For Apple, the post-iPhone era begins with the Apple Vision Pro.

8 min read

This new 3D computer is evidence of Apple under Tim Cook’s innovative leadership.

Many Apple observers have felt for a long time that the corporation no longer innovates, instead content to coast on the success of Steve Jobs’ iPhone. The Apple Watch may have debuted during Tim Cook’s tenure as CEO, but its inception can be traced back to Steve Jobs.

The Apple Vision Pro has been met with a wave of criticism despite being Apple’s first foray into a new product category in over a decade and possibly the most significant innovation since the first iPhone.

That criticism is ironic, but it’s reasonable, given that the base price of the new Vision Pro is $3,499. The price is $2,500 higher than the Meta Quest Pro and $500 higher than some had projected, but to be fair, the Meta headset originally cost $1,500. I think it’s vital to take a step back and appreciate what Apple has done here, as someone who has used the Vision Pro.

Although the Vision Pro takes inspiration from the iPhone, it is a major advancement that takes advantage of new technologies (such as Apple silicon) and still feels like an entirely different device, ushering in the post-iPhone era.

Spatial Computing Meets Vision Pro
With the help of Apple’s Vision Pro, you can switch between many tasks with ease

Apple is not just marketing the Vision Pro as a virtual reality (VR) or mixed reality (MR) headset without good cause. Observation is more than just sitting back and taking in the scenery. The term “spatial computing” suggests doing something physically active, and this wearable gizmo certainly delivers.

Apple Vision Pro is the most astounding piece of technology I’ve ever seen, says Creative Strategies’ CEO and lead analyst Ben Bajarin. There are several precedents for previous Apple advancements that may be seen in this product. Everything they’ve learnt from developing previous products—in areas like as custom silicon, miniaturisation, sensor fusion, camera sensors, and custom sensors—has found its way into AVP.

After using the Vision Pro, I realised that it outperforms even the most advanced ultra-wide displays. I really liked being able to rearrange applications with a single touch and pin them to any screen location. A spatial computing canvas allows you to place many apps in different locations on your screen without interfering with each other’s functionality.

During my hands-on with the Apple Vision Pro, I found its collaborative potential through a FaceTime conversation demonstration. Apple’s Freeform app in augmented reality wowed me with its sharp visuals and interactive 3D model.

The second caller was also using a Vision Pro, which is how I was able to see and hear his Digital Persona—a 3D animated representation of his head. It was reminiscent of the guy I knew, albeit it appeared more like a cartoon than the genuine thing. However, the upside might be substantial.

When compared to Apple Vision Pro’s multi-touch visionOS interface, eye tracking easily wins.

(Image credits of Apple)

The Vision Pro’s user interface is also a significant area of advancement. Although I’ve used eye tracking on gaming computers previously, I’ve never seen accuracy like this. I was blown away by how accurately the Vision Pro recorded my eye movements after a short setup session of navigating dots throughout my virtual area. When I pressed my fingers together on the main menu, the symbols lit up, and I was ready to make a choice.

“The overall user experience, especially the eye-tracking and finger-gesture interface, is simply unmatched,” said Avi Greengart, creator of Techsponential, who was also given a demo of Vision Pro. For spatial computing, “Apple is setting the baseline expectation very high.”

Gestures for Apple’s Vision Pro’s Handheld Controller

(Image credits of Apple)

Even though the user interface is quite similar to that of the iPhone, you don’t have to physically touch anything; Apple anticipated this problem. The Vision Pro’s built-in cameras on the underside of the headset allow you to execute hand motions while sitting comfortably on your lap. The Vision Pro’s unique R1 CPU allows it to do so at lightning speed, eight times quicker than the blink of an eye.

“The software’s functionality blew me away,” Bajarin said. “The accuracy of the eye tracking was really high. Learning how to use visionOS’s pinch-to-tap gesture was a breeze. The software was so refined that even first-time headset users had little trouble getting started.

micro-OLED a paradigm shift
The Apple Vision Pro

One more manner in which the Vision Pro outperforms the iPhone? The screens. Micro-OLED screens on the Apple Vision Pro transmit more than 4K video to each eye, for a total of 23 million pixels; I enjoyed viewing a few episodes while flying home from WWDC 2023. For the Vision Pro, Apple essentially created brand new screens that outperform even the greatest virtual reality goggles. The fact that Apple collaborated with Zeiss to develop bespoke optical inserts to address visual impairment is also noteworthy.

Watching Avatar: The Way of Water in 3D on the Vision Pro was a mind-blowing experience, in contrast to the flatness of the iPhone. Using the headset’s content capture button, you may also see 3D media you’ve created. I was transported to the scene as I imagined friends gathered around the fire. Remember that somebody has to be the geek who puts on the headset so that the memories may be preserved for posterity.

Apple Vision Pro in the cinema

(Image credits of Apple)
Even Bajarin acknowledges the high quality of the Vision Pro’s screens, telling me, “you couldn’t see the pixels in the display like you can on many other VR headsets.” Additionally, he stated that “the pass through video letting you see your environment had near zero latency.”

(Image credits of Apple)

The age of augmented reality is here.
Dinosaurs Encountered by Apple’s Vision Pro

The Vision Pro’s augmented reality features are where it begins to differentiate itself from Apple’s iPhone. The Vision Pro’s Mindfullness app is a perfect illustration of this, as it combines colourful graphics that float directly in front of your face with 360 degrees of spatial sounds coming from the Vision Pro’s audio pods. Sure, there are a plethora of augmented reality apps for the iPhone, but it’s not the same as gazing around without a screen. of Ted Lasso on the iPhone 14 Pro Max, but the Vision Pro can project a virtual 100-inch screen in front of your eyes, making the iPhone’s display look puny by comparison. And these are some very crisp images.

Even though the butterfly landing on my finger in the Encounter Dinosaur app on the Apple Vision Pro seemed very much like a scripted demo, the experience was fantastic all the same. I’m eager to see what Apple is able to accomplish with Disney as an official partner, especially after hearing Disney CEO Bob Iger hint at some intriguing augmented reality opportunities across all of Disney’s properties. Personally, I can’t wait till Vision Pro releases so that I can use a lightsaber. Just trust that they’re putting forth the effort to fix it.

As amazing as the Vision Pro’s demonstrations are, the platform’s future is ultimately dependent on what programmers can accomplish with it. That’s why the product was unveiled at WWDC 2023, even though it wouldn’t be released until early 2024.

Software engineers are crucial to the success of this platform, Bajarin emphasised. Apple’s chances of success in this market segment depend on the reception the company receives from the software development community. But this is precisely why it is crucial to get a superb V1 product into their hands.

Regarding the asking price of $3.5k and Future Events

From the need for an extra power pack to the exorbitant price tag, the Vision Pro is reminiscent of a version 1.0 device. However, the intended recipients are not typical customers but rather the programmers who will create the next generation of exciting user experiences for version 2.0 and beyond.

According to Greengart, the supply chain may scale up, component yields can increase, and prices can decrease if there is sufficient demand over time.

The Vision Pro still seems like a huge and significant departure from the iPhone as the hub of your personal electronics world. It may take a few generations for this to seem like the next big thing, but in the meanwhile, the Vision Pro is certainly worth considering.

Just think back to when the iPhone’s screen was just 3.5 inches, there was no 3G, and there wasn’t even an App Store. Before passing verdict on this bold attempt at spatial computing, I believe we should allow the Vision Pro and its successors some time to settle in.

Greengart noted that while many concerns remain, including what apps and content will drive demand and whether or not users would experience any discomfort in their eyes or heads, the Apple Vision Pro is the beginning of a new computing platform.

Apple Glasses are on the way, but this is the first device to usher in the post-iPhone future.

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