In the fast-evolving realm of virtual reality, Apple's latest innovation, the Vision Pro, has emerged as a game-changer, setting new standards for immersive experiences. The Apple Vision Pro at it's core is a VR Headset—or if you'd like to use Apple's new terminology for it "spacial computing." With its official market release on February 2nd, following a pre-order frenzy starting January 19th, the Vision Pro has swiftly captured the imagination of tech enthusiasts and VR aficionados worldwide.
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What's Makes it Different?
Unlike other more lightweight VR headsets, the Apple Vision Pro is made of metal (aluminum) and glass with fans, vents, and speakers built-in. Although at 630 grams this makes it lighter than it's competitor Meta Quest 2, the weight distribution makes it heavier at the front. In addition, because the battery is not strapped to the back of the headset, you have to be tethered to the 4 foot non removable cable while using it.
The built-in battery lasts 2-4 hours and to extend uses you would have to plug the battery (that takes USB-C) into the wall.
Pricing and Availability
Let's get logistics out of the way. The Vision Pro is now available for purchase in the U.S., priced at $3,499 for the 256GB variant. For those seeking enhanced optical capabilities, Zeiss optical inserts can be availed at an additional cost of $99 for readers and $149 for prescription lenses. Apple enthusiasts in other countries can look forward to its availability later in the year. Controllers are not included with this headset, as the primary way to navigate with it is the sensors built in to track your eyes and hands.
One of the standout features of the Vision Pro is its display upgrade. Boasting a staggering 23 million pixels spread across two displays, each catering to an individual eye, it offers unparalleled visual clarity and depth. This translates to a pixel-perfect experience, with a Pixel per Degree (PPD) metric that dwarfs its competitors, including the Meta Quest 2. One thing that has been noted by several testers is its spacial awareness capabilities and software functioning in the new VisionOS.
With the Vision Pro you are looking at a reconstructed version of the world around you made via cameras as opposed to the "real world" but this allows you to see through what you're doing. Because it reconstructs the world so close to real time, it boasts the best passthrough of every headset on the market. This can be attributed to the R1 processor and M1 chip that keep the latency to under 12 milliseconds.
At the heart of the Vision Pro lies a custom 3D lens, meticulously designed to ensure that the user interface remains seamlessly integrated into the immersive experience. With features like HDR and "wide color," Apple has pulled out all the stops to deliver an image quality that's as close to reality as it gets. Moreover, the Vision Pro's field of view stands shoulder to shoulder with other leading headsets, offering users a truly immersive experience without compromise.
In addition to the passthrough view, you can of course do "full immersion" into Apple's 100% rendered digital environments.
What Can You Actually Do With the Apple Vision Pro?
You may be looking for something to justify this big purchase. There are two types of apps on the vision pro:
Apps built specifically for the Vision Pro and Apps that happen to be compatible with the vision pro.
Apple has a wide library of stock apps to be compatible with vision pro such as Apple Music, Apple TV, Notes, Keynote, and more.
Some more interactive digital photo apps like certain movies filmed in full 180 degrees bring you to a world you would have never been to without the vision pro (imagine Alicia Keys singing to you from the front row). Panoramic photos also make for the optimal viewing experience as they envelop you. Our personal favorite, though might be the Keynotes app where you can make a presentation, yes but you can also rehearse your presentation in the Steve Jobs theater with your slides Ted Talk style right behind you.
Pair your Apple Vision Pro with your MacBook to increase the size of your normal monitor and windows to quite literally the entire room. If you constantly have 89 tabs that you can't close strap in.
Because once you turn on the Apple Vision Pro it connects automatically to your other Apple Devices loading iMessage and other features, people who have never considered a VR headset before might find themselves buying one just to expand the OS and add onto the other Apple products —like an iPhone or Apple Watch — that they already have.
The Future Unveiled
With functionalities like Video Passthrough, as showcased in various online demos, the Vision Pro transcends the boundaries of conventional VR, offering users a glimpse into the future of augmented reality. Whether it's gaming, productivity, or creative pursuits, the Vision Pro promises to redefine the way we interact with digital content, opening up a world of possibilities limited only by our imagination.