Apple’s recent announcement of the VisionPro headset has sent ripples of excitement throughout the XR (Extended Reality) community. Loaded with innovative features and backed by an impressive portfolio of about 5000 new patents, the VisionPro promises to revolutionize the user experience. After dedicating almost a decade to investing in the XR and wearables market, I’m excited to share my initial impressions on the novel hardware and thoughts on the product and what it means to the global XR market.
First of all, from a product development perspective, what Apple is trying to achieve is hard. Really, really hard. This is what another global tech giant, Microsoft, has been trying to do (and not even close to achieving) since March 2016 (Microsoft Hololens 1 Development Edition launch). Numerous challenges in hardware must be overcome include ensuring satisfactory ergonomics, devising effective interaction techniques, implementing efficient power management, enabling accurate environment sensing, and facilitating fast onboard processing.
Let’s dive into what VisionPro promises for these matters:
Uncompromising Performance: Power and Efficiency (yet tethered)
Delivering stunning immersive experiences often poses challenges related to battery life, heat distribution, and weight: Apple tackles these concerns head-on by incorporating the powerful M2 and the newly developed R1 chip in the VisionPro. This wearable computational powerhouse would ensure high frame rates and low motion-to-photon latency minimizing the risk of cyber-sickness and providing users with a smooth and engaging experience.
Stunning Graphics: Unprecedented Pixel Density
The VisionPro boasts an astounding 23 million pixels, nearly triple the number found in a regular 4K display. With the device mounted just inches from the user’s eyes, this incredible pixel density promises to deliver breathtaking graphical experiences. Apple’s dedication to pushing the boundaries of visual fidelity will undoubtedly captivate XR enthusiasts and will pave the way to experiences of unprecedented visual richness.
Enhanced Interaction: Gesture, Vision, and Voice
In my humble opinion, Human-Computer Interaction has always been the most significant determinant of a technology’s usefulness. While current devices often rely on clumsy gesture recognition or external controllers (steep learning curve in enterprise scenarios), the VisionPro takes a bold approach by relying solely on gestures, vision, and voice. Apple’s commitment to creating an intuitive and reliable interaction experience is commendable, although the risks associated with this approach remain to be seen.