WWDC Apple today unveiled an augmented reality headset called the Vision Pro for its annual Worldwide Developers Conference. This is the second major product line expansion since Tim Cook took over in 2011, after the Apple Watch.
“This is the day we’ve been preparing for for years and the one we’ve been really looking forward to,” Cook told the audience. “We believe that augmented reality is a profound technology. By merging digital content with the real world, it enables experiences that have never been seen before.
“Vision Pro is a new kind of computer that augments reality by seamlessly blending the physical and digital worlds. It’s the first Apple product to look inside, not outside.”
Cook unveiled virtual reality goggles like a ski mask, along with a 15-inch MacBook Air, revamped Mac Studio and Mac Pro desktop computers, iOS 17, iPadOS 17 and watchOS 10.
Apple’s revamped hardware includes Arm-compatible Apple Silicon M2 chips in most of its products. And with the arrival of Apple Silicon in the Mac Pro, Apple’s platform transition from Intel chips is complete. Previous Mac Pros relied on Intel Xeon processors. Currently, Apple’s current hardware does not have Intel built-in. Shares of the x86 giant are currently down about 5% following the news.
of apple vision pro Headsets start at $3,499 and are expected to ship early next year. Face-hugging gadgets and dangling batteries that look like Ready Player One are trying to define a platform that Cook calls spatial computing, but carefully he didn’t mention the M word.
Demonstration of devices like snorkeling goggles, as an entertainment system with vivid video and spatial audio, and as a work environment with layers of icons, windows and menus, a typical computing device if that’s what it’s for has been shown to function as I want you It has an input system tied to the user’s eyes, hands, and voice. An internal sensor tracks eye movements, an external camera monitors hand gestures, and a microphone captures voice commands.
Vision Pro runs on iOS and visionOS, which includes the spatial framework, multi-app 3D engine, audio engine, dedicated renderer subsystem, and real-time subsystem. The device has its own app store, but we expect many existing iPhone and iPad apps to work on the new hardware.
We’re told the device will launch with support for Disney+, the Unity game engine, Safari and a ton of iOS and iPadOS apps, including Microsoft’s Word and Excel. This hardware provides face-based authentication using a system called Optic ID. It is believed to be less gullible than Apple’s regular Face ID. The battery pack is expected to last for hours on a single charge, but can also remain plugged in while in use.
Among the many innovations in headsets, Apple is said to have applied for over 5,000 patents in the development of headsets, but the Vision Pro is the first of many other goggle systems that obscure the wearer’s eyes. Avoid anti-social behavior. The company calls this little trick “EyeSight.”
Apple’s hardware captures an image of the user’s face during setup and optionally projects a semblance of the wearer’s eyes onto the headset’s external display to create the illusion of the wearer’s gaze. . This realistic-looking fake face can be revealed as a form of social consideration when other people are nearby, and by varying the opacity when the wearer’s attention is elsewhere. You can hide it.
The two built-in displays total 23 million pixels, offering better resolution than a 4K monitor per eye. They are powered by the Apple-designed M2 processor and the new R1 real-time sensor processor that coordinates input from 12 cameras, 5 sensors and 6 microphones. Apple claims the R1 chip changes the display with head movements and other inputs with the lowest possible motion sickness-inducing delay (less than 12 milliseconds).
In a move away from companies in the VR space that treat headset analytics data as something they can sell to marketers, Apple has promised not to release eye-tracking data.
“Where you look is very personal,” Mike Rockwell, vice president of Apple’s engineering and development group, explained at the WWDC presentation. “It can reveal what you’re thinking. With Apple Vision Pro, where you’re looking is private, because input from your eyes is isolated in a separate background process.” , apps and websites can’t know where you were looking, only when you tap your finger.” Can you tell me the result? “
In other words, data from cameras and sensors is processed at the system level and is not available to apps, so you can’t covertly capture your surroundings.
The Vision Pro’s non-electronic components are also getting Apple-level attention. Attachable Zeiss spectacles are also provided for vision correction if required. The so-called light seal (fabric that fits over the face to prevent stray light) is separate from the aluminum alloy frame and comes in different sizes as well as the headband for a snug fit. The fact that Apple chose to leverage these accessories means that they will likely come in a variety of styles, and probably won’t come cheap.
Apple sparked the much-hyped Metaverse cash conflagration ($10.2 billion spent in 2021 followed by $13.7 billion operating loss for Reality Labs division in 2022) and subsequent job cuts In addition, it is trying to enter the face computer market. For those who remember 2015, Google spent a good deal of money on its failed augmented reality headset Google Glass, which until recently survived for enterprise customers.
And how could we forget Microsoft’s HoloLens – well, everyone else would.
Nevertheless, analytics firms that sell expensive reports to customers in the tech industry continue to talk about the potential of the augmented, virtual, mixed and augmented reality market. For example, Acumen Research and Consulting Said Last December, the global AR/VR market was worth $22.5 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach $451.5 billion by 2030.
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“Even if it doesn’t launch until early 2024, some of Apple’s design decisions and the revolutionary VisionOS will make Vision Pro a viable option for spatial computing,” said Leo Gebbie, principal analyst for connected devices at consulting firm CCS. We expect it to transform the field of advertising,” he said. In an emailed statement, Insight said, “Virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) have recently gone through a period of intense scrutiny and skepticism, but there are companies with the star power to revive the space. If so, it’s Apple.”
Apple’s arrival is likely to be seen as a validation rather than a setback by concerned competitors. Manufacturers of glossy products must find ways to build follow-on headsets that the masses can afford. ®