Apple’s VR/AR headset is called Vision Pro and costs $3500

After years of delays, Apple has finally unveiled its AR/VR headset. The price is steep but it might be worth it.

Apple presented its long-hyped AR/VR headset at WWDC 2023. It goes by the name of Vision Pro and is intended to seamlessly connect the real and digital worlds. The headset is controlled with eyes, hands, and your own voice. Everything about the presentation feels very Apple – for better or for worse.

“It’s the first Apple product you look through and not at.”

Tim Cook, CEO Apple

The headset is controlled completely without a controller. The software goes by the name “visionOS” and is inevitably reminiscent of other Apple operating systems. For example, there are app icons. This has the advantage that “hundreds of thousands of well-known iPhone and iPad apps” should (and probably will) work on the device right from the start.

The control is done with your eyes, in which you look at something directly and you confirm with a hand movement if you want to select something. There is also a scroll motion to navigate through content. Cameras pointing downwards record your hand movements.

There will also be the ability to use Bluetooth accessories – including Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad. A connection to your Mac will also be possible but is optional. In general, Vision Pro also works without other Apple products.

Vision Pro is packed with sensors and cameras

Visually, the headset has a glass front in an aluminum frame. It contains five sensors, 12 cameras, and a 4K display for each eye. The headset from Apple is powered by an M2 chip and an additional R1 chip that only takes care of the sensors. However, the two SoCs seem to make a fan necessary. However, this has not yet been confirmed.

In terms of wearing comfort, Apple relies on a modular concept for the mask (Ligh Seal) and the headband (Head Band). Both are lined and flexible and should be able to be adapted to as many head shapes as possible. The headband in particular should remain comfortable even during long sessions thanks to its ribbed material. There will be various sizes and designs of the headband. For spectacle wearers, Zeiss has developed customized optical inserts that are magnetically attached to the lenses.

The biggest disadvantage of the Vision Pro is its power supply. It is powered by an external battery. Although it is said to have a “smooth, woven cable”, it only lasts two hours. Apple has always focused on the important aspects.

Apple Vision Pro with battery

The external battery is probably only intended for bridging. There will also be an option for a power supply unit for long-term use. It will probably also be needed on a regular basis because two hours is not enough for a modern movie or more than two “very important” meetings.

The goal of Vision Pro is not to isolate you from the world

The AR/VR headset comes with an EyeSight feature that protects your eyes from the outside when you use the headset. When you’re fully immersed in VR, a kind of glowing veil will appear to let people on the outside know you’re unavailable. That works so well with headphones.

In order to project a representation of you that is as real as possible, you must scan your face before using it for the first time. This also allows you to use a hyper-realistic avatar in video calls. If you’re worried that someone else may impersonate you, sleep easy. Vision Pro comes with an iris scanner to prevent unauthorized use. The system is called “Optic ID” – of course it does.

Apple Vision Pro lifestyle with battery FaceTime

For FaceTime there will be the option to arrange the participants as “video tiles” and thanks to spatial audio you will always know where a voice is coming from. 180° videos from 3D cameras also benefit from this.

Of course, media consumption is also at the top of the list. Apple itself advertises content from its TV and Aracde services, but other services should also find their way onto the glasses. This includes Disney+.

We’ve heard rumors for years that Apple is working on AR/VR glasses. We first reported about the glasses two years ago and most recently a week before the WWDC with almost all technical information in advance. But there are said to have been several delays because internally they were not satisfied with the results.

The various review loops seem to have paid off. Vision Pro is set to become Tim Cook’s Apple product and the battle will not be easy. Apple needs a lot of staying power here since the market is still not successful or has reached the masses.

It will start in early 2024 – Apple has not yet announced the prices for Europe

The $3,500 price tag isn’t going to make it any easier. The headset will launch in the US in early 2024. Other markets are to follow in the course of the year. Right now I’m more interested in trying out Vision Pro than looking at the recently announced Meta Quest 3 (launching this fall). Meta is also likely to be Apple’s closest competitor in the market. His current headset “Quest 2” has received a lot of positive feedback in the gaming segment, but rather mixed reviews for his all-purpose headset Quest Pro.

I also have to say clearly that the Vison Pro is not intended for a wide range. It has the suffix Pro, and that means something at Apple — except for AirPods. The headset also clearly exudes a “first generation” vibe, like the Apple Watch and iPad once had. That’s not a bad thing as both products have grown into impressive product categories. We’ll see if that’s the case with Vision Pro as well.

What is your opinion on Vision Pro? Does it meet your taste or do you prefer to wait for the speculated cheaper model? Let us know in the comments.