By Bobby Carlton
The Vision Pro is the device that will change how enterprise looks at XR technology.
It took long enough, but Apple finally jumped into the headset business when they debuted their long-awaited Apple Vision Pro, a mixed-reality headset during their annual WWDC event held at Apple’s HQ in Cupertino, CA.
Let’s just jump right into this, the Vision Pro is a revolutionary new “spatial computer” that brings together digital content and the physical world. It allows users to stay connected and present themselves in a new way that Apple calls “spatial reality”.
More importantly, Apple doesn’t look at the Vision Pro headset as some sort of gimmicky device that you’ll use from time to time, instead they are marketing the Vision Pro as an actual computer device that you would use every single day, much like their MacBook Pros, iPhone, and iMac computers.
“Today marks the beginning of a new era for computing,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Just as the Mac introduced us to personal computing, and iPhone introduced us to mobile computing, Apple Vision Pro introduces us to spatial computing. Built upon decades of Apple innovation, Vision Pro is years ahead and unlike anything created before — with a revolutionary new input system and thousands of groundbreaking innovations. It unlocks incredible experiences for our users and exciting new opportunities for our developers.”
This will be a big deal not just for consumers and Apple fanatics, this will have an incredibly strong impact on enterprise in virtually all industries. Just look at how we work today using our devices. But more on that later.
Let’s Meet Apple’s Vision Pro
Cook, said that the company’s vision of spatial computing is the beginning of a new era of computing. He noted that the Vision Pro is the culmination of decades of innovation and is the most advanced input system Apple has ever created. It brings together digital content and the physical world in a new way.
The headset features a 3D interface and a variety of other features, such as ways to scale apps and create environments that are more natural and immersive, and it features an infinite canvas that can be used for apps that go beyond the limitations of traditional displays. Its user interface is designed to be controlled through the hands, voice, and eyes.
Using eye tracking and hand tracking technology, the Vision Pro doesn’t require you to hold controllers. Controllers are great for gaming and social interactions, however for enterprise use, industries found that controllers can be an additional distraction on the work floor, which doesn’t make them totally ideal for work environments that require you to focus on the job and not on the devices you’re using.
One goal of XR was eliminating as much friction as possible. With the elimination of controllers, Apple gets us even closer to a frictionless XR experience. If you still need a tactile experience, or you need to do work that involves writing emails, through the Magic Trackpad and Magic Keyboard, users can easily set up their Mac into the Vision Pro and create a portable and private 4K display.
Unlike other XR headsets on the market, the Vision Pro is designed to give users a completely different experience when it comes to using their apps. It features a 3D interface that allows them to create a visual canvas that’s different from their traditional displays. It also enables users to access their favorite apps and be more productive.
A Revolutionary Operating System and User Interface with visionOS
The visionOS was built on the foundation of the company’s decades-long history of engineering innovation. It was designed to support low-latency spatial computing and was built to give users a powerful new experience.
VisionOS features a new three-dimensional interface, which makes digital content feel and look like it’s in a user’s physical world. It responds dynamically to light and shadows, allowing users to understand distance and scale.
12 powerful cameras and five sensors are the secret to the Vision Pro. It’s powered by Apple’s new R1 and M2 chips, and it can run all day long when plugged into an outlet. However, if you’re planning on using the device on the go, you’ll require a secondary battery pack, which is predicted to last about 2-hours.
Through the visionOS, you can easily browse through you apps by looking at them, tap your fingers to go to the next page, or voice to dictate. You will also be able to control your Vision Pro using your hands, eyes or voice, and the OS will be able to combine the physical and digital worlds through an impressive passthrough feature.
Because the Vision Pro OS was created based on the foundations of Apple’s iOS, iPad, and macOS platforms, developers should be able to create apps and experiences pretty easily, as long as they are familiar with Apple’s suite to developers tools.
Developers will still need to create apps specifically for the new Apple headset, and to help push that, company says that it will be releasing a visionOS SDK later this month along with updates to its Reality Composer and Xcode tools. In addition, it will also be releasing Human Interface Guidelines that will help them implement best practices for creating spatial apps.
In addition, Apple is also planning on releasing a Vision Pro Simulator, which will allow developers to try out their apps inside the headset once it’s available to the public in 2024.
Mike Rockwell, Apple’s vice president of Technology Development, said that the company’s first spatial computer had to be invented across various aspects of the system. Through a combination of software and hardware, the company was able to create a standalone device that is the most advanced in its category.
Through visionOS, developers can easily port their existing apps for the iPad and iOS to the Vision Pro. In addition, Apple is making it easier for developers to create new apps for the operating system by allowing them to use tools such as Swift.
To make things even easier for developers, Unity will be the key game engine for Apple Vision Pro.
The Vision Pro is a culmination of Apple’s decades-long history and engineering innovation. It builds on the company’s high-performance products, such as the iPhone, Mac, and Apple Watch. To achieve its ambitious goals, Apple used the most advanced materials.
When compared to other MR headsets on the market, the Vision Pro like other Apple products is a true beauty. “It’s the first Apple product you look through and not at,” Apple CEO Tim Cook told the audience.
What is really interesting is that the front of the Apple Vision Pro is see-through. So can see the eyes of the user, which will help anyone in the real-world know if someone is engaged in an XR experience or if they’re able to talk with you.
The cutting-edge headset features a compact design that’s built with an amazing amount of technology. Its optical surface is made from a single piece of three-dimensional glass, which acts as a lens for multiple cameras. The glass flows into a custom aluminum frame that’s gently curved around the user’s face. The Light Seal, which is a soft textile, is also available in various shapes and sizes to conform to the user’s face.
The flexible straps allow the audio to remain close to the user’s ears. A Head Band is also available in various sizes and is made of three-dimensional knitted materials for added comfort and flexibility. Its simple mechanism lets users easily change the band’s appearance.
With the EyeSight system, the headset can detect your eyes and provide a visual indicator when you’re not available. It can also create a virtual “persona” through facial scanning, which is a hyperrealistic representation of a person. The device utilizes passthrough video to provide users with a full color view of the world, and it can project 3D objects into the real world
One of the coolest features, IMO, is a small dial that can be used to switch between virtual and mixed-reality modes. The dial will also allow you to fade digital content into the background in case you need to focus on a task in the real-world and you don’t want to remove the headset. You’ll also be able to use the dial to switch apps, turn pages, zoom in and out, and other things you’d normally do on your computer.
The Vision Pro is built to deliver incredible computing performance in a compact form factor. It features a revolutionary display system that’s built on top of a silicon chip. It’s capable of producing two displays that are each capable of displaying 23 million pixels.
This technological innovation combined with the custom catadioptric lenses for enhanced clarity and sharpness deliver jaw-dropping experiences. Users who require vision correction will also use ZEISS optical inserts.
The Apple Vision Pro features a powerful and customizable audio system that’s designed to create a feeling of spatial audio that’s based on the user’s environment. Two individually-amplified drivers are inside each audio pod, which are capable of delivering a personalized sound experience.
Spatial Audio with Apple Vision Pro
The Vision Pro utilizes the most advanced spatial audio system available, and it lets users experience sounds originating from their surroundings. Its dual-driver pods are also capable of adapting to the user’s environment and delivering a personalized audio experience.
In addition to its audio and display innovations, the Vision Pro also features a high-speed camera system that’s capable of capturing and analyzing eye movements.
The Vision Pro is powered by Apple silicon, which is built in a dual-chip design. Its M2 and R1 chips are capable of delivering exceptional standalone performance. These two chips are also capable of handling the input from multiple cameras and microphones.
The R1 chip is capable of delivering 8x faster than the blink of an eye when it comes to streaming new images to the displays.
Privacy and Security
Through an innovative new authentication system known as the “Ophthalmic ID,” the Apple Vision Pro can be enabled by comparing the user’s iris data with the enrolled data of the Secure Enclave. It’s completely encrypted and stays on the user’s device, preventing it from being stored on Apple servers.
The Apple Vision Pro doesn’t store the user’s eye tracking information on third-party websites or apps. It does so by processing the data collected by the sensors and camera at the system level, which means that individual apps don’t have to view the user’s surroundings to provide spatial experiences. Its EyeSight feature also provides a visual indicator when users take a video or photograph.
There is no doubt that Apple sees their Vision Pro as the future of computing. This not only means how we use our devices to play, stay connected with friends and family, and learn. But they see the Vision Pro headset and “spatial reality” as the way we work. If you look at typical workday, think about how much time you are at your computer, look at your mobile device, and think about all of the apps we rely on. The Vision Pro brings all of that into a single device.
The XR industry has been waiting on that new “iPhone moment”, where a device completely changed how we lived and work, and it’s very possible we just got there.
How Much Will it Cost and Who Develops Experiences For It?
Apple Vision Pro starts at $3,499 (U.S.), and will be available early next year on apple.com and at Apple Store locations in the U.S., with more countries coming later next year. In the meantime, XR studios, game developers, companies focused on enterprise solution will have some time to create, develop, and explore the possibilities of the potential of what Apple Vision Pro could be.
The price seems high considering some rumors placed the headset right around the $1,500 range. However Apple is justifying the price by focusing on how the Vision Pro would replace devices you have, similar to the way the iPhone replaced your phone and other devices. Apple made a point to note the many devices the Vision Pro would replace would include your TV and and high end cameras.
FS Studio is dedicated to being part of that exploration with our incredibly talented team of technical artists, 3D modelers and innovative approach to enterprise. If you’d like to explore a solution using the Vision Pro, let us know! We’re here for you!
For more information about Vision Pro, visit the Apple site or keep checking back here on the FS Studio blog.