Apple’s unveiled Mixed-Reality Headset, Vision Pro : Know more about it


Apple’s unveiled Mixed-Reality Headset

Today at WWDC, Apple's annual software conference, the company FINALLY DISCLOSED its plans for a mixed-reality wearable computer. 

Apple Vision Pro VR headset

Apple has been working on the headset, known as Apple Vision Pro, for years, following its customary wait-and-see strategy while other major tech companies have dove headfirst into the still-clunky AR/VR market. The new platform and headset will have a significant impact on the rest of the market; whenever Apple enters a market for a product, it frequently both validates the category and eliminates rivals. Recently, a Bloomberg report claimed that senior Apple executives had been at odds over where to place and when to release this headset. 

When Apple CEO Tim Cook demonstrated the device in a prerecorded demo video today on stage, none of that tension was noticeable. It's the first product you look through rather than at, according to Cook. "With digital content, you can see, hear, and interact just like you would in real life. A display no longer constrains you. 

Cook continued, "You can relive your most significant memories in an entirely new way." According to him, "Apple Vision Pro will introduce spatial computing" in a similar way to how the iPhone introduced mobile computing. 

Starting at $3,499, Apple Vision Pro will be made available "early next year," according to Apple.

Using an indoor stairwell while using an Apple Vision Pro virtual reality headset.In Vision Pro, an animation is displayed when you are immersed. The display changes to show your eyes when you want to interact with other people. 

As previously mentioned, unlike VR headsets that completely enclose the face and restrict visibility, the Apple headset enables the wearer to see the real or physical world around them. Once the wearer fastens it, a floating "Home View" is immediately discernible. The company anticipates that people will wear this as part of their daily lives, as evidenced by scenes in the pre-recorded video showing a person wearing the headset walking around their home and grabbing a sparkling water from the fridge. or on lengthy flights. 

Floating screen in a living room

Vision Pro

Large virtual screens that float in your actual environment show content. The headset has LED lights, infrared cameras, and 4K displays. The field of view isn't restricted, which indicates that it isn't likely using the waveguide lens technology found in other augmented-reality headsets, which refracts light and projects virtual objects into the wearer's eyes. Company executives have also mentioned this on numerous occasions. It utilises both the new R1 chip designed specifically for mixed reality and Apple's M2 processor. 

The Vision Pro headset has a small dial that allows users to switch between mixed reality mode, which allows for more real-world viewing, and virtual reality mode, which provides more immersive face computing. For playing media and opening and closing apps, it also uses voice input, including Siri. Hand controllers were not used in the prerecorded demo of the new headset. The soft headband has teeny spatial audio speakers tucked inside.

According to earlier reports, the Vision Pro has an external battery pack, much like other augmented-reality headsets like Magic Leap's headsets and NReal's glasses. The headset is lighter, but the overall experience can occasionally be clunkier as a result. 

Apple also emphasised the quality of the Vision Pro app. It promotes a new technology called Eyesight, whose novelty is almost comical. Even if you are using the headset in a more immersive mode, when someone is nearby, they will suddenly appear in your view. Additionally, a built-in 3D camera allows users to take a spatial image or video directly inside the headset. (Using the same 3D camera, a realistic 3D avatar of you will be produced.) 

Although not fully demonstrated, some of the apps displayed included native FaceTime apps from Apple. Additionally, you can access the internet, send emails, and connect to external office accessories. And even though Apple has been courting a few select developers for months, the official release of Vision Pro means that other app developers can begin creating or modifying their apps for Apple's newest platform. Teams and other Microsoft apps were mentioned in the video demonstration. The headset will also support games built with Unity.

Just before introducing Disney CEO Bob Iger to the stage, Cook said, "Apple Vision Pro will change the way we collaborate and communicate." Iger teased off a demonstration of the Disney+ app being used in virtual reality as he spoke hazily about the ways the new platform could produce fresh immersive experiences for Disney fans. Iger stated that Disney+ will be accessible right away. 

On a couch, a user of the Apple Vision Pro virtual reality headset
No controllers exist. Every interaction is managed by eye tracking, gesture tracking, and voice input. To select and scroll, you can tap and flick your fingers together.

Apple has had success in the past with its strategy of waiting to enter a product category, but the timing of its official entry into mixed reality is odd. Although virtual reality and augmented reality have existed in some capacity for many years, they have not yet been widely embraced.

In 2022, shipments of VR headsets fell by more than 20%, per International Data Corporation research. IDC attributed this to a small number of vendors, a difficult macroeconomic environment, and a lack of widespread consumer adoption. The Wall Street Journal cites Pitchbook in saying that venture capital investments in VR startups have decreased significantly over the past few years. 2019 saw $6.3 billion invested in VR, with $4.8 billion invested the previous year. (How much of that money is currently going to generative AI, the most recent wave in the technology hype cycle, is not entirely clear.) 

The reasonably priced Meta Quest and Quest 2 VR headsets have sold better than most, with a reported 20 million units sold since the product's launch. Meta has come the closest to making a dent in the VR market. Prior to Apple's major announcement, the company also just unveiled the Meta Quest 3 in a hurry. Meta headsets account for nearly 80% of the market, according to IDC. 

Even so, Meta has had trouble moving its $1,000 Meta Quest Pro model, which is significantly more expensive. And to achieve this semblance of success, it has poured billions of dollars into its "metaverse" strategy. The business has stated that it anticipates Reality Labs, its VR division, to experience significant year-over-year losses in 2023. 

However, some people are still optimistic that mixed reality will eventually become widely used, in part because of Apple's entry into the market. IDC said that despite revising its forecast for VR-AR shipments for this year due to weak demand in 2022, it still anticipates shipments to increase by 14% in 2023 and to continue growing in the following five years. In a note to investors, research manager Jitesh Ubrani noted that "Sony's new PSVR2 and Apple's foray into the space will help drive additional volume, while new devices from Meta and Pico, expected towards the end of 2023, will build momentum for VR in 2024."

The head of augmented reality company Magic Leap, Peggy Johnson, told WIRED in an interview that Apple's entry into the market is "absolutely a good thing" for the rest of the sector. For more than ten years, Johnson said, "We've been largely working alone on R&D and trying to get a true augmented-reality system working." And there were years of technical spending before that. Therefore, it's great to see anyone entering this area because it benefits the entire ecosystem. It's a significant validation. 

The possibilities are also exciting to some app developers. Anand Agarawala, cofounder and CEO of AR/VR company Spatial, said, "I think this could be a Tesla Roadster moment for mixed reality." In a way that other people who have entered the market haven't been, Apple is so good at making hardware and UX. Therefore, I believe that this year has the potential to "capture the imagination." 

In the same way that some questioned whether the electric car was a "costly toy" or the beginning of a new era when it first became available, this could indeed be a "Tesla Roadster" moment. Both might be accurate in the best-case scenario for Apple. 


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