Apple Vision Pro: A paradigm shift in augmented reality
by Audrey Pompagnini on Jan 15, 2024
Apple has unleashed a tidal wave of excitement with the announcement of its much-anticipated Vision Pro headset, turning the technology sphere as we know it on its head. With an earlier-than-expected release date set for the start of CES 2024, the Vision Pro is set to redefine the way we perceive augmented and virtual reality.
In this full article, we're going to take a deep dive into this revolutionary technology, looking at its release, its features and the potential impact it could have on the world of XR.
Introducing the Vision Pro
Release date and pricing strategy
Apple has set the stage for a game-changing release, with the Vision Pro's launch date set for February 2, 2024 in the US. The eye-catching $3,500 price tag has certainly raised eyebrows, positioning the Vision Pro as a high-end offering in the VR market.
Pre-orders for the Apple Vision Pro will begin on 19 January, from 5am UK time. The base model will be equipped with 256GB of storage capacity, and there is no indication yet that there will be higher capacity options.
European release: Estimated before June
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, renowned for his reliable information on Apple, is optimistic about a global release of the augmented reality headset in the first half of the year. According to him, Apple could release it outside the US before WWDC 2024 in June. Reasons for the delay include limited stock, the need to ensure smooth sales in the US and adapting the device to local regulations.
Apple also plans to reveal details of VisionOS development at WWDC 2024, which could promote the global launch of the Vision Pro. The headset is currently attracting interest, albeit at an expensive price, and Apple is planning 25-minute demonstrations in its shops to familiarise customers with its capabilities.
In summary, although the Apple Vision Pro is not immediately available internationally, it is expected to be available before June 2024, with reasons relating to stock, regulation and the promotion of VisionOS. No official release date for Europe has yet been announced by Apple.
Cutting-edge accessories and optical inserts
The Vision Pro package is as complete as it gets. It includes the usual headband, but Apple goes one step further by providing a headband for added comfort during extended use. In addition, the bundle includes a Light Seal, two Light Seal Cushions, a Vision Pro cover, a polishing cloth, an external battery, a USB-C charging cable and a USB-C power adapter. Notably, Apple has confirmed the price of the headset's ZEISS optical inserts at $100 for "readers" and $150 for prescription-specific vision correction.
Double strap buckle: A game-changing addition
Apple has responded to user feedback and concerns about the weight of the Vision Pro by introducing the 'Dual Loop' strap. This new strap offers an alternative to the 'Solo Knit Band' initially unveiled. The Dual Loop, which resembles traditional VR headset straps, features a top strap for added stability. This addition addresses comfort concerns, particularly given the weight of the headset.
Vision Pro features that redefine augmented reality
Spatial calculation and spectacular display
Vision Pro sets itself apart by augmenting reality rather than immersing users in a virtual world. It introduces spatial computing, with features such as virtual meetings, beautifully rendered avatars, 3D images and streaming movies on a large virtual screen. The display system is truly remarkable, with a customised 23 million pixel micro-OLED screen offering stunning resolution and realistic colours.
Revolutionary interface and camera capabilities
Vision Pro's user interface is inspired by Mac and iPhone interfaces, but in a 3D context. Users see icons, graphics, websites, photos and movies as floating screens, offering an experience that rivals that of a 4K TV. What's more, Vision Pro doubles up as a computer with multiple large screens, customisable applications and the ability to capture 3D video and photos thanks to its unique three-dimensional camera.
The R1 chip: the power of the future of augmented reality
Vision Pro's technological prowess is based on two powerful chips: the M2 and the R1, an exclusive real-time chip developed by Apple. The R1 chip manages the processing of data from sensors and cameras, enabling real-time 3D mapping and eye tracking. This chip plays a key role in tracking head, eye and hand movements, providing users with an intuitive navigation experience.
Enhancing the senses with Vision Pro
Spatial audio and AR FaceTime
Vision Pro analyses the acoustic properties of the environment, creating ambient spatial audio that immerses users in their surroundings. With dual driver audio pods placed close to the ears, the headset seamlessly blends virtual audio with the real world. In addition, AR FaceTime takes virtual meetings to the next level, enhancing collaboration and interaction with life-size FaceTime video tiles.
Home cinema and opportunities for developers
Although focused on augmented reality, Vision Pro doesn't skimp on virtual reality features. Users can turn any space into a personal home cinema and enjoy immersive cinematic experiences. For developers, the Vision Pro App Store opens up a world of opportunities, with default compatibility with most iPadOS and iOS apps, ushering in a new era of spatial computing applications.
Apple's Vision Pro is more than just a headset, it's a glimpse into the future of augmented reality. While its price may raise eyebrows, its innovative features, exceptional display and intuitive interface set a new standard for the augmented reality industry. The inclusion of the Dual Loop wrist strap and R1 chip addresses concerns about comfort and navigation, demonstrating Apple's commitment to user satisfaction.
As the release date for Vision Pro approaches, the technology community is eagerly awaiting its arrival, keen to explore the limitless possibilities of space computing. While competition may be on the horizon, Vision Pro's potential to redefine the boundaries of augmented and virtual reality remains undeniable. Apple's Vision Pro is not just a product, it's a paradigm shift that will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact on the world of technology.
Stay tuned for more updates and information as we embark on this journey into the future of augmented and virtual reality with Apple Vision Pro.