Saturday, February 24, 2024
Apple Vision ProNews

The Apple Vision Pro will be available in the U.S. on February 2

No, the Apple Vision Pro won’t replace the iPad (or any other Apple device).

Apple has announced that the Apple Vision will be available in the U.S. on Friday, Feb. 2. And the tech giant has answered my questions about prescription lens.

The tech giant’s first “spatial computing system” will be available at all U.S. Apple Store locations and the U.S. Apple Store online. Pre-orders will begin on Friday, January 19, at 5 a.m. (Pacific).

“The era of spatial computing has arrived,” Apple CEO Tim Cook says in a press release. “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.”

VisionOS

The Apple Vision Pro is powered by visionOS, which Apple says is built on the foundation of decades of engineering innovation in macOS, iOS, and iPadOS. The tech giant says visionOS is designed to deliver “powerful spatial experiences, unlocking new opportunities at work and at home.”

Featuring a brand-new three-dimensional user interface and input system controlled entirely by a user’s eyes, hands, and voice, navigation feels magical. Intuitive gestures allow users to interact with apps by simply looking at them, tapping their fingers to select, flicking their wrist to scroll, or using a virtual keyboard or dictation to type. With Siri, users can quickly open or close apps, play media, and more.

visionOS.

Users can also immerse themselves in Environments — dynamic, beautiful landscapes like Haleakalā, Joshua Tree, and Yosemite national parks, and even the surface of the moon — to help them focus or reduce clutter in busy spaces. With Environments, a user’s world can grow beyond the dimensions of a physical room. With a twist of the Digital Crown, users can control how present or immersed they are in an environment.

Since visionOS leverages existing developer frameworks, more than 1 million familiar apps across iOS and iPadOS are available on Apple Vision Pro and automatically work with the new input system. Vision Pro also has an all-new App Store where users can find apps that deliver spatial computing experiences unlike any other platform. Apps can be arranged anywhere and scaled to the perfect size, all while allowing the user to stay present in their space.

Extraordinary Experiences

Here are more details from Apple’s press release: 

° An infinite canvas for productivity:With key productivity and collaboration apps like Fantastical, Freeform, JigSpace, apps from Microsoft 365, and Slack, Apple Vision Pro is an ideal productivity tool for everyday tasks. Apps can appear side by side at any scale for incredible multitasking, and with support for Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad, users can create the perfect workspace. With Mac® Virtual Display, users can even bring the powerful capabilities of their Mac into Vision Pro, creating an enormous, private, and portable 4K display, ideal for pro workflows.

° The ultimate entertainment experience: Apple Vision Pro features ultra-high-resolution displays that deliver more pixels than a 4K TV for each eye, enabling users to watch movies and TV shows from Apple TV+, Disney+, Max, and other services on a screen that feels 100 feet wide with support for HDR content. Within the Apple TV app, users can access more than 150 3D titles with incredible depth wherever they are. Vision Pro also introduces Apple Immersive Video, a remarkable new entertainment format pioneered by Apple that puts users inside the action with 180-degree, three-dimensional 8K recordings captured with Spatial Audio. Users can also enjoy new interactive experiences like Encounter Dinosaurs.

Apple Vision Pro and entertainment

° New gaming experiences: Players can access games on the App Store, including more than 250 titles on Apple Arcade. Hit games like NBA 2K24 Arcade Edition and Sonic Dream Team can be played on a screen as large as they want with incredible audio and support for popular game controllers. New spatial games, including Game Room, What the Golf?, and Super Fruit Ninja, take advantage of the powerful capabilities of Apple Vision Pro to transform the space around players, offering unique and engaging gameplay experiences.

° Memories brought to life. Apple Vision Pro enables users to capture and relive their favorite memories in entirely new ways. Spatial photos and videos transport users back to a special moment in time, and Spatial Audio makes the experience incredibly immersive. When users are on the go, they can capture spatial video on their iPhone 15 Pro or iPhone 15 Pro Max and relive them on Vision Pro. Users can also view all their photos and videos at a life-size scale with brilliant color and spectacular detail, including Panoramas that expand and wrap around the user, making them feel like they are right where it was taken.

° FaceTime becomes spatial. FaceTime on Apple Vision Pro takes advantage of the space around the user so that everyone on a call appears life-size, while Spatial Audio makes it sound like each person’s voice comes from the location of their tile. If a user is wearing Vision Pro while on FaceTime, they appear as their Persona, while others joining from a Mac, iPad, or iPhone will appear in a tile. 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. Using machine learning techniques, a Persona can be created in just minutes using Vision Pro. Personas also work in third-party videoconferencing apps including Zoom, Cisco Webex, and Microsoft Teams.

Vision Pro and FaceTime

° Breakthrough design. Apple Vision Pro builds on Apple innovation and experience designing high-performance products like Mac, iPhone, and wearables like Apple Watch, culminating in the most advanced personal electronics device ever. An astonishing amount of technology is packed into a beautiful, compact design that utilizes the most advanced materials possible to achieve ambitious goals for performance, mobility, and wearability.

Apple Vision Pro is designed as a modular system so users can personalize their fit. A singular piece of three-dimensionally formed, laminated glass gently curves around the user’s face and flows into the custom aluminum alloy frame. The Light Seal is made of a soft textile and comes in a range of shapes and sizes, flexing to conform to a user’s face for a precise fit. Flexible straps ensure audio remains close to the user’s ears, while the included Solo Knit Band and Dual Loop Band allow users to find the optimal fit for them. For those with vision correction needs, ZEISS Optical Inserts are available with a prescription or as readers that magnetically attach to Vision Pro, allowing users to take full advantage of the display’s incredible sharpness and clarity.

Apple says the Vision Pro is designed to deliver phenomenal compute performance in a compact wearable form factor. Featuring an ultra-high-resolution display system built on top of Apple silicon, Vision Pro uses micro-OLED technology to pack 23 million pixels into two displays, each the size of a postage stamp, with wide color and high dynamic range. 

EyeSight

The Vision Pro also features a high-performance eye tracking system that uses high-speed cameras and a ring of LEDs that project invisible light patterns onto the user’s eyes for responsive, intuitive input. And to help the user stay connected to the people around them, Apple designed a new feature called EyeSight. 

When a person approaches someone wearing Vision Pro, the device looks transparent — letting the user see them while also displaying the user’s eyes. When a user is immersed in an Environment or using an app, EyeSight gives visual cues to others about what the user is focused on.

Apple says the breakthrough display, advanced audio experiences, high-performance eye tracking system, and more are powered by Apple silicon in a unique dual-chip design. The tech giant says the M2 chip delivers powerful standalone performance, while the brand-new R1 chip processes input from 12 cameras, five sensors, and six microphones to ensure that content feels like it is appearing right in front of the user’s eyes.

Optic ID

Optic ID is a new authentication system that analyzes a user’s iris to unlock Vision Pro, autofill passwords, and complete payments with Apple Pay. Where a user looks stays private while navigating Vision Pro, and eye tracking information is not shared with Apple, third-party apps, or websites. EyeSight also includes a visual indicator that makes it clear to others when a user is capturing a spatial photo or video.

Accessibility

Accessibility features have been built into visionOS. Key accessibility features like VoiceOver, Zoom, Switch Control, Guided Access, and more have been reimagined for spatial computing. Users can interact with Apple Vision Pro entirely with their eyes, hands, or voice, or any combination that works best for them. 

They can select a preferred input method such as their eyes, finger, or wrist using Pointer Control, pause on an element of visionOS for a few seconds to simulate a tap using Dwell Control, or simply use voice commands for activities across Vision Pro using Voice Control. If input from both eyes is not an option, visionOS also allows eye tracking with one dominant eye.

Pricing and Availability

Apple Vision Pro will be available starting atUS$3,499 with 256GB of storage. ZEISS Optical Inserts will be available: $99 for reading lens and $149 for prescription lens.

The Vision Pro comes with a Solo Knit Band and Dual Loop Band — giving users two options for the fit that works best for them. Apple Vision Pro also includes a Light Seal, two Light Seal Cushions, an Apple Vision Pro Cover for the front of the device, Polishing Cloth, Battery, USB-C Charge Cable, and USB-C Power Adapter.

I’ll be buying one, though the price tag hurts and Apple isn ‘t going to send me a review unit. If you’d like to help support AWT,  consider becoming a patron. We offer at least three patron-exclusive posts each week. You can start at only $2 per month (though $5/month gets you the exclusives). 

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.