Reporters are known to be skeptical, but it was an uncommon occurrence when so many journalists provided rave reviews of their firsthand interaction with Apple’s upcoming product: the high-priced headset known as Vision Pro. The device features a unique blend of virtual reality and augmented reality, ultimately superimposing digital imagery onto real-world environments.
The device’s VR functionality allows the user to use it as a standalone device without the need for an external computer or mobile device. Its AR functionality offers a computer-generated layer on top of the real-world environment, which can be manipulated via physical gestures.
With Vision Pro, Apple intends to integrate the digital world with our everyday reality, allowing for simple interactions and seamless integration with their existing products. The device is geared towards the niche industry of developers, gamers, and professionals, with a rumored price range of several thousand dollars.
While the device’s technology is exciting, many individuals believe that it’s a double-edged sword since it could result in additional isolation from the physical world. This rising trend towards AR and VR could have a significant influence on future technological innovation and the way humans interact with technology.
Following my own half-hour experience with the Vision Pro in an Apple-orchestrated demonstration, I joined the ranks of those who were deeply impressed by the headset’s advanced technology. The device is highly advanced and intuitive to use while being relatively easy to set up.
To configure the device, one would need to link an iPhone to enable automatic assessments of the wearer’s eyes and ears. For individuals who wear prescription glasses (I, for instance, wear contacts), slight adjustments would be needed, but Apple assures that the process won’t be complex.
THE POTENTIAL DOWNSIDES
However, the hype surrounding the Vision Pro is accompanied by a looming sense of anxiety that stems from the risk of digital isolation. The headset could lead to additional societal drawbacks, including detachment from physical reality and human connection, furthering individual detachment. While the technology within the device is undoubtedly impressive, it has the potential to cause a damaging impact on society
After you have completed the initial setup process, the next step in using the Vision Pro headset is to put it on. Fortunately, this is a straightforward process made even easier by a knob located on the side of the device. This knob allows you to adjust the headset to ensure a comfortable fit and optimal viewing experience.
Unlike some other headsets on the market, the Vision Pro is not an awkward or unsightly piece of equipment. While the design of the goggles may not be considered fashionable, they are far from being classified as “nerdware”. In fact, they bear a resemblance to the type of eyewear one might see on a ski slope, in a fighter jet, or at a race car event. Despite this, they are still a very effective and high-quality device for virtual reality experiences.
Managing the Vision Pro device is an effortless task. A mere press of a button located above the right goggle displays a virtual screen with various applications, encompassing the conventional ones such as image galleries, messaging, voice calls, video streaming, and web browsing.
Accessing an application can be done by focusing the eyes on it and subsequently pinching the thumb and forefinger. To terminate an app, simply pinch the screen. Alternatively, you can relocate it by bringing two fingers together and shifting in the preferred direction. The simplicity of the Vision Pro’s user interface is truly remarkable.
Apple’s meticulously planned presentation showcased the Vision Pro headset in the most favorable light, and it is not surprising that it has the potential to become exceedingly popular for business purposes. It can enhance productivity, collaboration, and video conferencing, particularly in the current era where remote work is prevalent.
Unlike other virtual reality headsets that can cause disorientation, the Vision Pro provides a mesmerizing visual experience, with impressive 3D displays of distant locations. It can transport the user into videos featuring past memories captured by one of its 12 cameras (the demonstration portrayed heartwarming scenes of a child’s birthday party and a campfire). Moreover, it can make viewing a 3D movie, such as the latest Avatar film, feel like occupying a seat in an IMAX theater while lounging comfortably on their own couch.
Additionally, it can transport you to surrealistic moments. In one instance, a butterfly initially displayed on a virtual screen depicting a prehistoric epoch initially fluttered across the room and then landed on my open hand as I sat on a sofa, leaving me spellbound.
The demo also provided a brief glimpse of how sporting events would appear through the Vision Pro’s goggles, indicating that professional and collegiate football, basketball, baseball, and hockey could integrate the technology into their subscription services to offer viewers a front-row seat experience.
Apple deserves credit for designing the Vision Pro in a way that enables users to opt for maintaining visual awareness of the individuals around them, if they so desire.
THE POTENTIAL DOWNSIDES
Ironically, my ambivalent emotions towards Apple’s inaugural attempt at mixed reality stem from how expertly crafted the Vision Pro is by a corporation that has spearheaded and revolutionized groundbreaking technology consistently over the past four decades, spanning from the creation of the Macintosh computer to the iPhone.
The Vision Pro headset seems to be another instance where Apple has achieved a feat that has been challenging for its competitors by unlocking the secret of making both virtual and augmented reality more captivating, as well as less jarring, compared to several lackluster headsets that have hit the market in the past decade.
The only obstacle that could prevent the Vision Pro from becoming an instant hit in the market is its price. It is slated to be released in the United States early next year for $3,500, making it exclusively a luxury item that most households won’t be able to afford. Additionally, the headset won’t replace the need to buy smartphones such as iPhones or Android devices every few years.
The Vision Pro could potentially serve as Apple’s experimentation ground for mixed reality technology and promote the creation of more applications that are exclusively tailored to leverage the technology. This will catalyze the development of other products equipped with similarly exciting features, at a lower price point, which will be more accessible to a wider demographic, even children.
The downside to this proliferation of technology is that it may heighten the risk of addiction to screens, resulting in less interaction between individuals in the physical world, that may have dire consequences.