There are many companies that have spent years betting on solutions of Virtual Reality (VR) and also of Augmented Reality (AR)but there are also those that have a clear focus on a hybrid solution known as Mixed Reality (MR).
However, and despite there being many alternatives on the market from different brands, it does not seem to take off. There have been bets from big giants like Microsoft, Google o Facebook and they have not succeeded in making the trend of virtual or augmented reality permeate the public.
So much so that we have seen how many projects have been abandoned and there have been layoffs in this regard.
It was the year 2007 when Nokia more than ruled the market for smart phones together with BlackBerry, or at least how smart they were then. A company arrived without any expertise in mobiles like Apple and turned the world upside down with the first iPhone.
Today it is Apple who has a large market share and Nokia o Blackberry they have changed hands as a brand license, but they are not the same company they were and their presence in the market is residual. Will Apple be able to repeat this success by entering the virtual reality market?
Alternatives in the market against which Apple fights
The Virtual Reality market for both PC, mobile and console is a booming market. However, it has not had enough traction.
Oculus Rift was one of the forerunners like HTC with its system Vive of virtual reality systems with head positioning and controls. We have seen how companies like Google launched their Google Glasses as an archaic system of augmented reality today.
Many companies, such as Lenovo, are betting on mixed reality systems that allow you to enjoy both experiences, by being able to project the exterior into the virtual system thanks to external cameras.
We’re seeing the arrival of completely standalone systems that don’t require a PC to run, like the Oculus Quest 2, and then completely standalone systems like the Oculus Quest Pro.
Uses in which Virtual Reality is an advantage
Studies or academic courses
There are numerous studies in which it is clear how Virtual Reality can make a group improve the note in terms of knowledge acquisition if it is done through a virtual environment.
As we read in this publication of the University of Salamancain a learning test with 5th grade students with a control group and a group using the CoSpaces Edu platform, an average performance increase of 7.81 and 8.57 was achieved.
The most interesting thing is not the increase in average, but also the increase in motivation to continue learning through this new learning format with Virtual Reality.
One of the reasons put forward in this study is that “people can be anywhere, feel how they are transported to a totally different space and interact with this reality” and distractions are avoided.
Job training and practices
One of the fields where this virtual reality system and mixed or augmented reality have an application is in the professional market, serving as a training method for procedures or cases that would otherwise require more personnel and material to be carried out.
A PwC study made it clear the pros of this type of technology to do training and practices. In this study they make it clear how, compared to face-to-face or remote training, virtual reality users saw an improvement in confidence of between 35 and 40% compared to traditional training.
The VR training it is cheaper when done on a large scale, to the point that when it reaches 375 users, the cost of VR training is equal to the cost of a traditional class. When we talk about comparing against remote classes, that cost equality is achieved with 1,950 users.
Among the most interesting points is that the training is received up to four times faster than with a traditional class, since almost four times more concentration is achieved than in online classes. In addition, students feel almost 4 times more emotionally connected to the content than when taking courses online.
Gaming y eSports
Something we’ve seen with devices like the Oculus or the HTC Vive is that the advent of VR headsets brings with it new ways to interact with games. There is usually a learning curve to the new controls but after overcoming it we find users who comment on how the user experience is completely different even in the same game.
This is what, for example, is discussed in the analysis of the Sony PS5 VR2 from Hobby Consoles with the game Gran Turismo 7, for example.
As pros of the use of virtual reality systems in gaming, we find ourselves with new modes of interaction that are much more natural, highly immersive virtual environments and a feeling of being completely inside the game.
Pros of VR gamesCons of VR gamesImmersive gamesHigh cost: VR hardware and softwareRealistic environmentsLimited game availabilityInnovative interaction modes and controlsHardware requirementsUnique game mechanicsLack of physical or visual comfortHealth benefitsLimited play time due to exhaustion
Apple has been developing its M chip for years, and the latest models integrate a GPU capable of running next-generation VR games —such as the new M2 Ultra chip that has double the GPU of the two M2 Max chips that it houses inside.
Daily work with virtual desktops and apps
If there is something that we have seen, it is the option of having glasses that serve as a virtual desktop system for computers, such as the TCL NXTWear Air.
Although, of course, the concept already existed and we also saw it in the past MWC with Lenovo models, which remain in a mere peripheral of a computer or mobile to which they have to be connected via USB-C.
This is where Apple has managed to give this type of use another turn, adding all the interaction that we see with the ecosystem of Apple products and with an interface that is used with your hands in the air, without any extra.
In short, we see how we have many alternatives on the market, but almost each option covers a complete need, whether it is virtual reality or augmented reality.
Apple Vision Pro the best of the VR and AR world in one
the glasses Apple They have a great advantage over the previous options and it is none other than the integration with the entire ecosystem of the firm.
For example, in applications, since the option of being used as an augmented reality system, or covering our entire vision as a virtual reality system or even an extended virtual desktop.
According to what we have seen in the presentation, Vision Pro arrives to mark this ecosystem of augmented reality devices.
The great advantage of Apple is that it already comes with integration of common uses for day to day and even to be used in an airplane.
We can see apps floating in the air or even tint our surroundings with a completely different environment. Apple also promises that if there is someone around, it will let us see it and show our eyes outside.
If we have glasses, there is the option of adding corrective lenses magnetic on the inside. But of course, you have to go through the box, Apple calls it ZEISS Optical Inserts.
It will also have support spatial audio and Disney has also promised the availability of an interface for its entire catalog Disney Plus for them. This is where we see how Apple has market traction that no other alternatives have.
The control of the glasses is another great addition, they are controlled using the gaze as a cursor, since it follows us in real time thanks to the use of the chip M2 with him new R1 chip for the unification of all this universe of sensors in real time.
And to click, scroll or expand, we can use gestures with our bare handspinching to click, twisting your wrist to swipe, and using the traditional iPad gesture to zoom.
He not need cumbersome devices to interact They’re a huge advantage over the competition, as is the option of being able to use a Mac keyboard or Bluetooth controller to play Apple Arcade games with a virtual screen.
You can even see the screen of your Mac computer, in this virtual desktopAs we see, the integration between Apple devices is always impeccable.
Use your own operating system VisionOS which gives priority to the entire process in real time and the M2 chip is in charge of doing the process. In fact, they have even created OpticID, as an identification system using your iris.
And we will have the option to use applications and games on this device thanks to the use of Unity, which run natively with all built-in apps out of the box. In fact there will be a VisionOS exclusive app store and all iPad and iPhone apps compatible with the glasses will be displayed.
Apple has done it again, as it offers many options for the non-professional user.
Although it seemed difficult Apple could hit the table like it did with its iPhone 16 years ago, technology has given it a very complete and advanced device in terms of software integration between devices and the device itself individually.
This is where we see that you have managed to ride the wave of augmented and virtual reality when you have a device that is ahead of the competition, with 4K resolution, spatial sound and allows a wide variety of uses:
Virtual multi-screen desktop Watch streaming content on the full screen Interact with other Mac devices Use it with hand gestures Play Apple Arcade games And everything else to be developed with Unity
When a company has such a complete ecosystem and there is so much option to interact between devices, the use options multiply.
They have also made a design choice that can be criticized, such as the battery hanging from a cable, but it will always be better than not carrying the weight of the battery on your head as we have seen so far in other solutions on the market.
Vision Pro are Apple’s new augmented and virtual reality glasses that arrive as a great innovation in the segment and at a price of $3,499 in 2024.
Time will tell, yes, if the $3,499 price that they have at launch next year in the US will be a handicap for them to take off.
It is clear that it is the first step that the company takes in this new category and it will be in 2024 when we see its landing on the market, now, on paper… Apple has once again demonstrated its R&D muscle and has announced a product that is far ahead of what was on the market so far.
Of course, a market that, until now, was collapsing in expectations and business volume and we will see if with a bet as round as this it can come back.