The Apple Vision Pro is a mixed reality headset that Apple says seamlessly blends the digital and real worlds. Although the glasses are mainly advertised as augmented reality glasses, you can also experience virtual reality with them. That’s also why it’s a mixed reality headset: you can do so much more with it than traditional VR glasses. You use the glasses without outside help and navigate, produce and act based on eye movements, hand movements and your voice. But if you want, you can also connect a keyboard and mouse.
Think of the Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad, which work entirely wirelessly via Bluetooth. Moreover, it is possible to connect your Mac to the Apple Vision Pro and hundreds of thousands of well-known iPhone and iPad applications simply work immediately. By moving your fingers up or down, pinching or slapping, you can use apps just like you would (more or less) on an iPhone or iPad. When using the glasses, you can still see your hands in view, as there are downward pointing cameras.
Apple Vision Pro with polished glass and aluminum frame
The front of the Apple Vision Pro consists of polished glass, which blends into an aluminum frame. The glasses have five sensors, twelve cameras and two screens, both of which present images in 4k resolution. There is also a computer which is kept cool with a fan. Just like with the PlayStation VR2, the band around the head is incredibly flexible. Due to all sorts of (modular) elements, you can probably find the best fit for your head. If not, you can even change the headband (as it’s nicely called).
If you already wear glasses yourself and want to try the Apple Vision Pro, you should use magnetic inserts from Zeiss. The headset battery lasts up to two hours. It’s not long at all (sometimes not even long enough to watch a movie), but you can also use the device when using an outlet. Then you can use the Vision Pro for as long as you want. It’s also good to know that you can still look through the lenses of the glasses (for AR effects), but that you can also fully immerse yourself in virtual reality.
People around you can always see what you are doing. When you enable mixed or augmented reality, people can still see your eyes. But when you’re having a virtual reality experience, the screen protects your eyes. This is done using a system Apple calls EyeSight. Additionally, the system can create a character; a digital image of your face, which you can then use in meetings. The apps you use can be placed anywhere around you in their windows, as the interface is fully 3D.
Apple Vision Pro runs on visionOS
Apple calls this interface visionOS. It is also the operating system on which the Apple Vision Pro runs. When you put the glasses on, you will see icons appear in front of your face (this is the main menu). And if you activate something, the glasses open a window. You can place this window wherever you want. When you focus your eyes on a text field and start speaking, the glasses automatically fill that field. But you can also use your fingers to select apps and options (by pinching) or scroll through content (by moving them up and down).
During the demo of the Apple Vision Pro presentation, Apple showed a sample user scenario. The screen shows an article that someone is reading through Safari, while next to it are windows with messages. During this time, you can also see the environment around you, such as a table. So you’re not always completely closed with the headset on (unless you explicitly want it). Although glasses and visionOS are primarily used as productivity tools, entertainment is also important. So you can watch movies on as big a screen as possible.
And if you want, you can even change the background. It can be the real world, or maybe a restful mountain. You can watch movies in 2D, but also in 3D. Disney, among others, is working on all kinds of content for the device, of course based on all of its brands. Think Star Wars, Marvel and National Geographic. Disney+ will also be immediately available to people who decide to buy the Apple Vision Pro, so you won’t be short of content in any way. You can also enjoy games. You can play over 100 Apple Arcade games and connect external controllers.
Create 3D photos and your own App Store
Since the Apple Vision Pro has 3D cameras, you can also take 3D photos and videos yourself. Of course, you can then just watch it with the headset. The glasses can also count on their own App Store, which contains all kinds of applications specially developed for the new platform. Think especially of applications that can help you with your work (like Microsoft Office), but also of entertainment. We’ll have to wait and see what the developers come up with. But one thing is certain: exciting times full of creativity and imagination are coming.
The Apple Vision Pro is expected to appear in early 2024. For the time being, the glasses, as well as visionOS, will only be released in the United States. But over time, other countries will follow. At the time of this writing, it is not yet known when the Netherlands and Belgium will be able to receive the glasses. We know what the headset should cost, which is $3,499. This represents just over 3,200 euros at the moment. But this amount does not include VAT. If we add that, we arrive at an amount of 4,000 euros rounded. Are you ready to do this?
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