Apple has unveiled Apple Vision Pro, a new wearable spatial computer that blends digital content with the physical world. The announcement comes after years of speculation and leaks surrounding the headset.
Apple’s Vision Pro features a unique, innovative design packed with multiple sensors and cameras that allow for voice, eye, and hand gesture controls. Yes, no external artificial controllers are required to use the headset.
Apple says the Vision Pro is made from a custom aluminum alloy designed to make it as light as possible. The headset can accommodate a range of head shapes, thanks to the headband coming in three sizes. The dual-driver audio pods positioned next to each ear deliver an advanced spatial audio system, offering an immersive audio experience. In order to further reduce the weight, there’s an external battery pack connected to the headset with a wire that allows for up to two hours of use when the device is unplugged.
The Vision Pro features an ultra-high-resolution display that packs 23 million pixels across two micro-OLED displays. It is powered by Apple silicon in a new dual-chip design; the M2 chip delivers a standalone performance, and the new R1 chip processes data from 12 cameras, five sensors, and six microphones. Apple says the R1 chip streams new images to the display within 12 milliseconds, which is 8x faster than the blink of an eye.
The headset operates on visionOS, the world’s first spatial operating system, offering infinite screen real estate. It lets users interact with the digital content that’s blended into their physical space. Apple says there will be a special version of the App Store for Vision Pro that will host AR and VR applications for the headset. There’s also support for Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad for a traditional yet immersive Mac desktop setup.
When a user is fully immersed in an environment, the new EyeSight feature allows them to stay connected to those around them while wearing Apple Vision Pro. It displays the user’s eyes and makes the device feel transparent.
Furthermore, the headset can also be used to watch TV or movies as there’s a dedicated mode with a virtual screen that measures up to 100 feet. The Vision Pro supports more than 100 different titles from Apple Arcade, in addition to support for PS5 and Xbox controllers.
Apple is also bringing a new digital avatar called Persona for Vision Pro users. It’s a digital representation created by advanced machine learning techniques using data from the headset’s sensors. For instance, Vision Pro users will be reflected as a Persona which reflects their face and hand movements in real-time during a FaceTime call.
Apple Vision Pro makes use of the user’s iris data for unlocking the device, thanks to the new Optic ID authentication system. The Optic ID data is fully encrypted, locally stored on the device, and is not shared with other apps or even Apple. The Vision Pro will start shipping early next year, starting at $3,499.