Finally, after a three-year delay, Apple has introduced the world to its Vision Pro augmented reality viewer. It’s everything we’ve hoped for—and more—in a new product category that the company is forced to enter, not without its problems. transcendental of society such as isolation due to the use of technology.
A week ago we saw the presentation of the new Meta Quest 3 virtual reality glasses. We had no doubt that although the product was ready, its presentation a few days after Apple’s was a maneuver to anticipate what was to come. And so it is, Apple has just overtaken all the companies immersed in virtual reality, including Meta with such a million-dollar investment that they decided to change their name from Facebook to Meta for Metaverso.
The Apple Vision Pro have met virtually all expectations, even exceeding what is expected of a company product. They are not the first, they may not be the best for 99% of people, but Apple always gives a lesson on how a technology should be applied on a daily basis.
It happened with the first iPhone, also with the first iPad and even with the Apple Watch. They weren’t the first products in their category, but they have become industry standards thanks to their influence, technology, design language, and practical use cases.
During the presentation I couldn’t stop thinking about how all the cases that Apple gave as examples would never be practical in my day to day, but curiously there were a few seconds where they showed the true potential of augmented reality in a viewer like this. It was not an example of Apple, but of Disney.
Disney and Apple demonstrated how people will want to enjoy content with augmented reality. In his demo, it was an American football game where, in addition to watching the game, you can see real-time information on players, their statistics, other angles, or even other live broadcasts or related content.
This is the true potential of augmented reality that Apple aspires to, not in the professional realm with weird PowerPoint presentations, displaying Excel data, or making video calls with a representation of your face.
The consumer, whoever is capable of spending the 3,500 dollars –or 3,262 euros without taxes or inflation adjustments–, will be the one who decides the future of this product.
The rest of us mortals will have to wait for the cheaper second or third generation, perhaps under the name Apple Reality Air?
A technological dream
On a technical level, and on paper, Vision Pro is wonderful: 12 cameras, 5 sensors and 6 microphones. All managed with a new chip called R1 and the M2 SoC that their laptops or iPad already use.
On a visual level Apple demonstrates the maturity of its design, thanks to the fact that it has one of the most important human interface guidelines design teams that money can buy. Nice interface with translucent layers, visual effects, shadows and a set of small details where its experience in the field with platforms such as iOS, iPadOS, macOS or watchOS shows.
At the design level, the Apple viewer brings many ideas from other products, such as the Apple Watch with its digital crown or the AirPods Max with details on its adjustable band or manufacturing materials.
The new screens that Apple has had to design with a very high resolution to be able to enjoy 4K content in each eye, in addition to the magnetic lenses designed in collaboration with Zeiss, are an example of Apple’s own industrial design.
Perhaps one of the most interesting things that Apple has demonstrated with this headset is the system to track your eyes to move through applications, in addition to the detection of your hands that use gestures to click.
Its points against continue to be the limitations of the technology itself, such as autonomy. The Apple Vision Pro has a portable battery connected by a cable from its rear with an autonomy of 2 hours that should be carried in your pocket. They do it this way so that the weight is not on the head and they can be worn throughout the day.
With Apple Vision Pro you can see your eyes, but the isolation is still present
There was not a single moment during Apple’s presentation where a person isolated by technology was not shown, in this case by a visor that covers your eyes, although they are visible because the outer screen shows a representation of your eyes.
Current technology, whether it’s headphones or a mobile phone in your hand 24 hours a day, is already absorbing and isolating enough from those around you that for many people it begins to be a problem. Watching a movie with this viewer will be spectacular, even with 3D effects, but that’s not how people want to enjoy a movie. Even in total silence, watching a movie, series or TV show is better with one or more people around you.
There’s no digital replacement for a conversation, a look of surprise, or a laugh over something you’re watching with other people, though Apple does have solutions for watching content at the same time even when you’re not in the same place.
Playing with your children with an Apple Vision Pro, as Apple showed in its presentation, even to capture an image or video in 3D format, still seems like something out of a Black Mirror episode. Is society really prepared for people with glasses with whom you cannot establish a conversation or when you do it is clear that you are not the center of their attention?
Society, that subgenre that Apple has dominated for decades with products like white headphones that in the iPod era indicated social status, or with the first iPhones where you declared your income level, will face a reality: people for the world with a visor on his head. Right now it is unthinkable, in a few years maybe something totally normal.
Are we prepared for an image like this to be the day-to-day like today is not looking up from the mobile?
Mark Zuckerberg looks validated, but Meta has a very serious problem
Apple Vision Pro validates all of Meta’s investment in the technology behind augmented or virtual reality, but not in the metaverse. Not a single mention of that word, which today has become synonymous with smoke. And that’s the real problem for Meta and for Mark Zuckerberg is that they are no longer the leaders in this category.
Until we’ve seen the Apple Vision Pro Meta it was considered the premium brand of virtual reality. Now, although there is still more than half a year left until its release on the market, Meta has become the second on the list.
Not only the examples or the quality of Vision Pro is superior to what Meta offers with its Quest 3 or Quest Pro, it is that everything behind it, such as games or social networks, seems like a caricature of such low quality that Meta will have to change your heading sheet.