Updated: Jun 6
Apple has always been a company that pushes the boundaries of technology, and their latest product, the Apple Vision Pro, is no exception. Announced at the WWDC 2023, the Vision Pro is Apple's first foray into the world of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) headsets.
This article will delve into the key features of the Apple Vision Pro, compare it to other headsets in the market, and touch on the rise and fall of Google's AR glasses.
Apple Vision Pro: A Closer Look
The Apple Vision Pro has been described as having a slim, shiny, and decidedly Apple-like design. It resembles an iPhone stretched and curved to wrap around the eyes, with glinting edges and a glossy glass face. The familiar digital crown that Apple placed on the Apple Watch and AirPods Max rests on the side of the Vision Pro. The band is reminiscent of an Apple Watch band. A unique feature is that when someone is nearby, your eyes are revealed on the front of the headset. When you are immersed, Vision Pro shows that you are busy with a colorful view on the front of the headset.
The headset recognizes finger taps and allows intuitive control. Multiple screens are shown, along with what appears to be a remarkably clear and realistic view of your physical surroundings. 3D content can be grabbed and pulled out of a flat screen for manipulation. FaceTime allows you to see group calls with each person in a large virtual screen while you keep working on apps in your Apple Vision Pro. Panoramas captured with your iPhone can even surround you.
Apple Vision Pro will have over 100 games available on day one via Apple Arcade. Game controllers work with the Apple headset. Apple CEO Tim Cook also announced a partnership with Disney to create experiences the latter company’s Bob Iger called “previously impossible.”
The headset is powered by two chips, the superfast M2 chip for standalone performance and a new R1 processor for high-quality XR processing. This is dramatically greater performance than any other VR headset and opens up many more possibilities. VisionOS handles Spatial frameworks, a 3D engine, foveated rendering processor, and real-time renderer. This is an entirely new platform that draws from Apple’s diverse product line. The new visionOS App Store will use Optic ID iris verification for privacy and security.
The price is on the expensive side, with a staggering $3,500 cost that will sadly put this revolutionary product out of reach for most people. This makes it clear the Vision Pro is a product for early adopters, app developers, and corporations.
As confirmed by Apple at WWDC 2023, the Apple Reality Pro mixed reality headset will be available early next year in the US.
Comparison with Meta's Quest Headsets
While the Apple Vision Pro is a newcomer to the VR/AR market, Meta's Quest headsets have been around for a while.
The Quest 2, for example, is a popular choice among VR enthusiasts for its high-quality display, intuitive controls, and affordable price point. However, the Vision Pro seems to be targeting a different market. With its high price point and advanced features, it's clear that Apple is aiming for a more premium, high-end market, similar to their approach with other products like the iPhone and Macbook Pro.
The Rise and Fall of Google's AR Glasses
Google's AR glasses, known as Google Glass, were one of the first major attempts at a consumer AR product. However, they were met with a lukewarm reception. While the technology was impressive, many consumers found them to be too expensive, uncomfortable to wear, and lacking in useful applications.
Additionally, there were concerns about privacy, as the glasses had a built-in camera that could record video without the knowledge of those around the wearer. These factors led to Google Glass being discontinued in 2015.
Apple seems to have learned from Google's missteps. The Vision Pro is packed with features that make it more than just a novelty. It's designed to be a useful tool for work and play, with a focus on privacy and security. Only time will tell if Apple's approach will be more successful, but the early signs are promising.
The Apple Vision Pro represents a significant step forward in the world of AR and VR. With its sleek design, advanced features, and focus on user experience, it has the potential to redefine how we interact with technology. However, it's also a reminder that this technology is still in its early stages. As with any new product, there will be challenges to overcome and lessons to learn.
But if anyone can do it, it's Apple.