scorecardExplained: Why Apple's new VR headset is the talk of the town despite being priced 3X more than Meta Quest Pro
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Explained: Why Apple's new VR headset is the talk of the town despite being priced 3X more than Meta Quest Pro

Explained: Why Apple's new VR headset is the talk of the town despite being priced 3X more than Meta Quest Pro
Tech3 min read
  • Apple unveils Vision Pro, a high-end AR headset with a starting price of $3,499.
  • Vision Pro features a sleek design, ultra-high-resolution displays, and spatial audio.
  • Vision Pro is set to be released early next year, and it could revolutionise the way we interact with technology.
At its highly anticipated WWDC 2023 conference, Apple unveiled its much awaited Vision Pro, an augmented reality (AR) headset that has been the subject of numerous rumours and speculations. Representing one of Apple's most ambitious endeavours, this cutting-edge product has been crafted over several years, incorporating technologies that may justify its premium price of $3,499. It is noteworthy that Meta had also unveiled a VR headset last October which comes at one-third the price at $999 and in fact starts lower at $499.

So, what justifies Vision Pro’s pricing? The VR headset, which will hit the US market first early next year, promises never-experienced features. Equipped with a brand-new operating system sporting a three-dimensional interface, Apple claims Vision Pro breaks from traditional display limitations. Users can now scale and position apps according to their preferences, unleashing immersive experiences. Interaction with the headset is achieved through a combination of eye tracking, hand gestures, and voice commands.
Design - Ski goggles?

At first glance, Vision Pro catches attention with its design reminiscent of high-end ski goggles. The sleek chassis showcases a continuous front panel with a tinted finish, seamlessly wrapping around the wearer's eyes. Not only does it serve as a lens for augmented reality visuals, but also cleverly conceals a built-in fan responsible for cooling the internal electronics.

At the rear of Vision Pro, there’s a customisable band that can be easily swapped out, ensuring a comfortable fit for each individual. Additionally, a convenient dial is provided for adjusting the tightness of the headset according to personal preference. In collaboration with Zeiss, Apple has incorporated magnetic lenses specifically designed for those who require prescription eyewear, offering a tailored experience.

Distinguishing itself from some AR headsets available in the market, Vision Pro adopts a unique approach to power. Rather than integrating the battery pack directly into the device, a wire extends from the rear of the headset to connect to a separate battery pack. This portable power source grants up to two hours of uninterrupted usage. Alternatively, Vision Pro wearers have the option to connect directly to a power outlet for an extended and uninterrupted AR experience.
Hardware
Vision Pro boasts of an extraordinary display system, delivering an immersive visual experience with its ultra-high-resolution capabilities. With a remarkable 23 million pixels spread across two micro-OLED displays, each eye is treated to a level of detail surpassing that of a 4K TV.

To ensure precise tracking of the user's gaze, Vision Pro utilises high-speed cameras and a ring of LEDs that project imperceptible light patterns onto the user's eyes. This innovative technology enables accurate monitoring and interaction with the virtual environment.

Powering Vision Pro is a combination of the M2 chip and a new "R1" chip dedicated to real-time sensor processing. This powerful duo ensures seamless performance and efficient handling of the headset's advanced functionalities.

Enhancing the audio experience, Vision Pro incorporates a cutting-edge spatial audio system. Equipped with two individually amplified drivers within each audio pod, it delivers personalised spatial audio tailored to the unique head and ear geometry of the user. Moreover, employing audio ray-tracing techniques, the headset can accurately simulate and match the sound to the environment, further enhancing the immersive experience.
Features
Vision Pro offers intuitive control through the user's eyes, hands, and voice, allowing for effortless navigation and interaction. By simply looking at apps, users can browse through them, tap their fingers to make selections, flick their wrists to scroll, or use voice commands for dictation. Additionally, it seamlessly integrates with Apple's Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad, providing familiar input methods for enhanced productivity.

Vision Pro creates an interesting cinematic experience, transforming any space into a personal movie theatre where users can enjoy immersive videos. With the Environments feature, the user's world expands beyond the confines of a physical room, offering dynamic landscapes designed to enhance focus and engagement. Additionally, users can connect their Vision Pro to a Mac and extend its display within a virtual space, seamlessly integrating with apps running on the Vision Pro itself.

During FaceTime calls, all participants are displayed in life-size tiles, ensuring a more immersive and engaging communication experience. When wearing the Vision Pro during a FaceTime call, users are represented by a digital persona, offering a unique visual representation of themselves.

For secure authentication and unlocking, Vision Pro utilises Optic ID, a technology that leverages the wearer's iris for seamless and personalised access. Furthermore, Vision Pro introduces Apple's first 3D camera, enabling depth perception in videos and augmenting the experience with spatial audio, resulting in a more immersive and realistic audiovisual encounter.

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