If you’re wearing Apple’s new Vision Pro headset, you might find yourself completely submerged in a virtual environment that you control with just your eyes and fingers.
This week, we both had the chance to try out the $3,499 Vision Pro headset, and we discovered it to be superior to other virtual and augmented reality equipment. Despite having various comfort experiences, neither of us felt sick.
But one thing still bothered us: Why would you want to use one frequently? We wouldn’t, but Apple’s most significant new product in almost a decade is still in its infancy. According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, the Vision Pro, which will be available in 2019, marks the start of a new age in personal technology.
Welcome to the era of spatial computing with Apple Vision Pro. You’ve never seen anything like this before! pic.twitter.com/PEIxKNpXBs
During a presentation at the company’s annual WWDC showcase, Cook made this statement. With its virtual reality and augmented reality devices, competitors Google, Microsoft, Meta, and others have all attempted — and failed — to adequately address the “what’s it good for” question.
This is a better reality, not some fictional “metaverse,” Apple’s response to the question, “What’s it useful for.” The Vision Pro overlays a picture of the world with apps, movies, beautiful landscapes, and other experiences. In our demonstration, we moved around the room while wearing the headset, interacting with others.
That’s a clever sell, but it assumes Apple has conquered several significant obstacles, such as issues with comfort, motion sickness, and human-computer interfaces that complicate using current devices for anything longer than brief periods. That is why we were both eager to buckle up for a while.
Even after only 30 minutes, it was clear Apple had elegantly solved one of these problems: operating the gadget. It has sensors that monitor the position of your eyes. So, instead of a cumbersome controller, we could choose virtual menus and move objects simply by dragging our gaze and flicking our fingers.
It is just as simple to use as our first touch-screen phone. Other areas, though, obviously require further improvement. The visual representations of Vision Pro users during FaceTime talks appeared strange and occasionally had unpredictable blinking and lip movement.
The so-called pass-through picture of the natural world didn’t strike us as being very crisp, but it also didn’t lag, which would have been a deal-breaker. And we discovered that some components of the experience were as unique as our facial features.
Apple adjusted the device’s fit and the internal lenses to replace our glasses before each demonstration. However, one of us thought the screen appeared a little flat. This could have been because the test unit had a gap in the nose that allowed some of the (far brighter) light from the actual room to enter.
The other didn’t experience that. One of us discovered the device to be heated and heavy enough to wish to remove it after 30 minutes. The other person, who used it more remarkably during the day, said it was substantial but acceptable.
That demonstrates Apple’s difficulty in creating its first device, where the realities of your body and environment may significantly impact the experience.
How Will Apple Change Our Minds About Donning a Face Computer?
Work and fun were the two use cases it emphasized most during its product introductions. Although Apple primarily focuses on serving customers, the initial focus on employment may reflect the device’s high cost, which prevents most families from purchasing it.
You can surround yourself with programs inside the headgear, project your Mac screen, and use that little avatar of yourself to make FaceTime conversations. You use your hands to operate apps, flick them up to scroll, and pinch to choose. All it takes is a quick eye movement to change apps.
We focused primarily on the buttons and menu items displayed during Apple’s demo, squeezing our thumbs and index fingers together to select them. We pulled a thread while pinching and dragging to scroll through videos in an app. Everything was much less awkward than it seemed, and after a few minutes, we communicated without making many mistakes.
Why Would You Pick This Instead of Your Mac?
One of us found using a virtual keyboard uncomfortable because you had to focus on each letter individually and tap your finger to choose it. Although we could not test it, you can use a Bluetooth keyboard in the real world.
Even though you can see your immediate surroundings, using the device while moving around raises further questions. We were concerned about running into the natural wall during a walkabout demonstration because we couldn’t fully identify where it was.
The Vision Pro’s second primary use for Apple is entertainment. In a private screening at a high-end theater, we experienced an immersive visual and aural environment while watching movie trailers. Apple’s recommendation to use the iPhone on a flight to shut out all the inconveniences of flying may have been its finest use.
In contrast to what we’ve seen on VR devices since 2015, none of what we witnessed in our demos—including video from a concert and a basketball game—felt novel.
Would You Feel Comfortable Wearing This Throughout “Titanic’s” Three Hours and Fourteen Minutes?
Apple shifted the battery pack to a separately connected brick instead of wearing it on your face, an upgrade over its competitors. However, the headset still weighs slightly more than a pound, making it comparable to Meta’s Quest Pro, which weighs about 1.5 pounds.
Apple seems to have overcome a different problem that has hampered VR technology for entertainment through the vulnerability and sense of isolation from being cut off from the outside world. The user can pull their near surroundings into and out of vision via a tactile dial.
And while you’re wearing the Vision Pro, when someone physically approaches you, they materialize into view so you won’t be caught off guard. Capturing so-called spatial images and videos in 3D wasn’t technically a key component of Apple’s debut presentation, but it was one of the most extraordinary experiences of donning the headset.
Did you know that the long-awaited Apple Vision Pro has finally arrived? If you’re wearing Apple’s new Vision Pro headset, you might find yourself completely submerged in a virtual environment that you control with just your eyes and fingers:
It has a distinct quality we don’t necessarily associate with new technology. People can move into the foreground and out of it as immersive audio plays in the background of these photographs and videos, which you can capture with the click of a button on the headset.
They come the closest to a killer app for the Vision Pro that we have yet to see, providing a sense of time and place that 2D material simply cannot. It also serves as a reminder of yet another magic trick Apple must perfect: making wearing a face computer during these priceless times feel natural for everyone involved.
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