Apple announced its Spatial Computer Vision Pro and showed how and why we should use the headset at home in the future.
Apple brings digital content as 3D elements into the physical living space for the first time with its Vision Pro XR headset. The VR/AR headset is not being marketed as a business headset as suspected, but directly as an everyday device for entertainment and work for everyone – at least if you can afford the wickedly expensive piece.
Less VR, more AR
If you put on the Vision Pro, you stay directly in reality and see your surroundings as before. The only difference is that the familiar Apple apps now float around the apartment as icons. The user interface, the icons and the apps have been slightly adapted three-dimensionally and fit appropriately into the room, casting realistic shadows depending on actual lighting conditions – so they are not just flat 2D screens. Apple indicated every element was designed with physical presence in mind.
Using hand and eye tracking as well as voice input, Vision Pro users navigate, open, move and scale apps like Notes, Music, AppleTV, Mail, Messages, Safari, and many more. Additional apps can be obtained via a dedicated app store. It was not clear from the presentation whether the apps can also be anchored at certain physical points so that they reappear in exactly the same place the next time they are used.
Multiple apps can be opened, distributed around the room and used simultaneously. Volumetric virtual environments can expand apps to create a better presence of digital content. The knob on top of the Vision Pro allows you to smoothly set the intensity of the merging of physical and virtual reality.
Apple Vision Pro: Take and view 3D photos and 3D movies
You can capture 3D photos and 3D videos with the Apple Vision Pro and view your own media library in VR. The real environment automatically fades out a bit so that the focus falls on the photo. Panoramic photos are supposed to become more immersive by “curving” around the viewer like a curved monitor.
Apple Vision Pro particularly wants to score in entertainment. Films and TV shows can be watched on a theater-sized screen with a diagonal measurement equivalent to 100 feet. Special emphasis is placed on 3D movies and documentaries, which are supposed to be particularly impressive with the Vision Pro.
Apple is partnering with Disney to make it possible to immerse oneself in scenes from select movies and series or to watch sports broadcasts as a 3D tabletop, among other things. This could be impressive, if handled well.
However, things don’t look quite so good when it comes to gaming. Arcade games played with a game controller were demonstrated on a big virtual screen, but VR or AR games were neither shown nor announced.
The headband at the back of the head made of stretch fabric seems perfect for lying down or leaning your head against a wall. The external battery apparently has some advantages as well. For the first time, an XR headset could really be suitable for use while traveling, such as on a train or plane.
As with most VR headsets, the Vision Pro will have lens correction inserts. The Zeiss lenses, however, are said to accommodate a wide range of vision correction without requiring custom lenses for the Vision Pro. It remains to be seen how well this works and how many people will be covered with this universal solution.
Look me in the eye – through the display
Social isolation, which Apple CEO Tim Cook, for example, has always described as a problem, is also something the Vision Pro wants to solve. With “EyeSight”, the wearer’s eyes become visible on the external display when other people are nearby. From the outside, it looks like seeing the wearer’s face through tinted diving goggles.
If the passthrough is not active or the virtual environment is dominant, the eyes are not seen, but instead a graphical representation indicating that the person opposite is not currently visually perceived. If someone comes close to the Vision Pro, he or she appears in the headset’s field of view. It was not said whether this also applies to pets.
In addition, Facetime calls, for example, become spatial for the first time.
Apple presents its headset as a universal device for home, app use, communication, and entertainment, as well as a recording device for 3D memories. Apple has actually shown some good reasons for using Vision Pro headset. The quality of applications will determine its success and how the device are used.