I recently had the opportunity to experience the new Apple Vision Pro. After a 30-minute demo with this innovative headset, I was left with a multitude of questions. I made it a point to ask Apple as many of these questions as I could, aiming to gather as much information as possible for both you and myself. So, without further ado, let’s dive into everything you need to know about Apple’s new AR VR headset.
What is Apple Vision Pro?
First and foremost, the Apple Vision Pro is a first-generation device from Apple, a rarity in itself. It’s an augmented reality/virtual reality headset equipped with a multitude of cameras and sensors. You strap it to your face, and it transports you into a different reality. The starting price is $3,500, and it’s set to go on sale sometime early next year.
This device isn’t something that’s paired to your iPhone or your Mac by default. It’s a standalone computer with an M2 chip inside, its own WiFi connection, a roughly 4K micro OLED display for each eye, a set of speakers right above each ear on the band, and a dedicated new R1 chip. This R1 chip is responsible for all the real-time processing from all the sensors that make this headset quite special.
How Does It Work?
We’ve seen VR headsets and AR headsets before. Typically, they have screens on the inside and some sort of shell on the outside with sensors that help detect what is in your room around you and help to see the controllers in your hands. But with the Apple Vision Pro, there are no controllers at all. You control this device entirely with your hands, your eyes, and your voice.
The headset is covered in sensors. You have two main forward-facing cameras, two downward-facing cameras, two more cameras for the sides, two infrared illuminators, a LiDAR scanner, a true depth camera. These are all to keep track of what’s happening around the headset and also to track your hands in front of your face. On the inside, there’s also a bunch of infrared illuminators and infrared cameras that are purely there to track your eyes.
Eye Tracking and Hand Tracking
The most impressive thing about this headset is the eye tracking. The eye tracking in this headset, as it looks at your eyes and keeps track of where your eyes move around, is the closest thing that I’ve experienced to magic.
Anytime you move your eyes around the UI, it would immediately highlight and select exactly what you’re looking at, no matter how small the target was or what you’re looking at. And then when you want to select something, all you do is take your fingers like this and just touch them together. That’s how you click. So you look at something, click, look at something, click.
The headset also does an impressively good job of picking up what my hand is doing, kind of no matter where it is. So I can just kind of rest my hand like wherever and look at stuff and click. I don’t even have to move my head. I can just look at something and just click my fingers.
Text Input and Optic ID
There are also some text boxes occasionally you want to type something. So you can look at the text box, select it, and then a keyboard will pop up and you can look at the letters, but also you can just look at a search box field and just start talking and it’ll start filling in whatever you’re saying. Cause there’s microphones on the headset.
There is also something they’re calling optic ID, which is basically kind of just the fingerprint ID of the headset because it’s looking at your eyes and everyone’s eyes are a little bit different. So it can tell who’s wearing the headset based on the eyes. And so that’s how you unlock the headset. You put it on, it looks at your eyes, and it unlocks.
Display and Audio
The display inside the headset is a roughly 4K micro OLED display for each eye. It’s a very high-resolution display. It’s also a very high refresh rate display. It’s 120 Hertz. So everything you’re looking at is very smooth. The colors are very vibrant. It’s a very impressive display.
The audio is also impressive. There are speakers right above each ear on the band. They’re not headphones that go over your ears or in your ears. They’re just speakers that are kind of floating above your ears. And the sound quality is surprisingly good. It’s not quite as good as having headphones on, but it’s better than I expected.
Design and Build Quality
The Apple Vision Pro is a testament to Apple’s commitment to quality and design. This augmented reality/virtual reality headset is a standalone computer with an M2 chip inside, its own WiFi connection, a roughly 4K micro OLED display for each eye, a set of speakers right above each ear on the band, and a dedicated new R1 chip. This chip handles all the real-time processing from the multitude of sensors that make this headset truly special.
The headset is built extremely well with a combination of metal and glass. It has a custom cutout for your face, which you can get done in Apple stores. If you wear glasses, there are Zeiss lenses available. The back of the headset has a breathable fabric that stretches for comfort.
Comfort and Wearability
Despite its robust build, the Apple Vision Pro is designed with comfort in mind. The headset has a nice meshing on the back and some fabric that stretches and is pretty breathable. This makes it comfortable to wear for extended periods. However, it’s worth noting that the headset is quite heavy due to its metal and glass construction. This could potentially lead to fatigue if used for a long time.
Applications and Use Cases
The Apple Vision Pro is not just a device for consuming content; it’s also a device for computing. It runs on its own operating system called Vision OS, which is similar to iPad OS. You can use it for web browsing, working with 4K windows that you can move around and manipulate with your hands.
The headset also has a feature called optic ID, which uses the unique biometric pattern of your eyes for login. This means that the headset knows your eyes really well.
In terms of content, you can watch movies, play games, and even watch an NBA game courtside in VR. The headset also has a feature where you can take 3D photos and videos with the cameras built into the headset itself.
Battery Life and Performance
The Apple Vision Pro has a battery life of about two hours. The battery is not attached to the headset but is connected through a proprietary cable. This means you can have the battery next to you on the couch or in your back pocket.
The headset also has a USB-C port on the battery bank, which you can plug into the wall for continuous use. However, once you unplug it from the wall, you have two hours of battery life.
In terms of performance, the headset is impressive. The eye tracking and hand tracking are some of the best I’ve seen in any VR headset. The responsiveness of the headset is also impressive. The computing power focuses on sharply rendering the part of the screen that you’re looking at while saving power on the rest.
Privacy and Security
The Apple Vision Pro takes privacy and security seriously. The headset uses a feature called optic ID, which uses the unique biometric pattern of your eyes for login. This means that the headset knows your eyes really well and can provide a secure login experience.
In addition, the headset has a feature where it can mirror the Mac’s display as one of the 4K windows for you in the headset. This means you can work securely on your Mac while wearing the headset.
Overall, the Apple Vision Pro is a powerful device that offers a unique AR/VR experience. It’s not just a device for consuming content; it’s also a device for computing. However, it’s worth noting that the headset is quite heavy and has a battery life of about two hours. Despite these drawbacks, the Apple Vision Pro is a testament to Apple’s commitment to quality and design.
The Future of Apple Vision Pro
The future of Apple Vision Pro is filled with potential. The device is a first-generation product, and as such, it’s expected to undergo numerous improvements and developments. The announcement of the device was made early to give developers a window to start creating their own applications and features for the headset. This is a strategic move that could lead to the creation of more functional and interesting uses for the device.
The device’s core functions are impressive, but it’s the potential applications that developers could create that truly make it exciting. The device could be used as a standalone computer, with web browsing capabilities and 4K windows that can be moved around and manipulated with your hands. This would be running on a whole new operating system called VisionOS, which seems similar to iPadOS.
The device also has potential in the realm of content creation and consumption. With the power and draw of the Apple brand, content creators, big motion picture studios, sports leagues, and other creatives could be enticed to create content specifically for the Apple Vision Pro. This could lead to a boom in the VR/AR content industry.
In conclusion, the Apple Vision Pro is an impressive device. It’s a first-generation product, and as such, it has room for improvement and development. However, the device’s core functions are impressive, and the potential applications that developers could create for it are exciting.
The device is not without its downsides. It’s heavy, which could lead to fatigue when used for extended periods. The battery life is also relatively short, at only two hours. However, these are issues that could potentially be addressed in future iterations of the device.
The device is also expensive, with a price tag of $3,500. However, it offers features and capabilities that no other headset currently on the market does. This, combined with the power of the Apple brand, could make it a worthwhile investment for those interested in VR/AR technology.
In the end, the Apple Vision Pro is a device with a lot of potential. It’s a device that could shape the future of the VR/AR industry. It’s a device that’s worth keeping an eye on.