As a person that always geeks over new Tech and having a vested interest in digitalising the creative industries, you can imagine the excitement when I got to check out Apple’s latest release the Apple Vision Pro
Apple have been talking about releasing an augmented reality headset for some time now and only a few months ago it looked as though they were heading back to the drawing board; perhaps this was all a ploy to create chatter – if that was the plan, then it was perfectly executed as without Apple even saying anything media timelines were littered with articles, features and opinions on the new headset announcement.
The Vision Pro is Apple’s first step into what they call “spatial computing” and Apple are convinced that this is the future, so much so that they have filed more than 5,000 patents whilst developing the hardware.
Let’s get the techy bits out of the way; the headset is powered by dual-chip system, comprising of one Apple M2 processor alongside the new R1 chip – this chip has been designed specifically for the Vision Pro. What is so cool about this processes input is that from the sensors and headphones the aim is to increase the experience by reducing lag and avoid the potential of motion sickness. The design is sleek as expected from Apple and the chips power some very impressive-looking visuals too; a full 4k HDR Micro OLED display which over 2 panels the size of postage stamps provide 23 million pixels.
Coming back to the look; sleep and futuristic – a single piece of laminated glass sits on the front of the visor, behind this sits a bank of cameras and senses which scan and map the space around you. The frame is light and headset is modular which allows the user to best fit to their face and head.
So, what does it look like and what can the Vision Pro be used for?
Well, let me explain this – whilst the hardware is very cool, the success of Vision Pro in my opinion will be on the software. At the very heart of this technology sits Apple’s new spatial operating system which Apple has named VisionOS. This software is special as it handles the computation and blending digital content with the physical world.
So, imagine you have the headset on; app icons will hover in the space you are in (lets say the office or living room) these apps respond dynamically to the lighting and even casting of shadow – pretty epic. Now here is the clever bit: controls are handled by your eyes, hands and voice; what I am saying is here is that you can simply look at apps to scroll to them, tap your fingers to select items and use your voice to dictate text… totally unreal experience; note that the Vision Pro can be connected to other peripherals like magic keyboards and game controllers
Although the Vision Pro is labelled a hybrid reality headset, in the first instance this technology is designed for augmented reality; it will allow you to effectively live within a spatial world while remaining aware of the physical world around you.
What will you be able to do with Vision Pro?
From what I have been told you should be able to run apps, watch movies and even respond to messages. The totally mind-blowing aspect is when someone approaches you in the real world the headset’s ‘EyeSight’ feature will automatically turn the visor semi-transparent. Allowing others to see your eyes and for you to watch them back.
Last bit of geeking coming, VisionOS can create a digital avatar for you called a Persona; this character is created using machine learning and can map your facial experessions and hand movements by tracking them – Persona can be used for things like FaceTime calls as the headset doesn’t have a selfie camera. Personally, I would opt for Persona every single time.
As you can probably tell by now, I found it really hard to put the technology down and really excited for when it launches and becomes mainstream; but like most Apple products, this one will not come cheap. I hear that the headset will have a starting price of $3,499 and UK pricing isn’t available yet.
So the future has arrived, spatial computing will allow us to now increase our Phygital (physical/digital) experiences – Apple’s Vision Pro is the marker to a new entertainment experience, my opinion is that the price warrants the technology and as time progresses technology like this will become more mainstream and command commodity pricing.