Thursday 8 February 2024

The launch of the Apple Vision Pro, and some of my thoughts

Earlier this month the Apple Vision Pro was launched in the US, priced at $3500. If you aren't sure what it is, here's a short introductory video:

The Vision Pro looks and behaves much like a VR headset but Apple are very keen to make sure you don't call it that. Instead they are referring to it as a 'spatial computer'. I'm not an expert on the technology, but in summary it has cameras on the outside so that you can still see what is going on around you, and eye tracking cameras on the inside. These inside cameras along with body movements allow you to navigate between several different virtual screens at once, which are projected around you. The cameras pointing at your face mean that other people can see an image of your eyes on the front of the headset, and you can turn a dial to adjust from an augmented reality style experience to full immersion. 

If you want to know more and see one in action there are numerous reviews and videos from technology experts and new users, or there is this longer promotional video from Apple:

I've been following the release with great interest, because I am fully expecting at least one of these devices to enter our home within the next few years. It's expensive of course, but not out of reach expensive, and I'm sure that the price will reduce over time to bring it within the price range of most people, just like smartphones. At the moment it's very bulky, and you need to wear a separate battery pack while using it, but technology moves so quickly that I'm sure it won't be long before it's much more streamlined.

It seems to be tailored perfectly for someone like my husband. He is always working on multiple things at once, and this device allows you to have so much going on at the same time within a large field of vision - you can be writing an e-mail, responding to messages, scrolling social media, all while watching a video. You can be literally living in your own little world, sitting on the sofa in your home but completely absorbed and oblivious to what is going on around you.

I must admit that I am very worried about what technology like this means for the future. I'm not sure that I personally could cope with lots of screens at the same time, and it will take any smartphone addiction and ramp it up to the max. I can see people becoming used to communicating with each other virtually rather than in person, and it would be so easy to never leave the house when life can be run from inside a headset.

Having said that, I would love to try one out, and I'm very interested to see where this technology leads over the next few years. At the moment I find them a bit overwhelming and can't see that one would benefit me, but if you'd shown me a smartphone when I was a teenager I probably would have thought the same, and maybe I'm just too old!

Are you interested in the Apple Vision Pro? I'd love to know what other people think about it!

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