A mixed-reality headset with Apple’s first 3D camera, Apple Vision Pro blurs the boundaries between the digital and the real world. Rose Dykins reports
Apple has unveiled Apple Vision Pro, a spatial computer headset that seamlessly blends digital content with the physical world.
Available from early 2024 in the US, the mixed-reality (MR) device has huge potential for next-level immersive digital travel experiences that could rival the exploring new places in real life.
Worn as a headset, the Apple Vision Pro features visionOS, the world’s first spatial operating system, which lets users interact with digital content in a way that feels like it is physically present in their space.
When wearing Apple Vision Pro, you can still see the real world around you. “Even though these experiences are happening inside Vision Pro, it looks, sounds and feels like they are physically there,” says Apple. “Foundational to Apple Vision Pro is that you’re not isolated from other people. When someone else is in the room, you can see them and they can see you.The device has a fully 3D interface that creates an “infinite canvas” for apps, freeing it from the boundaries of a traditional screen display. Meanwhile, its interface is controlled by the user’s eyes, hands and voice, making it feel as intuitive to use as possible.
“Because you’re not limited by a display, apps live in your space,” says Apple. “Your photos can be life-size… so your living room becomes a gallery. Panoramas wrap around you, as if you’re right where you took them.”
Apple Vision Pro is Apple’s first ever 3D camera, meaning users can capture photos and videos with remarkable depth. This presents amazing potential for next-level travel photography and videos, allowing travellers to “relive a memory as if you’re right back in the exact moment”.
Apple adds: “Experiences on Vision Pro can also expand in three dimensions, filling the entirety of your space… You can bring in a beautiful environment and make your screen feel 100 feet wide.
“Since your eyes see the world with incredible resolution, we built a micro-OLED display system that fits 64 pixels in the same amount of space as a single iPhone pixel, and packs 23 million into two panels the size of a postage stamp. That’s more than a 4K TV for each eye, giving you jaw-dropping, life-life clarity.”
In terms of sound, Apple Vision Pro features Apple’s most advanced spatial audio system ever. Sound is delivered directionally to a user’s ear, with audio raytracing using sophisticated sensors that understand the materials and objects surrounding them in their space. This makes it feels as if sound is genuinely coming from the space around you.The impressive processing speed of Apple Vision Pro also aims to virtually eliminate lag altogether to ensure experiences take place in real time, which again presents incredible potential for immersive virtual travel experiences that feel hyper-real.
Apple Vision Pro features a single piece of three-dimensionally formed laminated glass, which acts as a lens through which the cameras and sensors view the world.
This is held by an aluminium alloy frame that curves to wrap around the user’s face, with a light seal to keep out stray light and a soft frame that flexes and conforms to a user’s unique features, while a knitted headband increases comfort. Attached to the headset is a lightweight battery attached that can be slipped into the user’s pocket.