The Cupertino tech giant has added an all-new category to its list of products, the Apple Vision Pro.
Unveiled at the WWDC 2023, Apple Vision Pro is the company’s first spatial computer with combined augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology which “seamlessly blends digital content with the physical world” in a fully three-dimensional space.
Apple Vision Pro is powered by R1 and M2 Apple Silicon in a dual-chip design and runs on visionOS to deliver an AR/VR experience like never before on an ultra-high-resolution display system with 23 million pixels across two displays.
Apple Vision Pro delivers AR/VR experience like no one rival product in the market
Select developers and tech enthusiasts, who were invited to attend the Keynote in person, got to use the Apple Vision Pro at Apple Park and after a 30-minute demo, here are their first impressions of the headset.
Matthew Panzarino from TechCrunch was deeply impressed with the device’s technology and capabilities which he claims none of the VR or AR headsets currently available in the market offer.
- The hardware is good with better optics than rival products, a comfortable and adjustable headband, and even the power connector has a “great little design”. Although the mainframe and glass piece are “substantial in size”, they are not too heavy to cause any discomfort.
- Smooth onboarding experience with an automatic eye-relief calibration to match the lenses to the center of users’ eyes. Set up is simple and only takes a few minutes.
- UI is exceptionally good:
- The user interface is bright, bold and interacts with other windows, reacts to lighting conditions, and casts shadows on the ground.
- The apps look soo good that Apple used them directly off the headset in the WWDC 2023 Keynote.
- Passthrough has a clever “breakthrough” mechanism to keep the user aware of their surrounding during VR or AR sessions.
- Avatar in FaceTime calls or user’s digital “personas” are considerably well done, if not perfect. Expressions, skin tension, and muscle work did not “feel creepy or odd”.
- 3D movies are good; even the 3D photos and videos captured by the headset look “super great”.
- Text is legible and crips in all sizes and distances within users’ space.
- Most importantly, the new headset does not trigger “latency-driven nausea or isolation” which are commonly experienced on other VR headsets.
- Near-perfect eye tracking and hand gesture control are picked up from anywhere around the headset. The high-resolution cameras on the bottom of the device track hands movement even when the hands are lowered, are on the user’s lap, or resting on a chair.
His verdict is that Apple Vision Pro really works and is good.
Overall, I’m hesitant to make any broad claims about whether Apple Vision Pro is going to fulfill Apple’s claims about the onset of spatial computing. I’ve had far too little time with it and it’s not even completed — Apple is still working on things like the light shroud and definitely on many software aspects.
It is, however, really, really well done. The platonic ideal of an XR headset. Now, we wait to see what developers and Apple accomplish over the next few months and how the public reacts.
For Nilay Patel from The Verge, the Apple Vision Pro demo was the best he ever had. Calling it a “really nice” VR headset, he said that the displays and the video passthrough were incredibly impressive as he was able to take notes on his phone while wearing the device.
But he was waiting to see how developers leverage the new headset by delivering “killer” apps.
Apple can clearly outpace everyone in the industry when it comes to hardware, especially when cost is apparently no object. But the most perfect headset demo reel of all time is still just a headset demo reel — whether Apple’s famed developer community can generate a killer app for the Vision Pro is still up in the air.
YouTuber @MKBHD said that the eye-tracking tech of the new headset was “magic” because the UI selects exactly what the user is looking at regardless of its size or position and combined with its hand gestures control, Apple Vision Pro delivered a “telepathic” experience. He was also blown away by the passthrough and the display’s sharpness.
However, the downsides for him were the absence of Haptics, the heavy weight of the device, the limited 2 hours of battery life, and the big price tag.
Scott Stein from CNET was also a fan of Apple Vision Pro’s passthrough video quality and the fluidity of the UI. He said that the gesture was intuitive, the display’s high resolution and brightness were a surprise, and the Cinema demo deliver a movie experience.
YouTube @Brian Tong said that the headset recorded incredible 3D videos, and the 3D Spatial Persona for FaceTime calls looked very good. Commended the clarity and fidelity of Vision Pro, he said that it was unlike anything he had ever seen before. The movie-watching experience was like a movie theater “clean and immersive”.
However, the headset felt heavy on the face.
Developer @Paul Hudson claims that the headset is even better than how good people think it is. The immersive experience with incredible audio fidelity, polished UI, and zero friction allowed him to easily navigate through apps and carry out different tasks.
Most importantly, he did not feel even a bit dizzy, the lenses were 100% for his strong prescription glasses, the audio is “surreal” without any headphones, and hand gestures are intuitive and highly responsive that “You go from making big hand-waving gestures to tiny swipes and pinches real fast.”
There were so many individual experiences that would make you say, “that alone is revolutionary.” But when you see 50 of them back to back, culminating in an immersive experience that somehow blows the top of everything you already saw, it’s just jaw-dropping.