At today’s WWDC23 keynote, Apple officially unveiled its long-rumored headset – Vision Pro, an augmented reality headset that “seamlessly” blends the real and digital worlds. Apple said Vision Pro marks the beginning of “spatial computing.
The Vision Pro looks like a pair of ski goggles and is controlled by the eyes, gestures and voice. The headset has a glass front panel and an aluminum frame that contains sensors, cameras, a display and a computer cooled by a fan. The headset visor and strap are cloth-lined and modular, and Apple says they can be bent to fit a variety of face and head shapes. The threaded headband can be swapped out for different sizes and styles, and Apple has partnered with Zeiss to produce prescription lenses that magnetically attach to the lens, making it easy for nearsighted people to use the headset. There’s an external battery that provides 2 hours of battery life and can be connected via a “soft braided cable” so it can fit in your pocket when in use. Apple says the display will be sharper than ever and can play 4K video.
Vision Pro is an AR device, but it can also switch between augmented reality and full virtual reality (VR) with a single knob. Instead of using joystick controls, users simply gaze to navigate through app icons, tap to select, swipe to scroll, or give voice commands. The device features a new operating system with a three-dimensional interface. the app experience in Vision Pro is not limited by the boundaries of the display, allowing users to zoom in to any size and place the app wherever they want.
Apple also promises that users will not be isolated from those around them by wearing the headset, which uses a system called EyeSight to show the user’s eyes, and a glowing screen that blocks their eyes if they are in full VR mode to show they don’t want to be disturbed.
The device uses see-through video to allow users to see the real world in full color, and users can also project 3D objects into real space, including pulling objects out of message threads and putting them into the real world. faceTime on Vision Pro can display life-size people during video calls and also optimizes the experience of viewing photos and videos. vision Pro is also “Apple’s first 3D camera” that can show depth in video through spatial audio. The headset features a theater-quality video viewing experience that scales the screen beyond the size of the room.
Importantly, the Vision Pro headset also supports Bluetooth accessories that can be connected to a Mac for use inside the headset.
Apple also touted TV and Arcade content on the headset, including premium content from Disney.
The Vision Pro comes with the M2 chip as well as the new R1 chip, which is primarily responsible for transmission and officially claims to transmit data in 12 milliseconds, faster than the speed of a blink. In addition, the headset uses a new operating system visionOS, with a dedicated application store.
The Vision Pro is priced at $3499 and will be available early next year, first in the U.S. market and later in more countries.