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Apple’s Vision Pro VR headset: First impressions


Reporters are a skeptical bunch, so it’s unusual to hear so many of them rave about their first-hand experience with Apple’s next Big Thing: High-priced headset called Vision Proa fully integrated virtual and augmented reality device that projects digital images on top of a real-world context.

But after wearing the Vision Pro for half an hour of a meticulously choreographed Apple demonstration, I joined the ranks of those overwhelmed by all the impressive technology Apple has packed into the goggles-like headset. . However, that excitement was quelled by the anxiety of just passing through a portal that would eventually lead society to another path of digital isolation.

POTENTIAL Grapefruits

But first the good stuff: The Vision Pro is a very sophisticated device that is fairly easy to set up and extremely intuitive to use. The setup process requires using your iPhone to automatically perform some assessments of your eyes and ears. If you wear prescription glasses (I wear contact lenses) it will require some additional correction, but Apple promises it won’t be complicated.

Once done, you’ll quickly find that wearing the Vision Pro is also simple thanks to a knob on the side that makes it easy to make sure the headset fits comfortably. And unlike other headsets, the Vision Pro isn’t an awkward looking nerd, though the goggles aren’t exactly classy, ​​although they look a bit like something you might see people wearing. on ski slopes, jet skis or racing cars.

Controlling Vision Pro is easy. Users simply press a button above the right glass to pull up a virtual screen of apps, including familiar standby modes for photos, messaging, phone calls, video streaming, and web browsing. To open an app, simply look at it, then pinch your thumb and finger together. You can close the same app by pinching your fingers, or you can move it sideways by holding two fingers together and moving them in the direction you want to place the app.

Unsurprisingly, Apple’s hand-picked demonstration put the Vision Pro in the best possible light. Headsets are apparently quite popular for business, productivity, collaboration, and video conferencing purposes, especially in an era where a lot of work is done remotely.

Without the disorienting effects found in other virtual reality headsets, Vision Pro can immerse you in stunning, 3-D displays of distant locations. It can take you into videos of past memories captured by one of the device’s 12 cameras (demo includes heartwarming scenes of a child’s birthday party and a campfire scene) . It can make watching a 3-D movie, such as the latest Avatar, feel like you’re sitting in an IMAX movie theater while relaxing on your own couch. It can propel you into surreal moments (at one point, I watched in amazement as a butterfly first appeared on a virtual screen depicting prehistoric times that seemed to fly across the room and land on an outstretched hand. mine as I sit on the couch).

And the demo showcases just enough glimpses of how sporting events appear through goggles to realize that the powerhouses in pro and college football, basketball, baseball, and hockey must find a way to incorporate technology into subscription services that make viewers feel like they’re in the front row.

To Apple’s credit, the Vision Pro is also designed in a way that allows users to still see the people around them, if they want to.

POTENTIAL DISADVANTAGES

My mixed feelings about Apple’s first foray into mixed reality are ironically rooted in how well the Vision Pro is designed by a company that’s behind. this kind of game-changing technology many times over the past 40 yearsfrom Macintosh computers to iPhones.

It looks like this could be another example where Apple has achieved something other tech companies can’t get past by cracking code to make both virtual and augmented reality compelling. more instructive and less disorienting than many other ho-hum headphones have done. the past decade or so.

The only reason why the Vision Pro doesn’t immediately impress is its price tag. When it hits the US market early next year, it’ll sell for $3,500, which could make it start out as a luxury item that most households can’t afford — especially since because headphones won’t replace the need to buy a new iPhone. or smartphones running on Android every few years.

The most likely scenario is that the Vision Pro is in some way Apple’s test platform for mixed reality, which will encourage the development of more apps specifically designed to take advantage of the technology. The next spillover will be a series of other products equipped with the same compelling technology at a lower price point that have a better chance of drawing more people — including children — into a niche. areas that risk exacerbating screen addiction to the detriment of real-world interactions between individuals. human.



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