Apple's fancy new Augmented Reality headset is here and the company is calling it the Vision Pro. After hearing rumors of this headset for so long, when finally announced, it exceeded expectations in both features and price. This is a first-of-its-kind product from the California giant and it's coming with its own unique capabilities and a complete Operating System.
Apple Vision Pro - Definition and Capabilities
The Vision Pro has been titled "Apple's first spatial computer" and to simplify that, you can call it Apple's first AR headset with spatial features built around it. However, you can turn it into a VR headset which technically makes the Vision Pro a Mixed Reality headset and that's kinda impressive. You also get complete integration into the Apple Ecosystem as a part of visionOS which is the new operating system powering the headset.
Apple's M2 is the core driver of the Vision Pro and it should run visionOS and handle tasks with ease, but Apple is also integrating a brand new R1 chip. This new chip will be responsible for processing the inputs, from cameras, sensors, and microphones, feeding visuals to the dual high-resolution displays at an impressive 12ms latency.
There are a lot of cameras and sensors making this entire system work including six total cameras for visual, two infrared flood illuminators, true-depth cameras, and a LiDAR scanner, and this is just the front as there are more IR cameras and LED illuminators on the inside for eye tracking. You can control the entire UI, in AR or VR mode, using your bare hands, and no controller is needed thanks to those cameras and a bunch of sensors.
The micro-OLED displays on the inside are 23 million pixels across both eyes which is crazy and it's unlikely that we'll ever see individual pixels while viewing content. The AR mode is also achieved by the cameras on the front and while there is no passthrough for the eyes, the outside OLED display can show a visual of your eyes when you're looking outside using the cameras.
You can get up to a 100ft virtual hi-res display for movies or you can have multiple apps open in multiple virtual display spaces in the AR mode. The headset also wirelessly connects with popular gaming controllers and lets you game on a huge virtual display. Of course, you can simply connect your AirPods Pro to immerse in experiences like Spatial Audio and Noise Cancellation regardless of what content you choose.
Apple kept the battery external to keep the weight in check and can be charged with USB Type-C. However, the battery life is just two hours unless you're plugged into power which isn't a lot, and most of the time movies and flights are going to be longer than that, so I don't know why an external battery needed to be this small.
The build materials are claimed to be excellent providing a comfortable viewing experience. Controls look similar to an Apple Watch or an AirPods Max. However, this time, the digital crown adjusts the headband's precision tightening mechanism. You can even add additional ZEISS lenses to adjust your eye power with the headset.
Pricing and Availability
Apple has only announced pricing and availability for the US at WWDC23 and if you live there, you can get your hands on the Vision Pro early next year for a hefty $3499. Several other countries will get the device later on, but the company didn't specify dates for that. Will you pay a premium to experience the Apple Vision Pro? Let me know in the comments below.