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Apple CEO Tim Cook ushered in a new era for mixed reality with the announcement of Apple Vision Pro, a new augmented reality headset which was the company’s first new product category in many years.
The headset announced at the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference wasn’t a surprise thanks to a number of leaks, but experts had been predicting it would happen since 2015. The device arrives this fall.
You can use the device as a see-through device to view the real world in a new way with animated overlays. Or you can use it as a virtual reality headset to be fully immersed within an environment.
Alan Dye, vice president of human interface at Apple, said you control it with your eyes, hands and voice.
You can use Siri to quickly open or close apps. You’re never isolated from the people around you. It displays your eyes, using EyeSight, to people around you when you are wearing the device if you are near people. This changes when you are fully immersed in an app.
Richard Howarth, vice president of industrial design at Apple, showed off the design of the device, which is full of cameras, sensors, and high-resolution displays. It has a computer that quietly draws air through the system. The band is huge and it looks like no other headset I’ve seen, and it’s really big.
Yet it has ribbed cushions for breathability and stretching. You can get custom optical insights from Zeiss for those who wear glasses. You can connect an external battery to it so you don’t wear that on your head.
The device is expected to have a lot of apps and games available when it ships in the fall. Focus areas include games, wellness, fitness, virtual collaboration, video conferencing, virtual meeting rooms, sports viewing, and more.
You can have multiple apps open at once when using it to work. You can turn your head and see Safari or turn your head the other way and see your Mac screen. You can bring your Mac screen into your view at a 4K resolution so you can use Vision Pro side by side with your Mac.
You can press a button on the side of the headset and capture a spatial video, seeing it from any angle as you wish. You can also see a panorama photo on a huge virtual screen. You can watch movies on an airplane in an immersive view where you can’t see anyone else. You can watch 3D movies as well, as they will have more depth and motion.
You can see interactive videos with dinosaurs sticking their heads out of the screen. You can play arcade games like NBA 2K23 with a game controller, and there will be more than 100 games available.
Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, came out on stage to praise Apple Vision Pro. he showed how you can view movies and immersive yourself in screens full of sports information.
He showed you can bring things like the Disneyland parade into your living room.
Meta anticipated Apple will dive into the market. So Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg went on the offensive, announcing last Thursday that the Meta Quest 3 virtual reality headset will debut in the fall for just $500.
Clearly, Apple has been working on the apps for a long time and they look great for tasks like collaboration and working with your Mac. I’m looking forward to seeing more gaming apps and VR experiences.
You can view your library of videos and photos as you wish on a huge screen that you see before your eyes.
With more than 20 million Quest and Quest 2 devices sold, Meta has cred in the market. And it is packing a lot of tech into the device, which is 40% thinner than its predecessor and has color passthrough for better mixed reality applications. One developer, who already has the Meta Quest 3 prototype, said that the Meta device could use more memory but it will be interesting competition for Apple.
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