I spent a large chunk of the weekend playing with….I mean, testing… the Apple Vision Pro. And I’m very impressed.
I’ve used it for a home theater, as a Mac display, to view photos, and play games. I’ll be doing a series of articles on each one, but today I want to talk about the Vision Pro for watching movies.
In short: it’s amazing — as long as you want to watch a movie all by your lonesome. Obviously, the spatial computer can’t fit over two faces simultaneously. And even if two people in your family own Vision Pro headsets and sitting in the same room they can’t see the same things at the same time.
That said, if you want to enjoy a movie solo, the Vision Pro may be the ultimate home theater. This is due, in large part, to the spatial computer’s incredible, ground-breaking displays. The two displays are tiny Micro-OLEDs with a total of 23 million pixels that are just 7.5 micrometers in size. Each of those pixels is composed of three RGB subpixels.
Apple purportedly calibrates the lens for color at the factory, so the video passthrough is excellent. Supported refresh rates are 90Hz, 96Hz, and 100Hm. The Vision Pro supports playback multiples of 24fps and 30ps for shudder-free video.
The only downside of watching movies — and, well, doing anything — on the Vision Pro is that there’s a little distortion and vignetting around the edges of the lenses. It’s distracting, though you eventually (kinda) get used to it.
Movies look great on this device.
Adding to the film-viewing fun is the fact that you can “sit” in an immersive movie theater in the Apple TV+ app and watch a movie in a virtual environment. You can watch movies (or work) in Hawaii (my favorite), at Mount Hood, at White Sands, at Joshua Tree, or more. You’ll see the colors from the screen reflect onto the immersive landscape.
“Masters of the Air” on Apple TV+ and the live action “The Little Mermaid” on Disney+ were breathtakingly gorgeous to watch on the spatial computer. And there was no stuttering or flickering at all; the films played smoothly and fluidly.
Movies look great on the Vision Pro. And you can watch ones like The Little Mermaid in 3D.
What’s more, since the Vision Pro sends separate images to each eye, it can do true 3D movies (including the aforementioned “Little Mermaid”— and Apple and its partners like Disney have already released quite a few. If you have a large Apple movie library, you get the 3D versions for free — you just choose 2D or 3D playback when you hit play.
In fact, the 3D is so good that you folks inclined too motion sickness may get sick watching the Immersive Adventure videos. And when that T-Rex sticks his head out of the screen in “Encounter With Dinosaurs,”you’ll probably duck.
Apple is also making immersive versions of some of its Apple TV Plus shows with its Immersive Video format. One features Faith Dickey, a highliner crossing fjords in Norway over a tightrope. If you’re afraid of heights, don’t watch!
There’s also a three-minute immersive episode of Prehistoric Planet, filled with dinosaurs so real you won’t believes its CG. Alicia Keys: Rehearsal Room is a video showing her during a recording session. It’s so realistic you’ll feel like you’re in the studio with her.
When it comes to audio, if you’re watching a movie in a room with other folks, I’d recommend using the AirPods Pro 2. However, the built-in speakers on the sides of the Video Pro are surprisingly crisp and can pump out a lot of volume. And they support Spatial Audio, which is very impressive. (Spatial Audio offers support for Dolby Atmos. Spatial Audio with support for Dolby Atmos and Lossless Audio is available to Apple Music subscribers at no additional cost. Apple says Spatial Audio gives artists the opportunity to create immersive audio experiences for their fans with true multidimensional sound and clarity).
If you’re watching a movie or video alone, you’ll love the Vision Pro. There is one caveat: you’ll need a straw to drink your favorite beverage. As I discover, you can’t get a coffee mug to your mouth while wearing the spatial computer.