After months of speculation, Apple has finally announced its house-brand augmented reality system. Known as Apple Vision Pro, the setup is described as being the company’s first “spatial computer.”
Looking kind of like a high-tech set of ski goggles, the wearable system features two postage-stamp-size ultra-high-resolution displays – one for each eye – which pack in a combined 23 million pixels. These allow users to see three-dimensional 4K graphics superimposed on top of their view of the real world.
As expected, the technology allows users to take part in very immersive games, and to watch movies, TV shows or other video content on a virtual screen that appears to be 100 feet wide (30.5 m) – an integrated 180-degree Spatial Audio system helps in that regard.
Users can also record their own videos or stills via Apple’s first three-dimensional camera, which is built into the headset. Those images can subsequently be viewed via the system, reportedly allowing users to feel like they’re right back inside the recorded environment again.
Another interesting feature, which is not unlike the Spacetop AR system we recently covered, allows multi-tasking users to set up multiple virtual screens which appear to hang in the air in front of their face. This means that various apps, documents or whatnot can simultaneously be displayed on the different screens, which the user looks back and forth between – the real world is still visible in the spaces where the screens aren’t present.
What’s more, users can control the viewed content via voice commands, hand gestures (tapping on apps to select them, flicking their wrist to scroll, etc) and even simply by eye movements.
By turning a dial on the side of the headset, users can determine to what extent the displayed visuals block their view of the physical world. Additionally, if a person does walk up to the user while the latter is “immersed,” the display will temporarily become translucent to show that person’s face. Likewise, the one-piece tempered glass lens of the device will lighten to show the user’s eyes, making communication with them a little less … weird.
Although Apple Vision Pro was announced today at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference, the system won’t be commercially available until early next year. Plans call for pricing to start at US$3,499.
More of the system’s capabilities are outlined in the following video.
Introducing Apple Vision Pro