Microsoft is already boasting that Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Teams will work with the new Apple Vision Pro headset. Here’s a quick look at the new tech and a few features that caught our eye.
Apple Vision Pro is the much anticipated virtual-reality headset due out in early 2024 for about US$3,500 (no, that’s not a typo).
Microsoft is part of this Apple innovation already working on Office apps that will work in this virtual world. Redmond is doing the same with Meta’s Quest devices too.
Caught our (virtual) eye
Some interesting features in Vision Pro that caught our eye.
Mixed real and virtual world. Instead of totally blocking out the world around you, Vision Pro can show the space around you fully or present the apps in front of a selected background. A small dial on the headset lets you set the mix of real / virtual.
Part of the attempt to combine the two is ‘Eyesight’ where the users eyes appear on a screen visible to people near you.
Mac computer screens can be mirrored and greatly expanded into a virtual space.
No hand-controllers. Vision Pro uses hand-gestures and even eye-movements to control the display with no need to hold separate controllers. A flick of the fingers to scroll, a two-finger tap to click etc. Let’s hope these gestures are a lot easier than in other VR headsets (clumsy).
Keyboards can be added (via Bluetooth) as well as gaming controllers and doubtless other accessories.
3D Personas – for online meetings in Teams, Zoom and Webex you’ll be able to create a realistic, virtual version of your face.
By the way, forget ‘virtual reality’ because Apple is talking ‘Spatial’ as in ‘Spatial Computing’ and ‘Spatial Audio’.
Hopefully, the setup and use will be a lot easier. I like watching movies with a VR headset but rarely do because of the fuss and bother involved in getting the VR contraption up and running.
Beware nerds with glasses
One downside of the Apple headset is for glasses wearers. The headset sits very firmly on the face with no room for wearing glasses. Instead, you’ll have to buy prescription lens inserts, that’s on top of the $3.5k for the main unit!
Cheaper ‘non-Pro’ version later?
The ‘Pro’ of Apple Vision Pro suggests there might be a cheaper non-Pro version possible in late 2024 or beyond.
If it matches the hype, Vision Pro is a major improvement in VR tech but not for the masses at that high price.
A cynical view
On the other hand, you can take a cynical view…
“Apple’s new $3,500 headset targets a lucrative gap in the market for people who like to make poor financial decisions while also looking incredibly stupid.”