Nailing the execution of things that already exist.
A photo of the front of the Apple Vision Pro mixed-reality headset

Apple officially announced the Vision Pro today. This $3,499 (USD) mixed-reality headset has been discussed and rumored for what feels like ages now, but was finally revealed during the company's annual WWDC keynote event.

Tim Cook, Apple's current CEO, revealed the headset at the tail end of the keynote address. Cook touts the Vision Pro as "revolutionary" and "the most advanced personal electronics device ever." He claims that the Vision Pro will create "spatial computing" and introduce this concept to their consumers.

As part of today's announcement, Cook made some additional remarks in a press release announcing the Vision Pro.

"Just as the Mac introduced us to personal computing, and iPhone introduced us to mobile computing, Apple Vision Pro introduces us to spatial computing. Built upon decades of Apple innovation, Vision Pro is years ahead and unlike anything created before — with a revolutionary new input system and thousands of groundbreaking innovations. It unlocks incredible experiences for our users and exciting new opportunities for our developers."
Vision Pro will utilize VisionOS, an operating system that Apple created from scratch to be used for spatial computing. VisionOS differs from Apple's other operating systems, such as iOS and MacOS, in that it features a 3D user interface. Apple claims that with "infinite screen real estate, access to their favorite apps, and all-new ways to multitask," the Vision Pro will let users be more productive.

Actual technical specifications for the Vision Pro were few and far between. We know that the Vision Pro will use two of Apple's own chips: M2 chip, and the R1 chip. The R1 chip will be used to process input from the Vision Pro's 12 cameras, five sensors, and six microphones. The R1 chip will ensure there is nearly no delay between what you see and what you're interacting with, with a response time of 12 milliseconds.

The battery life is said to be good for "all-day use" but only when you plug the headset in. If you're using the device without being connected, you will get up to two hours of use.

The displays utilize micro-OLED technology to deliver 23 million pixels into your eye holes across two displays. Each display features "wide color" and HDR capabilities. Unfortunately, Apple did not share details such as per eye resolution or what FOV these displays will allow for. There was also no mention of IPD adjustment.

Beyond that, there is the usual stuff like spatial audio, eye tracking, and the usual AR/VR features. This includes what Apple calls EyeSight, which is just a means of the device changing to a transparent window to let the wearer see someone approaching them. Conversely, it also allows the outside person to kind of "see" what the wearer is looking at.

FaceTime calls will make use of the user's room. Everyone on the call will be shown in life-sized titles and utilize spatial audio. Those with a Vision Pro that are in a FaceTime call are shown using avatars that Apple dubs Persona. These are just digital representations of themselves created "using Apple's most advanced machine learning techniques." This basically translates into those FaceTime avatars having the same facial expressions and hand gestures that the user has at that time.

If you're reading this and thinking, "A lot of this stuff already existed prior to the Vision Pro." You would be correct. There have been several AR, VR, and mixed-reality headsets already available on the market, some for quite a while now, that are capable of doing most of what Apple talked about today. The thing is, as Apple tends to do, they took a lot of that existing tech and existing features and put just a metric ton of polish on them to make them far more attractive than prior options.

That said, this is also a $3,500 device we're talking about here. This is going to compete against devices such as the $1,000 Meta Quest Pro, another device that blends together VR and AR. Just like the Meta Quest Pro, Apple's Vision Pro is a product that is largely targeting business people, those involved in productivity and design. This isn't a device that is going after the gaming market by any stretch of the imagination.

The Vision Pro will be available "early next year" and will ship first to the United States once it actually releases.

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