Attention everyone, Apple has a new product category.
On Monday, more than an hour after Apple updated everything else, company CEO Tim Cook announced Apple’s first-ever augmented reality headset, the Vision Pro.
Announced as “one more thing” near the end of the event, the Vision Pro is a headset with a transparent screen and a fully 3D interface that’s controlled by your eyes, hands and your voice.
Virtual objects even cast shadows on real objects in your field of view.
The idea is to see your apps and experiences mixed in with the physical objects in front of you. And you can control how much of this digital reality seeps into physical reality by turning the crown on the side of the earpiece, just like the crown on the Apple Watch. Tim Cook calls this “spatial computing”.
Vision Pro is controlled by your eyes, hands and voice.
Apple puts a lot of emphasis on the fact that you’re not isolated from the outside world while wearing the Vision Pro. For example, when you are fully immersed in a virtual experience and someone approaches you, they will be able to see your eyes and you will be able to see them as they enter your mixed reality.
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It’s hard to say how well this all works without trying, but Apple has put a lot of effort into making these experiences seamless, as if all your apps like video players, FaceTime chats, and photos apps are brand new, fully customizable. , virtual parts of your reality when you wear Vision Pro.
In one example, you can resize the video screen in front of you with a simple wave of two hands, and Apple will automatically dim the backlight, create a nice soft glow around the virtual screen, and surround you with Spatial Audio. Sounds … well, immersive. Oh, and 3D movies are also supported.
23 million pixels, just for your eyes.
Apple brought out Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney, to announce some of the things that Disney has created for Vision Pro. These included watching the Mandalorian on a virtual screen set in the Star Wars virtual world, or watching a basketball game in 3D from an isometric perspective. Disney+ will be available for Vision Pro at launch, and Iger said the company will have more announcements “in the coming months.”
To do all this, Apple has gone to great lengths to make the Vision Pro lightweight yet powerful. The display system consists of two micro-OLED screens with a total of 23 million pixels; Apple says that’s more pixels than a 4K TV has. Video is displayed in true 4K resolution, wide color and high dynamic range. There are a number of cameras, both inside and outside, and Lidar scanners to track your eye and hand movements and scan the environment. The headset also supports spatial audio and can scan your room to deliver an immersive sound experience. All of this is wrapped in a rather elegant aluminum and glass case, with a seemingly comfortable fabric strap that holds the headset on your head.
An all-new chip called R1 is there to keep things looking seamless.
It’s powered by the Apple M2 chip, which works with an all-new chip called the R1, which processes inputs from the device’s cameras, sensors and microphones. Simply put, M2 takes care of the calculations while R1 makes sure everything runs smoothly.
There’s also an all-new eye-scanning system called Optic ID that makes sure only you can access the headset. On the other hand, apps can’t “see” what you’re looking at, which is good for privacy.
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As for battery life, the Vision Pro will last two hours on an external battery connected via the side cable.
Of course, Apple isn’t the only one making stuff for the Vision Pro. The headset will support many third-party apps, and Unity games and apps are also supported.
As predicted, the Vision Pro isn’t cheap, and it’s not really coming anytime soon. It starts at $3,499 and will be available “early next year.”