On June 5th, during the World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) 2023, Apple introduced its highly anticipated innovation after a decade of development: the Apple Vision Pro, equipped with its proprietary operating system, Vision OS. At ONE800, our team is comprised of fervent tech enthusiasts who share an unwavering passion for engineering and breakthroughs in technology. As experienced engineers, we offer our expert insights on Apple's new Vision Pro headset and share our perspectives on what this could mean for the future of technology. This article provides an in-depth examination of this next-generation headset, complemented by insightful commentary from the ONE800 team.
Table of Content
- A Journey Through Time: The Evolution of Virtual and Augmented Reality
- Diving Deep into Apple's Vision Pro: Insights & Reflections from the ONE800 Team
- Embracing Elegance: The Quintessentially Apple Aesthetics of the Vision Pro Design
- VisionOS: The Thoughtfully Polished and Integral Soul of Apple's Vision Pro
- ONE800 Team's Handpicked Features: A Deep Dive into Apple's Vision Pro
- VR/AR Competition Against Meta Quest Pro and Quest 2
- Unlocking the Future: Why the ONE800 Team is Abuzz with Excitement for Vision Pro Technology
A Journey Through Time: The Evolution of Virtual and Augmented Reality
The landscape of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) has undergone substantial evolution since its inception. The initial exploration of these technologies dates back to the 1960s with Ivan Sutherland's groundbreaking work. However, it wasn't until the 21st century that AR/VR truly started to mature with the advancement of computational power and miniaturization of hardware. Pioneers in the field, such as Oculus and HTC, helped establish the early VR market, while AR gained momentum with applications in mobile devices, notably through games like Pokemon Go and platforms like Snapchat.
Today, the AR/VR landscape is rapidly diversifying and expanding with various applications across entertainment, education, healthcare, and more. Technology giants, including Facebook (Meta), Microsoft, Google, and Apple, are heavily invested in these domains. The market continues to grow, with industry analysts predicting that the global AR/VR market size will reach hundreds of billions by the end of this decade.
Apple's entry into this market with the Vision Pro headset represents years of research and development. Although the exact timeline remains a company secret, it's widely believed that Apple started its AR/VR project around 2015, following the acquisition of several tech startups in the AR/VR field. Therefore, Apple's Vision Pro is essentially the culmination of nearly a decade's worth of effort and strategic planning, signaling a significant milestone in the company's history and the broader AR/VR landscape.
Diving Deep into Apple's Vision Pro: Insights & Reflections from the ONE800 Team
As devoted tech enthusiasts, the ONE800 team brings to the table our extensive experience with Meta and their Quest series headsets. Despite our fervor for AR/VR technologies, we must acknowledge the existing impediments that have hampered their wider adoption. A major bottleneck lies in hardware constraints. High-end displays and sensors are often reserved for pricier headsets, and even then, they sometimes fall short of delivering an optimal user experience. Case in point, the basic pass-through feature on Quest feels as outdated as peeking through an old Nokia camera, with its disappointingly low resolution. Meta's aim may not necessarily be to harmonize reality with the virtual world, but when users can't perceive their surroundings, accidents become a likelihood, and user experience takes a hit.
As for input methods, current headsets like Quest and Sony VR2 rely on controllers. Typing becomes a laborious task, pressing one key at a time. While controllers might offer more precision than hand-tracking, the system frequently misses keystrokes, making typing far from enjoyable. Then there's the matter of comfort. Most cutting-edge headsets are front-heavy, with displays, chips, and battery units all crammed into the front, resulting in imbalance. Meta's Quest Pro has somewhat addressed this by relocating the battery to the back of the headset, thereby improving comfort significantly. However, any head strip crossing over the user’s head can disrupt hairstyles and become an annoyance.
Before Apple unveiled its headset, we, the ONE800 team, held a few simple expectations, mirroring some of the existing pain points in the AR/VR landscape:
- A realistic and practical pass-through mode
- The ability to type fluently in the virtual world, either on a virtual keyboard or on a real Mac keyboard
- Comfort and ergonomic design - a balanced, portable, and non-front-heavy headset."
And spoiler alert, Apple’s Vision Pro delivered most of the requirements, except for comfort which we still have to wait and see.
Embracing Elegance: The Quintessentially Apple Aesthetics of the Vision Pro Design
The design of the Vision Pro incorporates elements akin to the AirPods Max and Apple Watch, with a circular shape, a Digital Crown and a button for tactile input, all underlined by modularity. It features a singular piece of three-dimensionally molded and laminated glass that is meticulously polished to create an optical surface functioning as a lens for the numerous cameras and sensors required to seamlessly blend the physical world with digital content. The glass transitions into a custom aluminum alloy frame that contours comfortably around the user's face. A modular design facilitates a customized fit for diverse users. The Light Seal, made from a soft textile, flexes to mold perfectly to a user's face, ensuring a precise fit.
Reviews from developers who have trialed this headset suggest that Apple did not fully showcase all features during the keynote, such as additional head strips designed to distribute weight across the top of the user's head, reminiscent of the Meta Quest 2. Moreover, in response to the needs of users with eye prescriptions, Apple plans to offer lens customization services at Apple Stores in the future. The add-on lenses, created by ZEISS, will magnetically attach to the existing pan-cake lens.
VisionOS: The Thoughtfully Polished and Integral Soul of Apple's Vision Pro
The Vision Pro has entirely transformed user-device interaction, a revolution reminiscent of the game-changing multi-touch feature introduced by Steve Jobs with the iPhone in 2007. Apple has done away with conventional controllers, instead adopting more intuitive human inputs — the eyes, hands, and voice. This article focuses on the revolutionary inputs: eye tracking and hand gesture tracking. Eye movement, instead of a cursor or fingertip, can now be used for selection, with pinching gestures serving as clicks. Scrolling and zooming in/out or rotating items can be accomplished effortlessly using intuitive hand gestures.
One aspect of the user interface interaction that Apple did not highlight during the keynote was the capability for direct interactions, such as direct touch and direct scrolling. An instance of this was demonstrated in the subsequent developers' guide, illustrating the potential to type on a virtual keyboard. When a user's fingertip hovers over the keys, the corresponding key becomes highlighted, similar to how the system responds to focused eye movements. Rather than utilizing the pinching action, the user can press the virtual keys as they would on a physical keyboard. A distinct, tactile sound is produced through the speakers to make up for the lack of tactile feedback.
We theorize that this feature might still be under development, hence its omission from the keynote. Further, according to the developers' guide, it seems that the virtual keyboard input currently only supports index finger detection. There is certainly room for enhancement in this area to provide a more precise virtual typing experience. This could potentially explain why Apple persistently promotes the use of Bluetooth keyboards or trackpads, laptops, and iPhones for actual physical keyboard inputs. We are keenly anticipating how well this feature will be refined in the future.
Overall, Apple has been a trailblazer in user-interface innovation, from inventing the computer mouse, to introducing multi-touch interfaces, and now pioneering eye and finger tracking technologies. Our ONE800 team suspect that the company's ambitious trajectory suggests an ultimate goal of mind control technology. Essentially, they're striving to eliminate the need for artificial interface designs, creating a seamless interaction between human and machine.
Furthermore, Apple has delineated three unique settings for applications: windows, volume, and spaces. At launch, all existing iPhone and iPad applications will be compatible with the Vision Pro in Windows mode, allowing multiple windows and applications to be open concurrently for multi-tasking. Volume mode will facilitate 3D model previews and AR games that require 3D spaces, embodying augmented reality. Space View will offer a truly immersive experience, occupied by a single app, such as watching a movie or previewing a panorama photo. As Tim Cook, Apple CEO, highlighted in an interview following the Vision Pro's release, the headset's ability to perform all iPhone and Mac functions, while unlocking a third dimension, opens up a world of possibilities for developers to create innovative and ground-breaking applications.
ONE800 Team's Handpicked Features: A Deep Dive into Apple's Vision Pro
Among the most intriguing capabilities of the Apple Vision Pro is its ability to capture 3D images and videos. Despite Apple's emphasis on this feature during their keynote, we believe it hasn't garnered the attention it truly deserves. This is perhaps understandable, given the inherent challenge of showcasing this groundbreaking photo/video format in a 2D keynote presentation.
Based on feedback from reviewers and developers who have tested this feature, replaying a 3D spatial video is akin to re-experiencing a memory or reliving a shared moment as seen in the magical world of Harry Potter. This innovation offers the potential to immortalize cherished moments, be it a breathtaking sunrise during a hiking trip, a family wedding brimming with love and togetherness, or a poignant moment from a long-distance relationship. There has been some initial apprehension concerning the etiquette of donning the headset at public gatherings, such as children's birthday parties. This reaction is reminiscent of the early days when people started using their phones to record concerts - a practice that was initially seen as strange and intrusive but is now widely accepted and often even expected. As with that transition, we anticipate that societal norms will adapt with exposure and understanding of the immersive and unique benefits of spatial photos and videos offered by the headset. Over time, as this technology becomes woven into the fabric of our daily experiences, it's plausible to predict that its presence at our most cherished occasions will become as commonplace and accepted as pulling out a smartphone to capture a memorable moment.
Another standout characteristic of the Apple Vision Pro pertains to its innovative adaptation of the FaceTime feature. Given that users will be wearing the Vision Pro headset, which obscures their faces, Apple has engineered a remarkable solution: the creation of a 3D avatar. This avatar is generated by conducting an initial scan of your face when you begin using the device. As you wear the Vision Pro, motion cameras capture your facial movements, which are then reflected in your 3D avatar during FaceTime calls. Thanks to the integration of twelve camera modules and cutting-edge processors, this avatar can accurately mimic your facial expressions and body language. We are thus witnessing the realization of a future where concepts previously seen only in science fiction — such as the holograms in Star Wars — are becoming tangible realities.
Moving to the issue of potential isolation by donning the Vision Pro, Apple has underscored that this device fosters connection rather than isolation. The Vision Pro is the first Mixed Reality headset to incorporate an external screen allowing others to observe your reactions. Like the AirPods' noise cancellation and transparency mode, the Vision Pro is capable of seamlessly transitioning between the virtual and real world.
In pass-through mode, it signals to those around you that you are engaging with them by displaying your eye movements on an external OLED display.
VR/AR Competition Against Meta Quest Pro and Quest 2
Having evaluated both the Quest Pro and Quest 2, it's clear that their pass-through feature leaves much to be desired. Meta, for instance, leans more toward VR than Mixed Reality. In contrast, Apple did not mention VR once during the Vision Pro keynote, instead focusing on applications that integrate with the real world. The photorealistic camera capture of the real world displayed in the Apple Vision Pro’s demo has, in our opinion, not been sufficiently appreciated. If wearing the headset in pass-through mode genuinely feels like not wearing one at all, it could significantly drive daily usage and spur competitors to innovate.
Overall, as Apple suggests, the Vision Pro may well be the most advanced consumer electronic product currently available. It boasts top-tier sensors and displays, and a refined user interface design. The price point is steep, at 3499 USD, but reflective of the value offered. We project that this headset will make a significant impact, possibly upending the current AR/VR market. Will the future AR/VR market resemble the ongoing battles between Meta vs Apple, Android vs iPhone, or Windows vs Mac?
Regardless, we appreciate Apple for introducing yet another exciting technological development. We recognize that this level of technology may be out of reach for ordinary consumers initially and anticipate a slower adoption rate among this demographic compared to developers and tech enthusiasts. However, we firmly believe that in 5 or 10 years, you'll likely be perusing this article through lightweight glasses, marveling at the leaps and bounds technology has made, and taking the Vision Pro for granted, much like your smartphone today.
Unlocking the Future: Why the ONE800 Team is Abuzz with Excitement for Vision Pro Technology
At ONE800, we're committed to making Artificial Intelligence (AI) both personal and easily accessible for everyone. With the unveiling of Apple's Vision Pro, we're thrilled to be part of a milestone that infuses everyday interactions with an immersive, 3D experience. From launch day itself, you'll be able to enjoy our ONE800 campaign on your Vision Pro headset. This means you can converse and text within a 3-dimensional environment, fostering a more intimate and connected user experience.
But what's more exciting is that as we roll out new updates and features, your digital friend from ONE800 will also evolve, becoming an integral part of your Vision Pro journey. This seamless integration and familiar user interface is a testament to Apple's user-centric ecosystem.
Yet, we're not stopping here. Vision Pro represents a monumental leap into the realm of spatial computing, an uncharted territory where our imaginations and the vast expanse of the sky set the only boundaries. Join us at ONE800 as we push the frontiers of AI, shaping an exciting future where technology and human interaction converge like never before. We're excited to share a few potential enhancements that the ONE800 team is working on, aiming to elevate your Vision Pro experience in the near future.
The Canvas Creator feature is a favorite amongst our users on ONE800. With the additional dimension afforded by Vision Pro, we're planning to take it a step beyond. In our envisioned future, users can submit a 2D sketch of their design or avatar, and our advanced machine learning model will create a corresponding 3D model. Within the Vision Pro's immersive environment, users will have the ability to manipulate the 3D model freely - move it around, rotate it within the 3D space, and zoom in or out for a closer examination.
In addition, we aim to enhance our popular Cameo Chat feature. In our future updates, we envisage users having real-time conversations with their favorite celebrities' avatars, taking the interaction to a whole new level. With these potential enhancements, we at ONE800 are excited to redefine your Vision Pro experience.
The catalogue of possibilities is truly endless, and our dedicated team at ONE800 is eager to bring these exhilarating enhancements your way. We are thrilled to accompany you on this journey into the dawn of spatial computing.
Apple Developer’s Guide:
Vision Pro Website Page: