After years of rumors, Apple announced earlier this week that their new mixed reality headset, the Apple Vision Pro, will be released next year – their first major product launch since the Apple Watch in 2014. We’ve been keeping a close eye on this device’s development, and we’ve got a few thoughts:
- Design: The Vision Pro form factor is sleeker than most competitive offerings, and the materials seem to be premium quality and extremely comfortable (namely the light-blocking material and the textiles composing the band).
- User Experience: Per the product launch announcement, users see the world as they normally would as soon as they put the headset on. With this messaging, Apple is clearly trying to position the Vision Pro as something one could wear while out and about during daily activities.
- 3D Content Functionality: Some of the coolest features, in our opinion, are the ability to create/capture 3D video with spatial audio directly from the headset, and to play 3D movies. Apple did a great job in the announcement of showing how applications we already love today (e.g., photos, movies, games) translate seamlessly with the headset.
- Wearability: While more streamlined than many of the other comparable products we’ve seen, the headset is nonetheless bulky for everyday wear. Another downside: users of this device (or any VR/MR product) can’t wear cosmetics as they normally would, as anything applied around the eyes would rub off on the device.
- Social Acceptability: The Vision Pro uses an outward-facing camera to project a display of the user’s eyes to those around them. This feature, called EyeSight, is intended to enhance the social experience of wearing the device, but the current iteration has a distinctly unsettling feel to it.
- Privacy: Audio from the headset is audible to others – this issue might be solved via compatibility with AirPods or other headphones, but would necessitate yet another device.
The Vision Pro seems like an exciting step forward for MR/VR overall, but with a $3,499 price tag, the benefits may not outweigh the costs – especially since it’s still a little unclear what the killer application is. Nevertheless, we’re excited to see how consumers respond to Apple’s latest offering, and we can’t wait to try one out ourselves.
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