Apple unveiled Vision Pro, a pricey set of headsets that it claims would unlock a whole new world of fantastical augmented and virtual reality applications.
The headset will start at $3,499 and be available for sale in the United States in early 2024, along with other countries following the same month. During its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on Monday at its headquarters in Cupertino, California, Apple unveiled the headset that has been in development for years.
Without the usage of additional controllers, Apple’s Vision Pro navigates by using hand and eye movements as well as voice input. In order to help users stay connected with those around them, Vision Pro uses a technology Apple calls EyeSight that displays the wearer’s eyes to others when they are in augmented reality mode.
If the wearer is in fully immersive VR mode, however, the screen becomes opaque to the outside world. Additionally, the headset has Apple’s first 3D camera for taking images and videos in three dimensions. It can also be used as a personal movie theatre with a screen that feels 100 feet wide.
The operating system that powers the VR headset is called visionOS, which Apple claims was designed to support the low-latency requirements of spatial computing. A single piece of 3D-formed laminated glass serves as the optical surface for the cameras and sensors in the Vision Pro. This is attached to a frame made of aluminium alloy that gently curves to wrap around your face while serving as an attachment point for the Light Seal, the portion of fabric that contacts the wearer’s face.
In total, it has 12 cameras, 5 sensors, and 6 microphones to ensure that content feels like it is appearing right in front of the user’s eyes, in real time, according to Apple. The new R1 chip on the device processes and plays images in 12 milliseconds, which is eight times quicker than the blink of an eye. With its built-in battery, Apple Vision Pro offers up to two hours of uninterrupted use.