If you have several thousand dollars burning an Apple-shaped hole in your pocket, then get your eyes ready and shave your head for good measure because Apple’s long-time coming “spatial computer,” the Vision Pro, will finally make its way into Apple fans’ hands Feb 2. The Cupertino company said Monday that you’ll find the MR headset in U.S. Apple stores next month, and pre-orders are set to begin next week, Friday, Jan. 19, at 8 a.m. ET – but no word on Australian availability yet.
Apple’s not at CES, but the company is notoriously catty if eyeballs aren’t always turned toward the Cupertino spaceship headquarters. This year, the company’s big non-CES announcement was bound to be its first attempt to capture and potentially revitalize the floundering virtual reality space.
The Vision Pro starts at $US3,500 with 256GB of storage. It also comes with two options for bands, the “Solo Knit Band” and “Dual Loop Band,” as well as two different seals for your eyes. This seems like an attempt to fix early testers’ initial issues with overall comfort. It also comes with an external battery pack and cable. You can get it online or in Apple stores, though there’s no mention of earlier reports of needing to set up an appointment to get it fitted.
The company advertised you’ll have access to a bunch of apps with “three-dimensional interfaces.” There are a few apps specifically making use of the “spatial” environment, such as FaceTime and spatial video or photos taken with an iPhone 15 Pro. You can also capture your own spatial video with the headset, though there’s an indicator on the headset itself when you’re doing so to avoid another “glasshole,” I mean, “Glass Explorer” situation, hopefully.
Still, since the company is borrowing more than 1 million iOS and iPadOS apps, Vision Pro users can use their headsets to access a ton of 2D content. We’ve previously seen the Vision Pro in action, and you can place these 2D apps in panels at multiple scales across your virtual display. Sure, you can work using Microsoft 365 and ignore coworkers’ messages on Slack with the help of an automatic connection to an Apple-brand Magic keyboard and mouse, or you can use the gesture controls and a virtual keyboard.
You can get some games on Vision Pro, including titles from the Apple Arcade, but with gesture controls only, we’ll likely have to wait for bespoke “spatial” gaming. Unlike the Meta Quest 3, which pushes the gaming and “metaverse” content hard, Apple is instead pushing the Vision Pro as a big, 4K mobile screen for working within your own digital environment.
Apple also shared more about how you can lock down your Vision Pro, and it involves scanning your iris. This is the company’s new “Optic ID,” which users can upload their biometric data to let it autofill passwords or complete payments with Apple Pay. This is akin to the face scan already available on iPhone, but Apple swore the eye tracking data isn’t shared with Apple or third-party apps.
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