The virtual reality market, while not as niche as it was years ago, is still a relatively small one. Even Sony’s PlayStation VR2 launch last year seemed to come and go with little fanfare (and even less support for the platform nearly a year later). However, tech giant Apple is making its own case for VR and it’s doing so with the $3,500 Vision Pro headset launching next month.
While we’ve known about the headset and its, frankly, absurd price since last year, today, the company announced that preorders for it will begin on Friday, January 19, with a launch on February 2.
“The era of spatial computing has arrived,” Apple CEO Tim Cook writes in a new blog post. “Apple Vision Pro is the most advanced consumer electronics device ever created. Its revolutionary and magical user interface will redefine how we connect, create, and explore.”
Touching on what Cook writes in that press release, unlike Sony, Meta, and other VR headset makers, Apple is focusing less on the gaming side of the platform and more on its integration into our everyday lives, including work; hence the “era of spatial computing.” Vision Pro aims to blend digital content with the physical world using its visionOS which allows users to control a virtual UI overlayed on a real space using their eyes, hands, and voice. New “spatial” games include Game Room, What the Golf?, and Super Fruit Ninja.
Apple is rolling out a new App Store to provide users with “more than 1 million compatible apps across iOS and iPadOS, as well as new experiences that take advantage of the unique capabilities of Vision Pro,” too. Users can interact with apps by tapping their fingers to select, flicking their wrist to scroll, or using a virtual keyboard or dictation to type, the company says. And Apple’s own Siri assistant can open and close apps, play media, and complete other tasks with just a users’ voice.
Apple’s new Persona (not that one) feature creates virtual avatars of users for use during FaceTime calls and more, and it’s something to behold.
“If a user is wearing Vision Pro on FaceTime, they appear as their Persona, while others joining from a Mac, iPad, or iPHone will appear in a tile,” the blog reads. “Persona is an authentic spatial representation of an Apple Vision Pro user that enables others on a call to see their facial expressions and hand movements, all in real time.”
The company says Persona works with third-party video-conferencing apps, too, including Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
Perhaps the most eye-catching aspect of the Vision Pro, other than its price, is its EyeSight feature. When a person approaches someone wearing the VR headset, the device looks transparent, letting users display their eyes to those in front of them. It’s certainly something:
“When a user is immersed in an environment or using an app, EyeSight gives visual clues to others about what the user is focused on,” the blog reads.
The Apple Vision Pro VR headset will be available for preorder for $3,500 starting January 19 before it launches on February 2.
Are you interested in picking up an Apple Vision Pro? Let us know in the comments below!