Apple presents its first augmented reality glasses, Apple Vision Pro: a failure or a revolution?
Virtual and augmented reality have become some of the most popular technologies in recent years, and Apple has decided not to lag behind its competitors. At the presentation on June 5, 2023, the Apple Vision Pro augmented reality headset was introduced, which immediately caught the attention of many users.
The new Apple augmented reality glasses, Vision Pro, promise to be a new stage in the development of AR technology. They are equipped with a powerful hardware base that allows users to enjoy high-quality AR graphics and interact with the surrounding world on a new level.
The most amazing feature of the Vision Pro glasses is the high-quality microOLED display, capable of displaying up to 23 million pixels. The image on the glasses will be clear and bright, with perfect black color, allowing users to see even small details in the virtual world. Performance is ensured by two processors: M2 for calculations and R1 for tracking and cameras. This allows the glasses to quickly process data and track the user’s head and eye movements.
Vision Pro glasses also have a unique curved OLED external display (reminiscent of a skier’s mask), which shows the user’s eyes after scanning their face. The glasses track eye movements, allowing the user to interact with virtual objects using their gaze. For example, with the help of their eyes, users can select the desired settings or applications in the interface. To more accurately track the eyes, Vision Pro glasses are equipped with four cameras. There are also two high-resolution cameras for viewing the surrounding space and perceiving depth.
Vision Pro glasses have 8 cameras for environment and hand tracking, as well as 3 sensors for scanning the surrounding area, including LIDAR. The glasses instantly determine the user’s location and allow for interaction with objects in the real world.
Control is done through gestures, eye tracking, and voice to control actions in the virtual environment. The VisionOS operating system provides smooth and intuitive control.
Vision Pro has Optic ID – an iris scanner that works with Apple Pay. This allows users to make purchases without the need to enter passwords or use additional devices.
The Vision Pro glasses are also equipped with surround sound that provides spatial perception of sounds in the virtual world.
Despite their high power, the glasses have an autonomy of up to 2 hours through a special external battery.
Table for Apple Vision Pro Technical Specifications:
|Display||MicroOLED display, 23 million pixels|
|Processors||2 processors: M2 for computations and R1 for tracking and cameras|
|Cameras||4 eye-tracking cameras, 2 high-resolution cameras for viewing the environment, 8 cameras for environment and hand tracking|
|Sensors||3 sensors for environmental scanning including LIDAR|
|Control||Gestures, eye tracking, and voice|
|Optic ID||Iris scanner, works with Apple Pay|
|Battery life||Up to 2 hours with external battery pack.|
The main advantage of Vision Pro is its two micro-OLED displays with high resolution of over 4K for each eye. There is no need to worry about image quality, as the manufacturer promises superior clarity that has never been available in other augmented reality headsets. Additionally, the headset is equipped with special catadioptric lenses to enhance image quality and clarity. Apple promises an incredible user experience, and the image quality will be so high that pixels will be impossible to distinguish from any angle.
Another interesting feature of Vision Pro is the “backward-through” display on the front panel of the headset, which shows the user’s eyes, making social interactions more natural and comfortable. Other people will be able to see where the user is looking with AR glasses.
Vision Pro uses the Apple M2 processor, which handles the headset’s main computing load, as well as a specially designed R1 chip that provides “almost instantaneous” real-time viewing of the real world. The headset’s operating system, VisionOS, is designed for spatial applications and includes direct support for Unity and ARKit.
Vision Pro also features multiple cameras for pass-through tracking, hand tracking and eye tracking. Eight additional cameras provide precise hand tracking, eliminating the need for virtual reality controllers. A LiDAR sensor and two depth sensors provide real-time 3D rendering of the surrounding environment.
The inside-eye tracking is based on four high-speed cameras and several infrared LEDs. This provides fast rendering, allowing the user to see only the image in focus with full detail. Vision Pro is activated by scanning the iris, and inter-pupillary distance can be mechanically adjusted. The headset is finely tuned for each user to ensure that every user feels comfortable during use.
Battery and operation
One of the main features of the Apple Vision Pro is its battery. It connects to the headset using a cable and can be worn on the hip or in a pocket. The battery has a short lifespan of approximately two hours, which is enough to watch a movie that lasts up to two hours. The headset is controlled using a combination of hand and eye tracking, which makes the process intuitive and highly accurate. It is important to note that there are no VR controllers.
The Apple Vision Pro also features spatial audio speakers that emit sound using audio beam tracing. This allows for the creation of highly realistic sound effects and an immersive audio environment. During movie watching, the environment can be changed to suit the user’s mood. The spatial sound and high-quality image create the feeling of being in a real cinema.
Design and comfort
The Apple VR/AR headset looks like thin ski goggles. The headband is a wide elastic strap that comfortably supports the back of the head. Unlike any other headset on the market, this one can likely be used while lying down. The headband may not be ideal for fitness and sports, but Apple has not demonstrated any sports functions. The front part is also made of fabric and, according to Apple, was developed based on thousands of face studies, so it adapts to individual user shapes. Masks will come in different sizes and shapes. Interestingly, the face panel and headband are modular and interchangeable. Regular glasses do not fit the Apple Vision Pro. Instead, prescription Zeiss lenses can be attached using magnets.
Target audience, games, and entertainment
The Apple Vision Pro is not aimed at professionals, as some had expected. The Apple XR headset will be sold as an everyday assistant for home and travel use, as well as a work device. No VR games have been announced. Collaborations with Disney were announced, who will be adapting films specifically for the Apple headset, promising an exciting experience.
Unlike the Quest 3, the Vision Pro is not a mass market product, and the price reflects this. The headset will cost $3499. For comparison, the Quest 3 will be sold for $500. We do not know the exact release date of the Vision Pro, but it will be in early 2024. Due to its high cost, the product may fail in the market. However, for Apple, this product is experimental. In the future, new models may become more affordable.
The Apple Vision Pro is an innovative augmented reality headset that opens up new possibilities for interacting with the surrounding world. Its rich functionality and high-quality display allow users to experience incredible virtual reality. It can be said that the Vision Pro headset is a new stage in the development of AR technology, which can change our view of the world, as Tim Cook said at the presentation. However, its high price and lack of VR games may make it unpopular with most users. Nevertheless, the device is an interesting and promising solution for those looking for new possibilities in the field of augmented reality.