Apple has finally unveiled its Vision Pro headset after years of development. At the WWDC 2023, Apple CEO Tim Cook introduced the new device which falls more on the augmented reality than the virtual side of headsets. Unfortunately, Vision Pro will cost you a fortune, as it will sell at $3,499 when it releases in early 2024.

Vision Pro has a strand that users can use to secure it in place, and there are audio pods on both sides for spatial audio, allowing the wearer to hear sounds like they are coming everywhere. Aside from audio, the main highlight of Vision Pro is its visuals, which will be powered by a standard M2 chip paired with a new R1 chip. The curved glass homes the micro-OLED display and three-element lens with the ability to cater to custom prescription glass inserts, thanks to Apple’s partnership with Zeiss.

Apple Vision Pro lenses

Overall, the Vision Pro will offer 23 million pixels spread across its two panels. This translates to more than 4K for each eye. Apple shared some pictures during the event, but note that they were all rendered. That means the only way you could actually see how efficient Vision Pro’s displays are is by going into the Apple Store for a demo.

On the other hand, Vision Pro doesn’t have a built-in battery but will instead rely on a battery pack, which will be connected via a wire in the rear of the device. This will only last for two hours, however. Thankfully, there’s also an option to plug the device into the wall directly.

Apple Vision Pro battery

The device will employ Apple’s new visionOS, which the company described as something “designed from the ground up” to cater to spatial computing. According to Apple, the same frameworks available in iPadOS and iOS are injected into visionOS, which should allow iPad and iPhone apps to run on the Apple Vision Pro. What makes the app experience different in visionOS, however, is the system’s ability to make the digital content blend well with the physical world. Apple said that is possible through the operating system’s three-dimensional interface and ability to respond dynamically to natural light and cast shadows. Moreover, the Vision Pro comes with a new input system, which allows control using one’s eyes, hands, and voice. As per Apple, “high-speed cameras and a ring of LEDs that project invisible light patterns onto the user’s eyes” will aid the system in allowing these controls. Specifically, Apple shared that the device has 12 cameras, five sensors, and six microphones to make it possible. 

At first glance, the Apple Vision Pro headset appears to be futuristic ski goggles with an aluminum frame and smooth front glass. Interestingly, while the device looks like something that will allow you to see through the display, it uses the so-called EyeSight feature. This makes an initial scan of your face, so your eyes will be projected on the external display as if you are wearing transparent glass.

Unfortunately, while Vision Pro looks promising, it seems Apple wants to push it as a work-focused device instead of a gaming headset. Nonetheless, it is important to note that Apple offers different modes in the device, including gaming mode, albeit it will only be in the form of a large screen projection instead of VR. Another mode to try is the movie theater, which sounds exciting, given that each eye is over 4K. With this, it is no longer a surprise that during the event, Apple confirmed that Disney+ would be available on the device at launch. 

On the other hand, as part of Apple’s ambition to seemingly make it a work device, the company announced that Microsoft Word, Excel, and Teams are coming to the headset. Others include WebEX, Zoom, and Adobe Lightroom. There will also be a new App Store designed specifically for Vision Pro, and Apple said it would offer more than 100 Apple Arcade titles on “day one.” FaceTime will also be brought to Vision Pro, Apple promised.

FaceID is also getting a new version of the headset. Called Optic ID, the new secure authentication system will analyze the user’s iris via LED light exposure and compare it to the enrolled one on the Secure Enclave. Apple also stressed that the user’s Optic ID data is encrypted and local.

These features and specs make Apple Vision Pro incredibly enticing, but, then again, it is not cheap. It even exceeded the $3,000 price reported prior to the official unveiling of the headset. Yet, it should not be a surprise, given Apple’s reputation in pricing its device lineups. Also, as mentioned above, the headset seems to be dedicated to professionals and enterprises instead of individuals looking for a headset for casual gaming. On a positive note, the “Pro” tag is probably an indication that Apple might release other versions of the headset in the future, though it is hard to say how “affordable” it would be.

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