Meet Apple Vision Pro: the human virtual reality headset!

Meet Apple Vision Pro: the human virtual reality headset!
Apple missed on releasing its long-rumored Glasses AR/VR headgear during the pandemic lockdowns when people were steeped in the digital and virtual to no choice of their own, but its first AR/VR headset is now official and it is not really called Reality Pro as initially thought.

Instead, the new Vision Pro "spatial computer," as Apple calls it, costs as much as three decked-out iPhone 14 Pro Max handsets and comes with a number of hardware innovations or mixed reality applications, from the educational, through training, to the gaming experience. Let's see if Apple has cracked the code of making AR/VR contraptions mainstream.

Apple Vision Pro is the most elegant VR headset

First off, the "ski goggles" analogy used prior to Apple's mixed-reality headset announcement was spot on, as it is barely thicker than a pair, but its frame looks pretty breathtaking, too, clad in light metal alloy and 3D-knitted adjustable strap to keep weight in check.

The large external display comes as a brilliant humanizing twist that projects real-time scan of your facial expression behind the ski mask to the outside world automatically when someone passes by, and prevents the wearer from looking dorky like with most other such contraptions.

Vision Pro audio experience

The Audio Pods on the sides deliver immersive audio as the Vision Pro sensors map the room for optimum surround sound, or you can use AirPods for deeper audio experiences. Apple says that the Audio Pods sport two individually amplified drivers inside each one that can deliver personalized spatial audio that takes into account the user’s head and even ears' shape and form.

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Vision Pro charging

The headset's charging solution is also very elegant, with a round magnetic charger that can be attached on the side to deliver power from the external battery pack with a clockwise clicking motion to keep it secure while using the gear. 

An Apple Watch-style digital crown brings a familiar interface navigation system that can toggle between augmented reality, where the imagery or interface becomes semi-transparent so that the user can still see the outside world, and full VR immersion. 

A number of outward-looking cameras provide that AR feel which records the outside scenery and take depth measurements for the navigation via hand gestures and eye control. In fact, this is Apple's first 3D camera set, as it proudly boasted from stage.

Can I use the Apple Vision Pro with glasses?

Unfortunately, the premium VR headset's sheer elegance means that you can't wear it with glasses, so Apple has provided space for prescription lens inserts similar to the ones your eye doctor uses during tests. "Users with vision correction needs will use ZEISS Optical Inserts to ensure visual fidelity and eye tracking accuracy," says Apple.

Apple Vision Pro specs and display size

Coming hot after the PlayStation VR2 and the Meta Quest 3, Apple is using some of the highest pixel density micro-ОLED displays for the Vision Pro with 23 million pixels available for each eye on a Vision Pro display size of about 1.4-inches each.

The PS VR2 display resolution is the one to catch up with, and the Vision Pro returns a pixel density of about 4000ppi and offers wide color gamut coverage, ensuring that Apple's expensive mixed-reality headset will be futureproof for quite a while.

Powered by Apple's ultrafast M2 chip in a dual configuration with a new dedicated R1 VR co-processor, and coupled with 16GB RAM, the mixed-reality headset is futureproof in terms of specs for the foreseeable future. It will be able to run all App Store games and iPadOS software without skipping a beat.

Apple Vision Pro vs PS VR2 vs Meta Quest Pro specs and prices

Apple Vision Pro visionOS software and interface navigation

As mentioned, the Apple's AR/VR headset will be able to run all App Store software that is available for the iPad. It features a very similar interface, too, with grids of app icons on pages and it is able to multitask or run several apps at once. The new Apple VR operating system is called visionOS, though, as navigation is done via eye direction and hand gestures.

Sensors on the inside of the gear read the user's eye position and facial expressions, while the external cameras pick up their hands movements. A look at an external object, an app icon, or an action button will select it, while pinching the index finger with the thumb can serve as the equivalent of a tap or a click.

Can I play games with the Apple Vision Pro?

Yes, you can play all the Apple Arcade and other games on the Vision Pro virtual reality headset. They can be played with the PlayStation 5 DualSense controller, too, no matter if it is an NBA and car racing games, or a shooter. Moreover, Unity developers will be able to build dedicated games for the Apple Vision Pro.

Apple Vision Pro battery life on a charge

Unfortunately, a powerful M2 chip and two 4K display equivalents come with their own set of power draw challenges that the MagSafe Pack-style external battery won't be able to provide for more than a couple of hours. Needless to say, you can have Apple's AR/VR headset plugged in, too, so that it becomes an extended or even a primary screen for your apps and games.

Is Apple Vision Pro secure to unlock and use?

Yes, Apple uses the brand new Optic ID iris-scanner for personal identification. "Optic ID is a new secure authentication system that analyzes a user’s iris under various invisible LED light exposures, and then compares it to the enrolled Optic ID data that is protected by the Secure Enclave to instantly unlock Vision Pro," says Apple. As usual, Apple encrypts the Optic ID data in a secure enclave that never leaves Vision Pro and is not stored on Apple servers, so nobody can request it for identification, or use it for malicious purposes.

How much is the Apple Vision Pro price?

The Apple mixed-reality headset costs $3499 and will come early in 2024 with a number of dedicated games and videoconferencing software for business users. In the meantime, Apple will offer to experience the Vision Pro in its stores, but it will only be released in the US, with other countries coming later next year. Any takers?
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