Apple unveiled its brand new spatial computing headset, Apple Vision Pro, at WWDC 2023. The new device is a wearable augmented reality headset that's designed for watching TV shows and movies, along with playing games, communicating, and collaborating on projects.
It has the power of two 4K displays, along with an Apple silicon processor, hand and eye tracking, as well as a Digital Crown for adjusting immersion. That's merely scratching the surface of what it offers with us finding 50 things you need to know about the Apple Vision Pro -- that's how impressive it is.
The new headset costs $3,499 and will be released in the U.S. early next year, with more countries to follow.
With developers already working on apps for the Vision Pro, here's a look at everything you need to know about it.
Apple VR headset: At a glance
What is it?: A wearable "Spatial Computer" capable of augmented reality, featuring two 4K displays
How much does it cost?: $3,499
When is it coming out?: Early 2024 in the U.S., with more countries to follow
Apple says the Apple Vision Pro creates a new form of computing, called "spatial computing," which differs from typical mobile computing.
Where Apple sets itself apart from other devices like this is through its deeper use of augmented reality. The Apple Vision Pro uses computer-generated images as viewed through a lens, but these are super-imposed over the real world. From there, it's able to create dynamic experiences that combine virtual reality with the real world. It's all done so through a head-mounted screen in front of your eyes in this case, but we've seen augmented reality like it on the iPhone such as when playing Pokemon Go.
It's also possible to use Apple Vision Pro in "environments" for watching movies in a forest, for example. This is done by using the Digital Crown to adjust the immersion level of the experience.
Apple Vision Pro can also be used in "environments" for watching movies in a forest, for example, using the Digital Crown to adjust the level of immersion. Vision Pro relies solely on your eyes, hands, and voice to control it. Selecting something is a matter of tapping your fingers together and flipping with your eyes. It's also possible to look at a search field and start dictating. Best of all? The Apple Vision Pro will identify items, text, and more through just looking at it. It's effectively a more advanced form of Visual Lookup.
A new R1 chip pairs with the M2 chip within the headset. A curved OLED lens with a lenticular design has a 3D design that looks transparent, Apple says. There's no video conferencing camera looking at you: The system uses an "encoder/decoder neural network," trained on thousands of people, to create a virtual persona of you with volume and depth, the company says.
Apple Vision Pro headset: Design
The Apple Vision Pro is a singular piece of 3D laminated glass, polished to create an optical surface acting as a lens. As mentioned, it has an array of front-facing cameras that can blend the digital world and physical world. A custom aluminum alloy frame and a Light Seal made of textile provides a stylish exterior with the latter ensuring it sits comfortably on your nose. The Light Seal will be available in a range of shapes and sizes to suit every face.
There's also a 3D knitted headband made as a single piece for cushioning, breathability, and stretch. It also comes in multiple sizes.
Apple Vision Pro: Processor
Apple Vision Pro is powered by Apple's M2 silicon chip, found in its best MacBooks. The chip helps run all of the stunning visuals, but it's supported by a brand new R1 chip. That processes all of the inputs that keep the headset running. It includes data from 12 cameras, five sensors, and six microphones so the content always feels like it's right in front of your eyes in real time.
Apple Vision Pro: Display
The Vision Pro display is a micro-OLED ultra-high-resolution display with up to 23 million pixels across two displays. That's more than a 4K TV for each eye, and combines with catadioptric lenses for sharpness and clarity.
Prescription glasses wearers will benefit from ZEISS Optical Inserts, but those cost extra.
Apple Vision Pro: Sound
Vision Pro features advanced Spatial Audio powered by two AudioPods. Each of these AudioPods has a dual-driver setup that can generate Spatial Audio based on your own head and ear geometry.
Apple Vision Pro: Controls
Apple Vision Pro doesn't have any kind of hand controls like the Meta Quest, for instance. Instead, you control it solely using gestures from your hands, eyes, and also by speaking. It's possible to browse apps by simply looking at them, before tapping your fingers to select them. Scrolling involves flicking your wrist while you can dictate text with your voice. You can also use Siri to control the headset, of course.
Apple Vision Pro: Camera
Vision Pro features Apple's first-ever 3D camera, letting you capture immersive memories in 3D with spatial audio so that you can view them again at a later date. You can also see your entire iCloud Photo library in Vision Pro and see Panorama shots expanded as if you were standing right there. One of the most exciting features for some users is sure to be Spatial Memories, providing you with a far more immersive experience than simply looking at a photo.
Apple Vision Pro: What can it do?
Apple Vision Pro has a plethora of use cases, giving you infinite screen real estate. Remember -- this isn't a traditional VR headset, it's an AR headset so while it doesn't support 'room-scale' experiences, it does allow you to have seemingly endless amount of room for your apps and projects.
For work, you can use it to access apps and multitask, making inputs with a virtual mouse and keyboard. You can collaborate on documents in apps like Freeform, and it supports Microsoft apps like Teams and Excel. You can have apps side-by-side at any scale too. Vision Pro will also connect wirelessly to a Mac, acting as a portable, private, 4K display.
Entertainment and gaming
Vision Pro looks like a stunning way to enjoy movies, TV shows, and games. It offer movie theater displays of up to 100 feet wide and advanced Spatial audio. You can also watch content in environments to further increase the sense of scale and immersion. We've already discovered one particular show that will offer Spatial Video support once released.
Spatial computing means you can also play games, with support for popular controllers and over 100 Apple Arcade games on a screen as large as you want.
Apple has also teamed up with Disney, bringing Disney Plus to Vision Pro at launch. It will feature immersive settings for shows like The Mandalorian, which you'll be able to watch on Tattooine.
One hallmark of the new product is EyeSight. The feature shows your eyes on the exterior of the device. The display lights up when someone walks into your field of vision, revealing "your eyes" to whoever is nearby. Likewise, they appear within your display. Creepy? We will see.
Siri is baked into Apple Vision Pro as expected. Although, it's not more advanced, it seems. While Chatbots have exploded in technical ability in recent months, thanks to leaps forward from Microsoft, Google, and others, that doesn't appear to be the case with Siri that is starting to lag behind.
Other features include being able to receive 3D objects in messages before pulling them out to look at them as if they were a real object. In conjunction with that, Vision Pro is Apple's first 3D camera. In particular, it's focusing on how Spatial Memories means being able to "relive a special moment from your daughter's birthday" in an unique way.
Look out for a special travel mode too, although don't count on having as much functionality when on a plane.
Vision Pro can scan your face using the TrueDepth camera to create a digital Persona that can be shown in virtual reality. By doing so, you can then see a digital reconstruction of yourself, reflecting your face and hand movements in real time. From there, you can do things like watch movies, browse photos, or work together with others on a presentation.
Apple Vision Pro will be able to run thousands of iPhone and iPad apps at launch, but it will also feature its own dedicated App Store featuring 3D apps specifically designed for the Vision Pro headset.
We already know apps like Final Cut Pro will offer Vision Pro support in the future with many more set to come.
Vision Pro features a high-speed camera and a ring of LEDs that project light onto your eyes, controlling the inputs. It also has Optic ID, a new biometric security system that can scan your iris using LED to unlock Apple Vision Pro and make payments using Apple Pay, as well as autofilling passwords on apps like Safari.
Apple Vision Pro headset: Release date
Apple's Vision Pro headset will initially only be available in the U.S. when it launches in "early" 2024. More countries will see a release date later in 2024.
Customers can go into an Apple Store to learn more about the headset and even personalize their fit for their own purchase.
Apple Vision Pro headset: Price
Apple's Vision Pro headset starts at $3,499, which is even more expensive than the rumored $3,000 price tag that was floating around prior to its announcement. That's vastly more expensive than even the Meta Quest Pro, and even heftier than headsets like the Meta Quest.
We're sure to learn more about Vision Pro as developers start to work on applications for the headset. It's a very exciting time to be an Apple fan, and we can't wait to give Apple's vision of augmented reality a go.
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Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.
Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9