For many moons now, the same rumour has been churning: Apple is going to sell a virtual reality headset like the Meta Quest 2. The many prayers from tech fanboys have finally been answered and the Apple Vision Pro was unveiled during the company’s Worldwide Developer Conference 2023.
But the excitement was quickly silenced when the price of the Vision Pro was revealed to be a whopping USD$3,500. Groans and laughter of defeat could be heard coming from the audience watching the keynote from Apple Park. The only silver lining is that the headset that resembles a pair of ultra-chic ski goggles will only drop in stores in 2024, giving everyone ample time to save or hope that their 4D numbers strike hot.
What makes the Apple Vision Pro worth 3 iPhone 14 Pros? We take a look at all of the headset’s features.
Arguably the most important feature of a wearable headset is its screen, and Apple has spared no expense when it came to the Vision Pro. Two ultra-high-resolution displays boasting 23 million pixels combined will ensure you’re watching Avatar or Cyberpunk in the greatest detail.
When you’re fully immersed in a movie or a video game, the front of the headset will light up to let everyone around you know that you’re busy. And rather than having to take the headset off to see someone who’s in front of you, front-facing cameras can accurately recreate the scene and show it to you in real-time. Plus, the headset will also display a recreation of your eyes, almost as though the glass has turned transparent.
Tim Cook is not expecting you to wear the Vision Pro and the AirPods Max at the same time, because let’s face it, that will look ridiculous on anybody. Instead, the Vision Pro headset has a spatial audio system positioned next to each ear to deliver those surround sounds. Yes, your ears won’t be cupped for hours upon hours if you choose to watch the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy with the Vision Pro. Score one for comfort.
Instead of you having to use a remote or controller to select what app you want to launch, the Apple Vision Pro has one of the most accurate eye-tracking systems in place, so all you have to do is look. A series of high-speed cameras and LEDs will be calibrated to your eye movement when you first unbox and put on the headset.
Some of the early reviewers who have managed to try out the Apple Vision Pro have praised its eye-tracking capabilities and how it can understand exactly what you’re looking at, no matter how small the icon is on the display.
Your regular FaceTime catchups with your besties will be taken to a whole new level with the Apple Vision Pro. Rather than having to stare at your iPhone or iPad, you can put on the headset and be on FaceTime while looking at the travel itinerary that they’ve just sent over for your upcoming holiday.
But then there’s the question: how are they going to see you when you’re wearing a bulky headset that covers half of your face? Well, your face will be recreated and represented by what Apple calls a “Persona”.
This Persona can reflect your facial and hand movements in real-time thanks to all the cameras and sensors that are embedded in the Vision Pro. Think of it like an accurate 3D rendering of your face. It’s all kind of Black Mirror-ish.
One downside to the current offering of headsets is how bulky they look with multiple straps criss-crossing your head and wires dangling by your ears. The Apple Vision Pro is anything but that. The most eye-catching design element of the headset is the polished laminated glass that connects to a custom aluminium alloy.
Comfort is also one of the biggest priorities, and this is made possible through a soft light seal that can conform to a range of face shapes and sizes. The headband then secures the headset to your head, and it comes in various fits while providing cushioning, breathability, and stretch.
However, one downside to the quality of these materials means that the headset is actually heavier than most. There’s a reason why many VR headsets use plastic instead of metal alloys and glass, and it’s because it's a lightweight material.
The Apple Vision Pro is not the first mixed-reality headset to be developed, and it certainly won’t be the last. But if Apple’s track record is anything to go by, this product will soon become a household gadget much like the iPad. The only barrier is its high price point and availability, as it’ll only launch in the US first before coming to other countries in the later part of 2024.
Keep an eye out on VibeCheck for when the Apple Vision Pro finally drops in Singapore.
All images courtesy of Apple.