Apple Vision Pro - Here's the New AR/VR Headset
Finally, Apple has unveiled its new AR/VR headset - Vision Pro. A product that combines your digital life with reality in a whole new way. But if you want to get the Vision Pro, there are two major obstacles today - price and availability.
Vision Pro is integrated with Apple's ecosystem
Apple Vision Pro is a new AR/VR headset with advanced technology, a sky-high price tag, and a design that can be compared to a sleek pair of ski goggles. Inside, it hides many new features and technical solutions that have never been seen before in an Apple product - for example, the iris scanner Optic ID and a specially designed AR/VR chip, Apple R1.
Vision Pro is a complete AR/VR headset with cameras, motion sensors, screens, and speakers. You control what happens with your eyes, voice, and hands. There are no physical handheld controllers.
The headset is designed to work with Apple's wide ecosystem of apps and services. You can use it standalone if you want, but you need to use an iPhone to make all the settings. With the built-in cameras, you can see everything happening around you and project digital graphics into the room. Or watch a film that fills your entire field of view if you prefer.
There's no built-in battery in Vision Pro. However, a separate battery pack is included that connects to the headset with a cable. Up to two hours of battery life is possible. You can also connect the headset to a power adapter if you need more time.
Brand New System Chip - Apple R1
Vision Pro utilises two screens with a combined total of 23 million pixels. These screens can display high-resolution 4K content with both HDR and exceptionally high brightness. Apple has designed a special lens system with three lenses specifically tailored for Vision Pro. They ensure sharpness across the entire field of view, even when looking at the edges.
Vision Pro employs two system chips that together form the brain and heart of the headset. One is the same M2 chip used in several of Apple's computers. The other is a completely new system chip called Apple R1. It is custom-designed for AR/VR products and handles the numerous cameras and sensors integrated into the headset.
Both system chips work in conjunction with a new operating system called visionOS.
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Vision Pro creates a realistic avatar of your face
The first time you use Vision Pro, a digital profile of your face is created. The AR/VR headset generates a realistic character, known as an avatar, which you can use for digital communication with family and friends via Vision Pro.
If someone else is in the same room as you, the headset detects it, and your eyes are shown to the other party. During the presentation, Tim Cook mentioned that it is Apple's first product that you look through, rather than at.
And if you're unsure about the availability of apps for Vision Pro when the AR/VR headset launches next year, there's no need to worry. VisionOS is designed to run hundreds of the most popular iPhone and iPad apps from the App Store today. Apple has also collaborated with several major developers to optimise their apps for Vision Pro, and they've worked with Unity to ensure that apps based on their graphics engine are optimised for the headset.
4 quick facts about the AR/VR headset
Vision Pro features a new system chip called Apple R1, which works together with Apple M2, the brain and heart of the AR/VR headset. They collaborate to perform all the advanced calculations, read data from the sensors and cameras, and control the navigation.
Vision Pro utilises a brand new operating system that incorporates technology from iOS and is specifically designed for AR/VR glasses. Apple has also included support for hundreds of iPhone apps right from the start.
When using the AR function and there are other people in the room, Vision Pro's front glass displays your eyes. However, if you're watching VR content in fullscreen mode, a glowing screen appears instead of your eyes to indicate that you're occupied.
3D Camera & Spatial Audio
Vision Pro supports 180-degree 3D video through its built-in cameras. You can drag objects from messages into your virtual world, and during FaceTime video calls, you can position participants wherever you want in the room.
Apple Vision Pro Scans Your Eyes
With Vision Pro, Apple introduces a new technology called "Optic ID." It is a biometric security feature that scans the iris of your eyes to unlock the AR/VR headset every time you use it.
The technology utilises eye exposure with LED illumination. The eye data is stored in a "Secure Enclave" located locally within the headset, just like on iPhones and newer Mac computers.
According to Apple, Optic ID is so effective that it can differentiate between the eyes of identical twins.
Due to its design, Vision Pro cannot be used with regular glasses. To solve this issue, Apple has collaborated with Zeiss to create corrective lenses that attach magnetically on the inside. These lenses allow those with vision impairments to use Vision Pro.
Those who have had the opportunity to test Vision Pro after WWDC 2023 say that the headset fits tightly around the head, with noticeable pressure in front of the eyes and around the nose. It's sufficient to remind you that the headset is there, which can affect the immersive experience you receive.
The strap that goes behind the head to secure the headset is modular and can be used with various bands for maximum fit. For example, there's an additional band that goes over the head instead of around it, reducing the risk of Vision Pro slipping downward.
The Price of Vision Pro
And then there's the small detail of the price. Apple revealed during the presentation that Vision Pro costs $3,499. Converted, that's approximately 2,800 pounds. Whether this conversion holds true when Vision Pro is released remains to be seen.
Vision Pro is set to be released sometime in 2024. The AR/VR glasses will first launch on the US market, and it is not confirmed when the product will be available in the UK.
Text: Daniel Haaf
Published: 9 June 2023
Updated: 9 June 2023
This article is written by the editorial team at Prisjakt. No one else has influenced its content. It does not contain any sponsored links or other types of advertising collaborations. All images in the article are sourced from Apple's presentation during WWDC 2023.