Select tech journalists were lucky enough to try spatial video on Apple’s groundbreaking innovation, the Apple Vision Pro. Arriving in early 2024, this AR headset’s impact is already profound for those who’ve experienced it firsthand.
This article delves into their initial reactions, exploring the Vision Pro’s unique features and the revolutionary spatial video technology that redefines the computing experience.
Apple Vision Pro reinvents storytelling with immersive memories
Raymond Wong from Inverse describes his emotional journey with the Apple Vision Pro, stating that it “almost brought [him] to tears.” Wong’s experience of capturing a spatial video of a dim sum outing with his mom and reliving it via the Vision Pro showcases the profound emotional connection that spatial videos can create. The potential for capturing cherished moments and even connecting with loved ones who are far away is a glimpse into the transformative power of this technology.
In one spatial video, my mom and I were having dim sum at a restaurant, and I was explaining to her what the Apple Vision Pro is and what it does. It was recorded last weekend, so the memory was fresh in my mind. Rewatching the video inside of the Vision Pro, it was as if we were transported back to the restaurant, sitting across from each other over a table of dishes. I kept tilting my head a lot, almost in disbelief at how surreal it was to see my mom talking, laughing, and eating in spatial video.
TechRadar’s Lance Ulanoff echoes this sentiment, calling the spatial video “an immersive trip” and predicting that Apple is set to “trigger a seismic shift in [the] computing experience.” Ulanoff emphasizes the device’s impact, suggesting that even those who may not purchase the Vision Pro will feel its influence.
I enjoyed every video, and while I did not feel as if I was inside any of them, each one felt more real, and whatever emotions I had watching them were heightened. I suspect that when consumers start experiencing the Vision Pro and spatial videos for themselves they might be surprised at the level of emotion they experience from family videos – it can be quite intense.
CNET’s Scott Stein emphasizes the transformative impact of spatial video on content creation. Stein, after shooting footage at a family event, expresses the fear of missing out on the immersive experience provided by the Vision Pro. This suggests that Apple may be strategically focusing on spatial video as a key selling point for the device.
The most compelling experiences for me were playing clips where I held the iPhone near my own line of sight with family. In one clip, I’m sitting around a table at Thanksgiving with my mom, telling her I’m recording in 3D for a future project. She sort of raised her eyebrows a bit, and the way she looked at me in 3D — at a scale close to normal size, with her seeming to make eye contact — made me feel like I was almost there. It made me want to climb through that fuzzy-bordered window and join my family again on the other side
Josh Rubin of Cool Hunting provides insights into the technical aspects of spatial video, praising the clarity and lack of graininess even in low-light conditions. He emphasizes the importance of camera stability for an optimal experience, shedding light on the practicalities of creating spatial videos.
On a few occasions while recording the iPhone warned “More light recommended.” I was pleasantly surprised when viewing that content in the headset: the movies still had plenty of depth and the image quality remained crisp and not grainy. One clip, certainly a moment from the future, was from a night drive in an autonomous Waymo on the streets of San Francisco. In another clip there was a strong, focused spotlight on peonies sitting on a table in a dark bar. This contrast made for a nice dramatic moment and even the objects in the shadowy background had depth.
Following the addition of spatial recording in iOS 17.2, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max owners can now record spatial videos on their iPhones. Eventually, they will be able to view these videos in 3D on the Apple Vision Pro.