During the keynote kicking off Apple’s annual developer’s conference, the electronics giant unveils its much-anticipated AR/VR platform expected to revolutionize future computing.

Spencer Chin, Senior Editor

June 5, 2023

3 Min Read
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Apple has finally unveiled its VisionPro mixed-reality headset, which the company expects will leverage its vast array of apps to change how computing is done.Apple

At this year’s Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, the electronics company saved its most significant and anticipated announcement for last─the unveiling of its headset for augmented reality and virtual reality, called Vision Pro. But Apple deliberately chose to avoid using the terms augmented and virtual reality in its presentation, instead using the term “spatial computing” to characterize the high-end headset as a potential game-changer for future computing, much the way its iPhone revolutionized mobile communications 16 years ago.

The Vision Pro headset has numerous innovative technical features that befit device that will cost $3,499 when it is available sometime in 2024. But much of Apple’s presentation focused on how the company perceives the product as being the enabler of new computing medium where users look through, rather than just look at a device, according to CEO Tim Cook.

Eye Movement and Recognition the Key

The Vision Pro headset is designed to allow users to interact with eye gestures, hands, and even their voice, although input from Apple devices such as MacBook computers can also be incorporated into the virtual environment. By creating a vast spatial environment, users are no longer confined to having apps located on a physical display, but instead can have apps anywhere and everywhere in the spatial environment.

With the help of advanced sensors that recognize the user’s eye movement, the Vision Pro OS relies on the user’s eyes to point to an app. The user can then tap his or her fingers to confirm selection. Or, the user can rely on Siri to open and close apps. The software’s use of eye recognition also functions as a security provision, that in conjunction with several other OS features is supposed to maximize security during all types of system uses.

A Super Multitasker

The ability to have all these apps readily available makes VisionPro headset the ultimate multitasker, enabling users to quickly access their productivity and business apps alongside messaging and personal entertainment and photos. Apple added that the Vision Pro headset can enhance functions such as videoconferencing and be a highly useful companion when traveling or working remotely.

Cinema-like Experience

Apple envisions the massive spatial environment created through VisionPro headset to allow the projection of photos and videos─including those captured on iPhones and iPads─into vast, lifelike panoramic views. This includes the ability to generate cinematic-like 3D experiences, for photos, videos and movies, and of course, gaming.

Vision Pro has already caught the attention of Disney, whose CEO Bob Igar appeared during the presentation to announce that Disney Plus will partner with Apple to produce streaming content for the mixed-reality platform.

While Apple seems to have covered many of the bases with its Vision Pro headset, the stumbling block is likely to be the steep price. At a starting price of $3,499, the headset costs considerably more than other AR/VR headsets. For instance, Meta, which in recent months has made the news for its business struggles, just last week unveiled its Meta 3 Quest VR headset, priced at $49. That headset replaces Meta’s 2 Quest VR headset, which has been available for $299 since its introduction in 2020.

The argument for Apple’s device is that it designed to be far more than a gaming device, instead allowing users already part of Apple’s ecosystem a new way to access Apple’s extensive offering of apps for personal and business use. The announcement of Vision Pro is likely to trigger a flurry of new applications that leverage the computing platform, increasing potential usability.

And, those whose doubt whether Vision Pro will take off could look at the iconic success Apple has had with iPhones, which despite some slack sales periods continue to generate buzz with each new iteration. And, Apple has throughout its history has had good success with other consumer devices that might have met with initial skepticism, such as the iWatch and iPod.

Spencer Chin is a Senior Editor for Design News covering the electronics beat. He has many years of experience covering developments in components, semiconductors, subsystems, power, and other facets of electronics from both a business/supply-chain and technology perspective. He can be reached at [email protected].

About the Author(s)

Spencer Chin

Senior Editor, Design News

Spencer Chin is a Senior Editor for Design News, covering the electronics beat, which includes semiconductors, components, power, embedded systems, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, and other related subjects. He is always open to ideas for coverage. Spencer has spent many years covering electronics for brands including Electronic Products, Electronic Buyers News, EE Times, Power Electronics, and electronics360. You can reach him at [email protected] or follow him at @spencerchin.

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