Apple unveils Vision Pro mixed reality headset, challenging Meta

The Apple Vision Pro headset is displayed in a showroom on the Apple campus Monday, June 5, 2023, in Cupertino, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Apple has revealed its first mixed reality headset, the Vision Pro, entering the market dominated by Meta and targeting users beyond gamers and technology enthusiasts. The headset is priced at US$3,499 and will be available in the United States in early 2024. The announcement marks Apple’s most significant product launch since the introduction of the Apple Watch in 2015.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, during the launch event in Cupertino, California, said…

“There are certain products that shift the way we look at technology and the role it plays in our lives. We believe Apple Vision Pro is a revolutionary product with the performance, immersion, and capability that only Apple can deliver.” The device has been in development for years and will focus on gaming, streaming video, and conferencing.

Unlike rival devices such as Meta Quest, the Vision Pro emphasises mixed reality technology that “clearly situates the user in their environment,” according to Steve Severinghaus of Insider Intelligence. Apple has maintained its minimalist design for the Vision Pro, which features a glass front, an aluminium frame, five sensors, 12 cameras, a display for each eye, and a computer cooled by a fan.

The headset is smaller than a scuba diving mask and requires a wall plug for power, with an optional cord-attached battery pack offering up to two hours of use. To address concerns about user comfort and safety, Apple’s headset uses internal cameras to project the user’s eyes onto an external screen, allowing for more natural interactions with others.

Vision Pro
Apple CEO Tim Cook poses for photos in front of the company’s new Apple Vision Pro headsets in a showroom on the Apple campus Monday, June 5, 2023, in Cupertino, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Tech analyst Carolina Milanesi of Creative Strategies praised Vision Pro’s immersive experience.

“I was in an immersive experience and somebody started talking to me and that person materialised next to me. I could see them and they could see my eyes and we could have a conversation.”

Disney has partnered with Apple for the launch, teasing content from Marvel, Star Wars, and live sports that will be available on the device. Apple also announced that over 100 video games would be accessible from the day of release.

The Vision Pro’s release sets Apple on a competitive path with Meta, which recently expanded its range of more affordable Quest virtual reality headgear. A new-generation Quest 3 will be available later this year, starting at US$500. Meta’s experience in the metaverse has been challenging, with the company having to lay off tens of thousands of staff and refocus on its social media roots less than two years after rebranding to reflect a metaverse priority, reports Channel News Asia.

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Alex Morgan

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