, it’s also designed for entertainment. It has a mode for watching videos on a huge 100-foot-wide virtual screen. It supports many games from Apple Arcade and can pair with PlayStation 5 or Xbox controllers.
Apple partnered with Disney to create new experiences for the Vision Pro, such as AR basketball and enhanced Disney+ shows. The Disney+ app will be ready when the headset launches.
What about security?
The Apple Vision Pro uses Optic ID, a new system that scans your iris to unlock and sign in. Optic ID data is encrypted and stored only on the device. Apple assures that your eye movements are not shared with any apps or websites.
A space for the Apple Vision Pro?
The Apple Vision Pro is potentially Tim Cook’s hardware legacy at Apple. It has supposedly been in the works for years and has gone through different iterations. Now, it will try to compete with Meta in the VR/AR market. However, the demand for this kind of tech is still unclear. The high price tag will not appeal to the average consumer. But Apple does have a knack for getting its loyal users to shell out money for its products. Only time will tell if the Apple Vision Pro will usher in the era of “spatial computing” that the brand hopes for.
There is interesting tech introduced into the Apple Vision Pro, so we’re happy to name it our Cool Tech of the Week! What do you think of this new Apple product?