One of the most important technology products will be in stores (US and Europe) this week. Apple’s Vision Pro will finally be released to the public on February 2.
The Apple Vision Pro headset is not a new idea, however, whenever Apple releases a new product we should pay attention. The device that will bring computer visuals closer to your eyes is new for Apple and will probably shake up the headsets industry.
Microsoft had Hololens, Google had Goggles, Facebook is armed with Oculus (now known as Meta Quest) and Samsung brought Gear VR.
So far we have not seen much adoption, however, the entry of the Apple product may change how we perceive headsets.
The Apple Vision Pro will take away the need for a screen and wrap it around your face. Your hands and fingers will now become an important interface as gestures will form part of controlling the visuals presented by the headset. The device is packed with high-definition lenses, processors, and special cameras. All of this will deliver what we’ve never seen in the same product category.
In the same way that an iPhone, the Apple Watch created an opportunity for developers to create apps, the Vision Pro will also create a community of developers around the product. It’s unclear yet what will be the killer app with this device.
I can foresee it becoming a tool that transforms education. It also has the potential to transform communication via video calls. It stands a chance of delivering on the metaverse promise. In a world that has questioned the feasibility of mixed reality and e-metaverse, the Apple Vision Pro offers the only hope.
The first generation of the product is likely to be a product of the elite with a cost that may translate to R80 000 for the South African market. The future version of the Vision Pro will probably be more affordable, however, that will take time. Its size also stands in the way of making it a lovable product.
All of these obstacles cannot overshadow the innovations that will come with this headset. It will be one of the products that will change how we interact with computers. We will slowly be immersed in the digital world. One day we will probably credit Vision Pro for merging our physical world with the virtual world. As Apple’s CEO Tim Cook enjoys his last few years at Apple, it will probably serve as a product that will signify his impact at the Cupertino tech giant.
For business leaders, who have given up on developing solutions that will be rendered via headsets, now is the time to reconsider. The Meta/RayBan glasses are another indicator that we are entering a different space that will require different business models.
Disney has already started to design for this new world. Recently the entertainment company unveiled a new virtual reality project that solves one of the biggest problems with virtual reality, an omnidirectional modular treadmill that supports multiple users. HoloTile will enable multiple people to move around freely without the risk of colliding with each other. Disney is one of the few companies that is already aligning itself for the shift we are about to see.
As Apple delivers its new product, it’s time to develop product solutions and services that will align with this new technological development. In the past Apple products brought us companies such as Uber and built the app economy. We are about to see another economy developing around the Vision Pro. It will be an interesting technological development to watch.
Wesley Diphoko is the Editor-In-Chief of FastCompany (SA) magazine.