Apple Vision Pro – what it is and how it works

Apple vision pro

Apple Vision Pro

At WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) 2023 Apple presented its new product: Vision Pro . It is the first viewer with augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies created by the Cupertino company. Let’s see together what the characteristics of this device are.

The release of Apple Vision Pro had been awaited for over a year, and it actually found itself competing with other headsets, such as Meta Quest Pro and Microsoft HoloLens. With Vision Pro the era of Spatial Computing and ARKit begins.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Before talking about the Apple headset, let’s briefly clarify what virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are .

  • virtual reality is an immersive technology that allows you to project the user into a simulated 3D environment, using special viewers that isolate the user from the real world;
  • Augmented reality is the integration of real-time digital information into the user’s surrounding environment.

How does Vision Pro work?

Woman wearing Apple Vision Pro

Apple has invested heavily in AR and VR technologies. We remember the acquisition of some companies such as FlyBy Media (space mapping), PrimeSense (sensors for 3D detection), FaceShift (animated avatars created by scanning people’s faces) and Metaio (augmented reality). After years of research and development Apple has finally presented Vision Pro , a headset for augmented reality and virtual reality, with its own operating system called VisorOS .

ARKit – AR framework

ARKit 6 is a development framework that allows you to create augmented reality apps for iOS. Thanks to this technology and together with special sensors, such as the LiDAR Scanner , Apple devices are able to map the surrounding environment and add 2D or 3D digital elements  in the space.

Spatial Computing – Vision Pro

Spatial computing is a technology that uses AR and VR to create interactive and immersive digital environments that integrate with the real world.

After the environment around the user is mapped, thanks to both LiDAR Scanner technology and True Depth camera, digital contents are shown in the user’s field of vision as if they were positioned in the surrounding space.

Vision Pro also offers some unique features:

  • navigate with your eyes . Just look at an app or button to select them;
  • scroll and select with your fingers. Thanks to the sensors of the viewer, it is sufficient to tap with two fingers to activate the app or to make a small scroll with the hand (patented gesture called flick) to move the pages and possibly enlarge the displayed screen;
  • you can dictate with your voice and send commands . For example, by looking at the microphone in the search bar, you activate it and start dictating, or you can activate Siri by asking her to open or close apps.

Headset hardware and design

Apple Vision Pro - hardware design

The hardware, in addition to being modular and lightweight, features innovative, miniaturized and powerful technologies:

  • aluminum alloy frame , slightly curved at the front which wraps around the face ;
  • layered display that allows both internal projection (such as seeing apps in the space in front of you) and external projection (when the user’s eyes are revealed to the interlocutor);
  • the padding is light and also flexes to fit the face so as not to let in outside light;
  • the head band is elastic , breathable and adjustable;
  • a small , high-performance external battery with a battery life of 2 hours is connected via a cable to the viewer and can be stored in your pocket;
  • a micro-OLED system allows very high resolution vision.

Dual-chip design:

  • M2 powers the Vision Pro and processes and projects high-resolution images;
  • R1 processes data from inputs such as camera, sensors and microphone.

The design study was aimed at creating a slim and elegant product, ideal for wearing on any occasion and offering an engaging and immersive vision of the contents.

Immersion and isolation from the surrounding environment

Apple addresses and solves the problem of user isolation during use. Thanks to EyeSight technology, the viewer lets people around the user understand whether he is using apps or whether he is completely immersed in Virtual Reality. This technology is able to automatically change modes from immersion in VR to viewing the surrounding world. If a person approaches the user, the front display shows the user’s gaze at the person. This is a great point in favor for Apple, as well as progress, given that so far other types of viewers do not allow this to be done.

Real uses of the Apple Vision Pro

Use in everyday life

Apple Vision Pro example of user experience and user interface

The viewer was designed for use in everyday life. Apple gives examples by showing how technology does not exclude the user from the external environment, making the connection and interaction experience even more engaging and accessible.

With the headset you can carry out many activities, including:

  • record videos and take photos ;
  • bring the cinema home, with the “Pro Display XDR” viewing mode you have a very high color rendering;
  • listen with spatial audio : Vision Pro analyzes the space around the user, position and materials. Thanks to the Ambient Spatial Audio system, the speakers generate a sound that seems to come from outside, but at the same time allows the user to maintain awareness of the surrounding environment;
  • play with immersion for an even more realistic video game experience ;
  • Project environments and landscapes , for a feeling of traveling to high places.

Use in the world of work

The world of work is also being renewed. It’s now easier to connect with colleagues and work on the same document or work on separate documents without having to leave the call:

  • you can open multiple apps at the same time “around the room” and make them interact with each other (like having multiple tabs open on the desktop);
  • by connecting to your Mac, its small screen is projected and you can resize it to a larger screen ;
  • a system scans the user and represents him perfectly. This system is used for video calls and secure authentication for Face ID;
  • the possibility of working on the same document together with colleagues or otherwise being able to work on other tools while on a video call.

Vision Pro difference with competitors, costs and release date

Vision Pro VS main competitors

Let’s briefly see some differences between the Vision Pro and the main competitors:

  • Meta Quest Pro – features a single display and has a controller. This is why the Apple Vision Pro hardware is more complex and more expensive;
  • Microsoft HoloLens – the design is completely different: HoloLens is designed for work and has a narrower field of view. On the other hand, it allows you to see a possible person in front of you.

Cost and release date

As stated by Apple at WWDC, Vision Pro will cost $3,499 and its release date will be early 2024 in the United States and later in the rest of the world.

Apple Vision Pro video presentation

To learn more about the Vision Pro, watch Apple’s presentation video:Play

Application development for Vision Pro: who to contact?

Airlapp  is a company that deals with  Virtual Reality and other similar technologies, made up of a team of professionals who have been operating in the sector for many years and able to offer a range of cross-skills suitable to guarantee the highest quality standards for each solution accomplished.

If you are looking for a company that develops Vision Pro, get in touch with  Airlapp and find out how to realize your project!

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