Apple Vision Pro:
A new horizon for mixed reality
Xavier Delgado Anglada
Technical Product Manager, Expert in Digital Workplace and VR
In early June, we witnessed a moment that will undoubtedly mark a before and after in the world of technology. Apple chose WWDC to announce the launch of Vision Pro, a pair of mixed reality glasses that will hit the market in 2024 along with a whole technological arsenal.
The goal? To eliminate the boundaries between the physical and virtual worlds, with a focus on usability and comfort, in order to provide a mixed reality experience like we've never imagined before.
WHAT NEW FEATURES ARE INTRODUCED?
The mixed reality sector, previously dominated by the well-known Microsoft HoloLens and Meta Quest, has its eye on some of the new features incorporated into the new Vision Pro glasses.
Here are some of the key features:
- Object Placement: The new Vision Pro glasses are capable of determining the placement of objects. For example, if you place a screen and there’s a vase in front of it, the glasses will recognize this positioning and partially obstruct the screen with the vase.
- Field of View: Previously, the field of view was limited, so when you moved, the digitally projected object would be cut off. Although Apple has not announced the technical specifications, they reveal that the increased field of view of the Vision Pro glasses will not have this problem.
- Pass Through: This technology uses virtual reality displays to enable users to see the real world without having to remove the headset. In the new Vision Pro glasses, Apple incorporates two micro-OLED displays with a resolution of over 4K per eye, operating at a frame rate of 90 Hz. Thanks to these improvements over current systems, pass-through will be much more realistic, offering a more immersive mixed reality experience.
- EyeSight: The glasses display a virtual recreation of the user's eyes on the external screen, allowing others to see a reflection of their eyes when interacting with the user while wearing the glasses, ensuring they do not lose expressive capabilities.
- Eye Tracking: This system scans the user's iris using LEDs and infrared cameras. The goal is to provide smoother interaction with elements in the mixed reality experience, eliminating the need for the user to use a laser pointer like in current devices. The glasses simply track where the user is looking, and with a hand gesture or voice command, they can interact with the elements.
- Motion Sickness: Motion sickness is discomfort caused by a conflict between the body's senses. While the eyes perceive movement in the virtual environment, the body does not experience any physical movement. The new Apple Vision Pro glasses significantly reduce motion sickness by introducing new motion transitions and processing images with low latency.
Wide field of view
In addition to listing some of the new features, Vision Pro stands out for incorporating the characteristic "Apple style" into its experiences. It's that special care they put into every detail that was previously overlooked, such as shadow projection or reflections to create a greater sense of reality. The combination of these details creates a product that users will enjoy much more in their daily lives.
However, we must not forget that Vision Pro also have a series of disadvantages that Apple needs to address if they want to establish their product in the medium and long term.
One such drawback is the battery, which not only has a maximum duration of two hours but also requires the use of an external power pack, adding inconvenience. The weight, over half a kilogram, can also be a concern for users who wear them for extended periods.
And let's not forget the high price, which may mean that even the biggest Apple fans have to forgo purchasing the Vision Pro and opt for other more competitively priced models on the market.
THE BOOST FOR UNITY
One of the major beneficiaries of the launch of Apple Vision Pro has been Unity Technology, which saw a 17% increase in its stock on that day. Before delving into the reasons behind this growth, let's provide some context.
For decades, companies in the gaming industry have used their own game engines. Unity Technology created its own game engine, Unity, with the aim of democratizing game development and reaching independent developers who were left out of the game. Today, Unity is behind over 60% of the existing virtual and augmented reality applications in the market.
In this context, Apple has reached an agreement with Unity, allowing many of its already developed applications and games to run natively on visionOS. With this collaboration, Apple ensures that its marketplace is enriched with thousands of applications of sufficient quality to meet the high standards demanded by Apple, even as they create their own development environment that will undoubtedly attract more players.
VISION PRO: HORIZONS FOR NAKA
The launch of Vision Pro also opens up a world of opportunities for NAKA.
At NAKA, we aim to support the leading extended reality devices in the market, including the Apple Vision Pro. This aligns with our roadmap, where we have already announced support for augmented and mixed reality experiences. This allows us to provide NAKA with experiences that can seamlessly integrate with Apple's spatial computing model as part of the release of this new device.
So far, our focus has been on creating trainings, employee metaverses, digital corporate events, and enterprise-client collaboration spaces. Translating these experiences to the world of Vision Pro will enable us to delve into the details and take NAKA to the next level.
One of the opportunities presented by this new device is the ability to expand the use cases supported by NAKA, including the digital workplace. Thanks to Apple's spatial computing concept, we can push collaboration and workplace digitization to new heights.
SOME INSIGHTS INTO THE FUTURE
Apple is known for rarely making missteps, especially when it comes to significant advancements like the one they have just made. They have opened a new paradigm in which they transform a device that was previously merely entertaining into something capable of solving real-world problems.
However, we still have many months ahead before we can personally verify how well the new functionalities they have announced actually work, as they won't be available for sale until early next year.