Apple Vision Pro headset

What is Apple Vision Pro?

The Apple Vision Pro is a mixed-reality headset with a 3D camera that seamlessly blends digital content with your physical space. It allows you to navigate using your eyes, hands, and voice, enabling you to do things in ways never before possible. The headset has both augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) capabilities. It is designed to capture spatial photos and videos in 3D, and you can relive those moments with immersive Spatial Audio.

Apple Vision Pro (image source Smoke-away twitter)
Apple Vision Pro (image source Smoke-away twitter).

The Vision Pro is expected to come with premium features, including a high-quality display and hand-tracking, allowing it to be controlled without an external controller. It is set to launch in the U.S. in early 2024, and it will expand to other countries later on in 2024. The starting price for the Vision Pro is $3,499, which is more than three times the cost of the priciest headset in Meta’s line of mixed and virtual reality devices.

Apple’s marketing for the Vision Pro focuses on the terms “spatial” and “spatial computing” rather than “metaverse,” “AR,” and “VR”. The headset is tethered, meaning it is connected to an external device, and it has a 2-hour battery life. Apple views the Vision Pro as a spatial computing platform rather than a singular device.

The announcement of the Apple Vision Pro marks Apple’s entry into the AR/VR headset market, putting it in direct competition with companies like Meta Platforms and Microsoft.

Features of Apple Vision Pro

Apple Vision Pro feature (image source Smoke-away twitter)
Apple Vision Pro feature (image source Smoke-away twitter).

The Apple Vision Pro is a mixed-reality headset that has several features that make it stand out from other AR headsets. Here are some of the features of the Vision Pro:

  • Design: The Vision Pro has a laminated glass front and an aluminum alloy frame that houses an array of infrared cameras, light-emitting diode (LED) illuminators, a LiDAR scanner, six microphones, TrueDepth cameras, and two more sets of cameras facing downwards and sideways.
  • Control: Users can control the headset with eye and hand tracking, eliminating the need for a dedicated controller. The headset is controller-free, and users can browse rows of app icons by looking at them. They can tap to select and flick to scroll, and they can also give voice commands.
  • Optics: The Vision Pro uses a proprietary three-element lens with dual 4K micro-OLED displays that deliver a total of 23 million pixels. The device features IR cameras and LED illuminators on the inside, while the exterior of the device features both LiDAR and traditional camera sensors.
  • Compatibility: The headset is capable of running popular Apple applications including Books, Camera, Contacts, Facetime, Mail, Maps, Messages, Music, Notes, and more.
  • Switching between AR and VR: The Vision Pro is primarily an AR device, but it can switch between augmented and full virtual reality using a dial.
  • Connectivity: The headset supports Bluetooth accessories including Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad and lets you connect your Mac to use inside the headset.
  • Photos and videos: One of the most impressive features is the ability to take photos and videos with the Vision Pro and then later look back at them as part of an AR experience.

The Vision Pro is a technical marvel with a unique design, advanced optics, and innovative control features that make it stand out from other AR headsets.

How does the Apple Vision Pro work?

The Apple Vision Pro is a revolutionary spatial computer that seamlessly blends digital content with the physical world, allowing users to  interact with digital content as if it were physically present in their space.

Apple Vision Pro technology (image source Smoke-away twitter)
Apple Vision Pro technology (image source Smoke-away twitter).

The Vision Pro is designed to provide a fully three-dimensional user interface controlled by the user’s eyes, hands, and voice. It uses micro-OLED technology to pack 23 million pixels into two displays and custom Apple silicon in a unique dual-chip design to ensure real-time experiences. The headset is equipped with 12 cameras, five sensors, and six microphones for tracking hand movements, eye movements, and capturing spatial photos and videos. It also features a LiDAR scanner and a TrueDepth camera for automatic 3D mapping of the environment.

The combination of infrared (IR) cameras and a ring of LEDs project invisible light patterns onto the user’s eyes. The high-speed cameras capture the reflections of these light patterns and use the data to determine the user’s gaze direction and focus. This responsive and intuitive input system allows users to navigate and interact with the headset using their eyes.

The Vision Pro is powered by an M2 chip for graphics and general processing, as well as a newly developed R1 chip for real-time processing.

The device runs on visionOS, which is built on the foundation of iOS. The operating system supports a redesigned suite of Apple apps and experiences from third-party developers, with iPad apps being easily portable. The device also supports native apps built specifically for Apple Vision and has partnered with Unity to bring Unity-powered games to the platform.

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