On Monday, Apple showed off its most ambitious piece of hardware since the iPhone: a headset that costs $3,499 and has both virtual reality and augmented reality tech.
Apple showed off the headset, which is called Apple Vision Pro, at its offices in Cupertino, California, during the Worldwide Developers Conference. The company also said that its Macbook laptops would get new versions and that most of its hardware would get updated running systems.
Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, showed off the headset at the end of a long talk. He used the phrase “one more thing” that co-founder Steve Jobs liked to use when a big new product was coming out.
“This day has been coming for years,” Cook said.
The headset is the newest addition to the larger VR market, which already includes Meta’s Quest, Valve’s Index, and a few other products. Apple said it will be out in the beginning of 2019.
Apple showed a number of ways the headset could be used, including 3D apps, immersive movies, educational material, web browsing, and video games. It can replace computers in business settings and use many of the same web browsers and programs used at work, such as Microsoft and Adobe programs.
Apple’s Vision Pro is the most expensive and most advanced VR headset for consumers on the market right now. It has a variety of features, such as the ability to adapt to the user’s surroundings.
Users can also look through the headset and change what’s on the screen with their eyes, hands, or voices. The display on the headset changes based on where the user is, but it can also be adjusted by the user to create an immersive experience. Unlike other AR glasses, this one has a feature called “eyesight” that makes the user’s eyes visible and lets them know when someone is coming up behind them.
During the event, Disney CEO Bob Iger said that the company would work with Apple to make sure that new Vision Pro features would be available on Disney+ as soon as the gadget came out. In a short video, people were seen using the device to get live game scores, bring Disney characters like Mickey Mouse to life, and bring Disney World’s Magic Kingdom into their homes.
Vision Pro will have hundreds of apps from the iPhone and iPad, as well as apps that can only be found in the Vision Pro App Store. During the presentation, some new apps like “DJ,” which lets users access a DJ set from their living room, and “Heart,” which helps students learn about the heart by making a 3D model of it, were shown.
FaceTime is one of the long-standing Apple features that has been added to the iPhone. To use FaceTime, users will scan their faces with the headset’s cameras, which will then make a “persona.” FaceTime calls will show this persona. The persona will also move when the user moves his or her face or hands. Vision Pro will also let you use other video chat apps, such as Zoom, Teams, and Webex.
The cameras on the device let users take photos and videos with the headset and also see photos and videos they took on other devices.
The headset comes at a very important time for both Apple and virtual reality technology. The tech world’s biggest company, Apple, is still worth almost $3 trillion. But despite making products like the iPad, Apple Watch, and AirPods, tech experts and industry researchers have been wondering for more than a decade if Apple can make another category-defining product like the first iPhone.
VR technology, on the other hand, has been around for decades but has never become popular with the general public. Recent investments by other tech companies in virtual reality (VR) experiences, which are sometimes called the “metaverse,” are usually seen as average at best. No one has been able to make a headset case that is a must-have, even though headsets are a daily need that can only be met by technology.
Still, Apple has shown that it can convince people to use new tools. The iPhone wasn’t the first smartphone, but Apple made having one a status symbol and then a way for tens of millions of people to organize their work, relationships, and travel. And its products have sparked and sometimes even remade entire businesses. Its smartphone put social media at everyone’s hands, the App Store helped start millions of businesses, and iTunes completely changed the music business.
Now it has to compete with Google and Meta to be the biggest. Meta is the market leader right now. It was named after Mark Zuckerberg, who co-founded Facebook, because he wanted to create a virtual reality world called the “metaverse” where people could work and interact. But that market isn’t tested. Apple sells more than 200 million iPhones every year, but the entire headset market is less than 9 million pieces.
If Apple’s VR headset is able to succeed where other VR headsets have failed, it would give the company a major base in what some tech analysts still see as a growing area. In a study, the consulting firm McKinsey & Company said that the metaverse could create $5 trillion in value by 2030.