Apple has taken a bold leap into the future, unveiling its long-anticipated mixed reality headset, the Vision Pro, at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC23) on June 5th. Not merely a piece of hardware, but a revolutionary platform, the Vision Pro comes with a staggering price tag of $3,499, available from early next year.
Marking Apple’s most significant hardware product launch since the iPad in 2010, the Vision Pro offers a sublime marriage of virtual reality and augmented reality. The device overlays digital content onto the user’s real-world view, merging both in a seamless, immersive experience. Yet, this intriguing device surpasses the conventional VR headset, with a price point nearly twelve times that of Meta’s bestselling Quest 2, sparking curiosity about its standout features.
Apple CEO Tim Cook, known for his operations expertise that boosted Apple’s market value from $350bn to a staggering $2.9tn, ventures into bold new territory with this launch. The Vision Pro isn’t just a product, it signifies a significant milestone in Cook’s leadership journey, embodying his drive to carry Steve Jobs’ vision forward. Tim Bajarin of Creative Strategies suggests that the launch could indeed help to “cement Cook’s legacy” beyond operations.
Envisaged as a device to seamlessly blend the physical and digital worlds, the Vision Pro marks a new direction for Apple. Cook himself declared it “the first Apple product you look through and not at.” This suggests a paradigm shift towards ‘spatial computing’, which Apple believes might rival the importance of personal and mobile computing heralded by the Mac and iPhone, respectively.
Aesthetics aside, the Vision Pro appears to be a promising tool for both entertainment and productivity. It brings the power of big-screen entertainment into a personal sphere, transforming the way we consume media. Tim Bajarin, who has tested the device, described the experience as “staggering” — imagine watching a sports game from the field or being immersed in a 3D movie world.
The Vision Pro is not just about fun and games. It’s also pitched towards white-collar professionals, positioning itself as the “ultimate workspace”. This includes features for collaborating on documents and watching multiple video calls simultaneously. Its price point and nascent application range suggest its initial use might be in gaming and specialized workplaces. However, Apple is optimistic about software developers creating a plethora of VR and AR applications that could diversify its uses.
While the steep price tag may deter some, the Vision Pro’s appeal extends beyond conventional VR users. Apple targets a different crowd with its mixed reality headset, including casual users and even seniors. However, its true potential and reach will be clearer only once it is made widely available.
In conclusion, the Vision Pro represents an ambitious foray into the realm of mixed reality. While its commercial success remains to be seen, its innovative design and features underscore Apple’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of technology. If the Vision Pro manages to replicate the success of its predecessors like the iPhone and iPad, it could indeed usher in a new era of spatial computing.
Also, check out this video by MKBHD with first impressions.