Apple’s first mixed reality headset, Vision Pro, boasts a range of innovative features that are unmatched by its competitors. The company claims to have registered around 5,000 patents for the device’s technologies. Here are ten intriguing aspects of the Vision Pro:
1. Avatar-based FaceTime participation: Users wearing the Vision Pro can participate in FaceTime conversations as human-like avatars, known as “Persona.” The avatars not only capture facial expressions but also hand movements, with improvements in realism expected in the future.
2. Spatial audio technology: The Vision Pro features built-in speakers called audio pods, which deliver sound directly to the user’s ear. The audio adjusts based on the user’s head and ear geometry, creating a personalized spatial audio experience. Apple emphasizes that the speakers can be positioned precisely, minimizing disruption for others in the room. Alternatively, users can utilize AirPods for their audio needs.
3. Accurate eye and finger tracking: Instead of using controllers, the Vision Pro relies on precise eye tracking and finger gestures for navigation. Users can trigger actions by looking at an element and performing various gestures such as tap, double tap, pinch and hold, zoom, rotate, pinch and drag. Hand position is irrelevant, allowing users to keep their hands relaxed.
4. Glasses compatibility: The Vision Pro does not require users to wear glasses beneath the headset. Instead, Apple has partnered with Zeiss to develop magnetic lenses that can be easily attached. The pricing and customization options for these lenses are unknown.
5. Biometric iris scan: Security features include Optic ID, which uses iris scanning for biometric access protection. The iris scanning data is encrypted, stored on the device in the Secure Enclave, and inaccessible to Apple or third-party developers. Apps do not have access to the eye tracking information.
6. Modular headset design: The Vision Pro hardware consists of multiple components that can be adjusted to fit the user. The glasses with all the hardware connect to the audio pods via an “Audio Strap.” The magnetic connection on the audio strap allows for easy battery attachment, with the option to connect a power supply unit via USB-C. The light seal, which blocks out ambient light, comes in various sizes. The third component is the headband for the back of the head, with the possibility of a stabilizing band for the upper head area.
7. Mac display functionality: Users can use the Vision Pro as a display for their Mac computers by simply looking at the computer in its vicinity. The machine is operated using a connected keyboard, trackpad, or mouse, providing the option to replace existing displays with the headset.
8. Adaptation of iOS and iPadOS apps: Apple has released videos guiding developers on how to adapt iPhone and iPad apps for the Vision Pro. The videos demonstrate enhancements that can be made to optimize the apps for the headset’s usage in the “Shared Space” environment. Developers can also optimize apps from other devices for the Vision Pro.
9. 3D recording capabilities: The Vision Pro can record spatial videos and photos that can be experienced in 3D through the headset. Early reviews suggest excellent visual quality, leading to speculation that Apple may extend 3D recording to future iPhone models with compatible camera technology. The headset indicates when recording is in progress to inform others.
10. External eye display: The Vision Pro features an OLED external display that shows a representation of the wearer’s eyes as part of the “persona” concept. This feature aims to maintain the user’s presence in the room, though it has not yet been fully demonstrated outside of Apple’s promotional videos.
In summary, Apple’s Vision Pro mixed reality headset offers an array of innovative features, including avatar-based communication, spatial audio, accurate tracking, glasses compatibility, biometric protection, modular design, Mac display functionality, app adaptation, 3D recording, and an external eye display. These features position the Vision Pro as a cutting-edge device in the mixed reality market.