Apple's first augmented reality headset will go on sale on 2nd February in the US. "The era of spatial computing has arrived!" tweeted Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. Though plenty of questions remain over how viable the device will be.
The era of spatial computing has arrived! Apple Vision Pro is available in the US on February 2. pic.twitter.com/5BK1jyEnZNJanuary 8, 2024
'Spatial computing' is Apple's term for mixed reality – blending the real world with virtual elements (also known as augmented reality). From an AV perspective, the main appeal is the ability to plonk a 100ft screen in front of you wherever you are, effectively strapping a cinema to your face. And not just any cinema. With 23 million pixels across two micro-OLED panels, each eye gets a higher-than-4K resolution. It also boasts HDR support and Spatial Audio courtesy of 'Audio Pods' that play sound out loud.
Technically, it looks very impressive. But will anyone actually wear what amounts to a high-tech scuba mask in their own home? VR has met ridicule for its isolating properties – Apple has attempted to get around this with the ability to make the screen translucent to show the wearer's eyes, but the results are... well, this.
More worrying for Apple is the apathy most people have for virtual reality. Meta – formerly known as Facebook – has sunk billions into the metaverse, yet the market is shrinking. Sales of VR headsets dropped 40 per cent last year. It's estimated Meta has lost around $25 billion on the project since the start of 2022, when founder Mark Zuckerberg renamed the company.
Pre-orders for the Apple Vision Pro start on 19th January – just two days after the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S24. The $3500 (around £2800 / AU$5300) headset likely won't replace your TV anytime soon, but it could be a neat – if niche – alternative to a projector.
These are the best TVs you can buy right now
And the best projectors