Virtual reality devices aren’t new, but Apple aims to change the landscape, as the company announced the Apple Vision Pro, its first entry into the augmented reality space.
The device has been rumored for years, and it appears – at least based on the presentation Monday at the Worldwide Developers Conference – that it is finally coming to reality. Physical reality, that is.
Apple is calling the Vision Pro its first “spacial computer,” and that wording is very specific, as this aims to be more than the gaming or movie-watching device that other virtual reality devices have proven to be. One of the key differences is that you’ll only use your hands and face to operate the system. No mouse or click device required.
“Today marks the beginning of a new era for computing,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “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.”
That’s a lot of words to basically say that this device will be a really, really, REALLY fancy system of computer monitors in front of your eyes. Except that you’ll be able to see them at any size and shape you’d like, and with the room you are in as a background. Or you could choose to be somewhere else with the Environments function that can put you in a tropical environment, etc.
Yes, you will be able to watch movies and play games on this too, but Apple is aiming to go well beyond that space.
The goggles will have a transparent functionality called “EyeSight” (get it?) that dynamically adapts to your surroundings, so people can see your eyes through it during a conversation, etc. It’ll also adjust to show when you’re filming videos, or doing other activities.
“visionOS features a three-dimensional interface that frees apps from the boundaries of a display so they can appear side by side at any scale,” Apple said. “Apple Vision Pro enables users to be even more productive, with infinite screen real estate, access to their favorite apps, and all-new ways to multitask.”
According to Apple, the device will start at $3,499, but, unfortunately, won’t be available until sometime in early 2024. So if you want to get your hands on Apple Vision Pro, you will have to wait.
In addition to the Apple Vision Pro, the company announced several upgrades and improvements to other devices and a new 15-inch MacBook Air.
The MacBook Air will be the thinnest and lightest laptop in the 15-inch space, and is available starting Tuesday, June 13. It will start at $1,299.