Finally, Apple has shown to the world their dark horse – a new headset that combines virtual reality space and augmented reality functions. At the opening of the Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, Apple chief executive Tim Cook introduced the new product which for a while had been the company’s worst-kept secret.
It’s clear from his speech that the new device is “about connection”. Talking later to ABC News, Cook elaborated: “It is the first platform that is about spatial computing. It means that you can see, hear and interact with digital content right in your physical space”.
The aforementioned connection aspect of Vision Pro is not just about having all apps as well as other Apple devices at hand (a user can bring their Mac into Vision PRO just by looking at it). It’s also the 3D element that allows one to get immersed in a video clip or photograph from the past or a favourite film. Commenting on the Apple headset, Disney chief executive Bob Iger praised the invention for creating “deeply personal experiences that bring our fans closer to the characters they love”.
Vision PRO is endowed with a micro-OLED display system that, according to the official video introduction, “fits 64 pixels in the same amount of space as a single iPhone pixel and packs 23 million into two panels the size of a postage stamp”. It uses the M2 processor that is also embedded in the company’s MacBook laptops, paired with an “R1” chip designed for the headset.
Although Vision PRO attempts to strike a balance between an illusion and reality, so far, it sounds like well-designed, distracting and expensive entertainment, which, by definition, has little to do with reality. Yet, the $3,500 price tag has a sobering effect. For now, it seems that few would be able to get it and even fewer would achieve the balance.