Apple held the most awaited Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) on 5th June 2023. There are so many updates on both hardware and software ends. New 15-inch MacBook Air, iOS 17 and macOS Sonoma are among other updates announced in the event. The one last thing – Apple’s Vision Pro – is the costliest augmented reality headset announced with $3499. Whether this Vision Pro will revive the dying AR/VR world and succeed other competitive AI stuffs are the questions in everyone’s mind now.
Apple’s Bet on Vision Pro
While the AR/VR headset was expected, it was surprising that Apple did not use the word AI for a single time during the entire 2+ hours event. You could hear M1, M2, predictive, neural and machine language, but not AI or generative AI. This is when Google and Microsoft are fleshing their muscles and pushing AI to the next level with their services. Apple’s bet on Vision Pro is the riskiest move while everyone is investing in generative AI stuffs.
At this point, there are also not many companies offering VR headset in the market. Though Meta has its Meta Quest Pro VR headset, the company is out of its metaverse world and laying thousands of people to focus on productive work.
Vision Pro Creates Virtual Space
Vision Pro is a 3D camera you can wear with the head band holding the device from the back of your head and glass display covering your eyes. You can control the device using eye or hand gestures and with voice inputs.
As Apple shown in the event, after wearing, the device will show the home view with set of apps. You will see the familiar set of apps like Safari, Messages, Mail, etc. used on Mac and iPhone.
You can see them in spatial computing mode with infinite space. This means you can enlarge the size of the app windows to any scale and adjust the distance from you in three-dimensional space. It is also possible to create immersive environment to work with apps just by sitting in the couch of your room. You can highlight apps with a look and select them by pinch and scroll of fingers.
Good part is that your eyes are still visible to someone when they look at you. This will allow you to interact with people while wearing the device.
Technical Specifications of Vision Pro
The technology behind Vision Pro is amazing and Apple might have spent huge time and investment in making such a device. Vision Pro processes input with dual M2 and R1 chips from 12 cameras, five sensors and six microphones all located within the small device. Apply claims that Vision Pro has micro-OLED displays with 23 million pixels which is more than a 4K TV for each eye.
The device uses spatial audio system with speakers located nearer to your ears. It also uses audio ray tracing technique to analyze the materials and matches the sound for your surroundings. The only problem with Vision Pro is the power cable that hangs from the head connecting to the power source. It seems the device supports 2 hours of external battery, otherwise, you need to connect to the power source while using. This will be an annoying part for many and also limit the space you can move when connected to power.
Price of Vision Pro
Apple mentioned the device will be available by next year in United States and subsequently in other countries. The price of Vision Pro is tagged as $3499 which makes it one of the costliest products in the market. The current price of Meta Quest Pro VR headset is $999.99 which is more than three times cheaper than the Vision Pro’s price.
Will It Work?
Undoubtedly, Apple Vision Pro is a cool VR headset which you can use to watch movies in a virtual space while in an airplane or play 3D games in your house. It will also be super helpful for business owners and designers those have plenty of things to manage independently. However, when you want to discuss with friends, colleagues or managers, wearing a device on head may not work at all. With many people wearing glasses for eyesight, it is not clear how Vision Pro will work for those having vision problems.
With such a high price tag, I don’t think Vision Pro will ever change the way we do work or interact with people. It also may not be the product Apple will cherish for decades like their iPhone, Mac and iPad.