By Ronald Samonte

June 9, 2023

Apple's WWDC 2023 saw a number of exciting products being unveiled such as the new 15-inch MacBook Air, a more powerful processor the M2 Max and M2 Ultra Chip. The updated Mac Studio and Mac Pro stands to benefit on the improved computing power and efficiency of the M2 Max and Ultra. But the star of the show is Apple's newest product - The Apple Vision Pro. What is Vision Pro? Well according to Apple it's not your ordinary headset. The Vision Pro is a spatial computer that projects apps, widgets, photos, videos and other elements using Augmented Reality (AR) right in front of your eyes. This is done using Apple's first ever spatial operating system - Vision OS. There were a lucky bunch of selected youtuber influencers who were fortunate to have a look and experience using the Vision Pro.

The design of the headset at first glance one can say as being typical but looking more deeply into it can be said that Apple's legendary design philosophy has shaped the look and feel of the device. As is the case with the iPhones, iPad etc., the Vision Pro is made of premium materials. The design and fit of Apple's new headset are ergonomic and comfortable according to the folks who are lucky to have a try on the Vision Pro.

Apple Vision Pro Unveiled...

Apple Vision Pro - image courtesy of Apple

Tim Cook during the keynote used the words 'it's like magic' to describe how Vision Pro takes the user in a familiar space but infused into the realm of the digital world. Apple's implementation of this Augmented Reality integration is what they call Spatial Computing. To make this happen Apple have built what is probably one of it's most powerful computing device. Integrated are the M2 chip which provides the computing power and the new R1 Chip which processes sensor data at incredible speed. With the M2 chip, the Vision Pro should be able to sustain a high performance and still have amazing battery efficiency. The battery of the Vision Pro is external and connected via a braided cable.

Apple highlights the various experience on Vision Pro. The user can initiate interaction by simply looking at an element and tapping your fingers together like a pinch to select. Elements can be your Apple Apps or widgets but when viewed using the Vision Pro takes the user experience in a new level. Sure, most people have had experience with apps using AR or VR, but Apple's implementation seems to be seamless and intuitive. I still remember the AR craze back 7 years ago, Pokémon Go it was really fun to use. But fast forward today AR has not really taken off on either android or iPhone. Because of this, attention was diverted to VR instead with Meta, HTC and other vendors seeking to dominate and increase the VR gaming/entertainment market.

With the introduction of the Vision Pro, it looks like Apple has some success in improving how users interact with augmented reality elements. A Vision Pro user can view this element floating in a 3D like animation that has both depth and incredible clarity. Inside the headset are 2 displays the sized of a post stamp packed with more than 2x the number of pixels of a 4K resolution. The visual experience is also complimented by Apple's advanced Spatial Audio which could be something similar to surround sound implementation.

The camera experience is also quite unique. The photo and video capability of the Vision Pro is like having 3d effect infused into it. With Apple's implementation the user when viewing 3d captured photos or videos seems like traveling back in time with you viewing the exact moment as if you're there. This camera technology is awesome and also a bit unsettling. People tend to get nostalgic on photos and videos and the realism brought by this technology can either make some people a lot happy or feel distress.

Note that the Vision Pro is not yet for sale this year and might be available for purchase in the US only by next year. I'm not sure why Apple is limiting the release to the US, but my best guess is that they are testing the waters. Releasing late 2024 means app developers have enough time to create games and apps for the Vision Pro. If the US market shows a positive response toward the Vision Pro perhaps the rest of the world would have a glimpse of it, that is if people are willing to fork a lot of money on a hefty $3,499 price tag.

A demo shows Facetime in Vision Pro. Image courtesy of Apple