By: Yichi Lin
On June 5, during its four day-long 2023 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple officially announced another major category of products. The new technology is a headset that mixes reality and virtual experiences.
Apple CEO Tim Cook deemed the coming years another era of high tech. “Just as the Mac introduced us to personal computing, and iPhone introduced us to mobile computing, Apple Vision Pro introduces us to spatial computing. Built upon decades of Apple innovation, Vision Pro is years ahead and unlike anything created before.”
The first version that will be on sale is known as the Apple Vision Pro. The product is shaped like goggles, with a screen and virtual monitor attached. Like previous products, wearers would touch, hearing, and sight to control the device.
This innovation is really groundbreaking, as it’s something completely different, and not just an enhanced version of an older form of technology.
“Blending digital content with the real world can unlock experiences like nothing we’ve ever seen,” Cook said.
The goggles will come with other basic equipment, including cameras, microphones, and sensors that capture images of the outside world and play them in front of the wearer’s eyes.
Besides the ordinary features, a few special ones that didn’t exist for previous products were also revealed. One of the brand-new qualities will be Eyesight, which will project the image of the wearer's eyes onto the front of the goggles while they are watching the screen. Apple says that this will help the wearers be able to connect with those in the real world.
Apple also announced tech meant to reduce eye strain in children. Staring at screens has led to a higher risk for children to develop myopia, a common vision condition that does several types of damage to the eye, such as lengthening the shape of the eye, or the curving of the cornea, which is not completely curable. This perception problem is especially prevalent in those who spend hours on technological devices, which increases their chances of developing myopia by as much as 80 percent, compared to the average person. According to Apple, children will be able to use this new device for a longer period of time without having to worry about side effects.
Features that belong to this category of tech include the warning system installed on the Apple Vision Pro, which will alert users when their eyes are too close to the screen. The newest versions of Apple Watches also include a daylight sensor that helps determine how much time wearers spend under sunlight, something that is quite important for eye health.
The headset will be sold at the high cost of $5000 Australian dollars, or $3500 U.S. dollars, making it quite unaffordable for a lot of people.
Mike Rockwell, Apple’s top executive in charge of the headset project, argues that the price is reasonable because the product is the first of its kind and has extraordinary functionality.
“If you purchased a new state-of-the-art TV, surround-sound system, powerful computer with multiple high-definition displays, high-end camera and more, you still would not have come close to what Vision Pro delivers,”he said.
Since the price of the Pro version of the headset is pretty high, Apple is also working on a regular, non-Pro version with fewer features and lower overall quality that would be more affordable. The cheaper model will be ready to sell in 2026.
At the same time, planning for the creation of the second-generation model is already happening, which would add a faster processor and even more features than the first-generation headsets have.
The Vision Pro first-generation will probably not sell well. Consumers may see the product as unnecessary since most people have a computer, tablet or phone that can already perform everyday tasks. However, sales of future products may eventually rise, once more applications that current devices don’t support are installed onto the newer versions of the headset.