Apple has just unveiled its Vision Pro augmented reality headset that tries to merge its interface with the real world to provide promising never-before-seen digital experiences to users. The catch? It will be priced at a whopping $3500 when it comes out early next year.
During Apple’s WWDC 2023 conference, CEO Tim Cook introduced the Vision Pro as the “first Apple product you look through, and not at.” The device will work on a new operating system called visionOS and is aimed at providing both productivity and entertainment experiences.
Upon wearing the glasses, users will continue seeing everything that’s in front of them, with the interface appearing as an overlay on top thanks to 3D mapping technology. Through the headset, they can view photos and videos, participate in video calls, and much more.
Of course, some experience will also involve going fully virtual reality. To differentiate between the two, the headset features a special outward display. This unique panel shows the wearer’s eyes whenever overlayed apps are being used, and goes blank when the user is completely immersed.
You can even pair the Vision Pro with a MacBook to have its entire interface appear in the headset rather than the laptop’s screen. The headset allows for a panoramic view so you can have a number of tasks open in your entire field of view.
For entertainment, the Apple Vision Pro even has the ability to stream movies to give you the feeling of watching them on the big screen. Moreover, it can even let you play Apple Arcade games with third-party controllers.
As for its own controls, no physical controllers are provided for this purpose. Users can navigate the headset’s interface using their eyes, voice, and hand gestures. It even supports Bluetooth accessories like Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad.
All this is achieved through the power of 12 cameras embedded in the inner and outer areas of the headset. And the visuals are provided by dual 4K displays, one for each eye.
The system is powered not just by an Apple M2 chip, but also by a new silicon named Apple R1, which is meant for precise head and hand tracking, along with real-time 3D mapping and eye-tracking.
Apple claims that it can process data from 12 cameras, five sensors, and six microphones within 12 milliseconds, which is eight times faster than the blink of an eye. This, the company hopes, will dramatically reduce the motion sickness that today’s virtual reality headsets are known for.
The hardware of this product also includes a bulky battery pack that needs to be carried all the time. As if that wasn’t enough of a bummer, it can only keep the device going for 2 hours on a single charge.
Apple has announced that the Vision Pro headset will be released early next year, beginning in the US, with more countries following later. As we said, it will cost a hefty $3500.