Apple has unveiled a much-anticipated augmented reality headset, Apple Vision Pro, in its first major hardware launch for almost a decade.
Blending Real And Virtual World
Apple chief executive Tim Cook said the new headset “seamlessly blends the real world and the virtual world”. The tech firm also announced its latest iPhone operating system, as well as updates to MacBook Air. The headset has a two-hour battery life, costs $3,499 (£2,849) and will be released early next year in the US. The cost is considerably higher than virtual reality headsets currently on the market. Last week Meta announced its Quest 3 – which costs $499. Apple said little about generative artificial intelligence – the buzzy technology that is the talk of Silicon Valley. The company’s share price fell slightly during the announcement, made at a developer’s conference at Apple Park, the company’s headquarters, in Cupertino, California.
Apple Vision Pro looks different to similar headsets on the market – and is more reminiscent of a pair of ski goggles than a virtual reality headset. Apple used the phrase “augmented reality” to describe what the new device does. Augmented reality, also known as mixed reality, superimposes virtual objects in the world around us – enabling us to mix reality with virtual reality by looking through a screen. In letting you do things like watch videos of your family blowing out birthday candles or immerse yourself in your photography by making your panoramic photos life-size, she says it is pitched as a device which is “very much about being part of your daily life”, unlike many other headsets on the market geared primarily towards immersive gaming.
Users can access apps, watch movies, and write documents in a virtual world. But so far, there is little evidence of a big market for this kind of wearable tech. “It’s still at the end of the day a VR headset,” said Ms Kleinman. “Apple is going to have to have an awful lot of content to throw at this when it ships early next year. “And of course the other thing is the price point – $3,499 is a lot of money.”
Hartley Charlton, senior editor of MacRumors, was unsure how much the headset would appeal to the general public. “It won’t appeal to mainstream consumers at first on account of its extremely high price point and immediate shortcomings as a first-generation device, such as its separate wired battery pack,” he said. It is controlled by using a combination of your hands, eyes and voice – such as tapping your fingers together to select, and flicking them to scroll. The announcement comes a week after Meta and Lenovo announced new iterations of their pre-existing virtual reality headsets, that do not superimpose objects on to a view of the real world.
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