Apple Vision Pro will be available in stores from February 2 in the U.S.

Jan 9, 2024

We finally have an official launch date for the Apple Vision Pro. The first spatial computer from the tech giant which was announced in June last year, will be available in Apple Stores across the U.S. from February 2.

The Cupertino company's CEO, Tim Cook, announced that "The era of spatial computing has arrived. Apple Vision Pro is the most advanced consumer electronics device ever created. Its revolutionary and magical user interface will redefine how we connect, create, and explore.”

Important features of the Apple Vision Pro

The Apple Vision Pro is powered by an all-new operating system called visionOS. It has a three-dimensional user interface, and the input system is controlled by a user’s eyes, hands, and voice. You can use gestures to navigate and interact with apps, for example, by looking at an app, tapping your fingers, or flicking your wrist.

visionOS has a virtual keyboard that you can use, or you can use dictation to type. The device also supports Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad, and Mac Virtual Display. The spatial headset supports Siri, and you can use the digital assistant just like you can on your iPhone.

It's not just about browsing the internet using Safari in 3D, or chatting with your friends. The visionOS supports Environments, which you can use to explore dynamic landscapes like the surface of the moon, Yosemite national parks, Haleakal?, Joshua Tree, etc. The Digital Crown on the headset can be twisted to adjust the immersiveness of the environment.

The Vision Pro has a high-performance eye tracking system that uses high-speed cameras and a ring of LEDs that project invisible light patterns onto the user’s eyes, to allow for responsive, intuitive input. The mixed-reality headset is powered by a dual Apple Silicon M2 chip. The device has 12 cameras, six microphones and 5 sensors, and the content from these is processed by an R1 chip.

Another new feature on the headset is called EyeSight, which makes the device look transparent when a person approaches someone wearing a Vision Pro. So, you can look at the user's eyes, and they can see you. The EyeSight feature also displays cues to others about what a user is focused on, while they are using an app or viewing an Environment.

Apple says that the 3D interface allows apps to appear side-by-side without boundaries, to provide a more immersive multitasking workspace experience. You can rearrange and resize apps as you want. Several productivity apps such as Fantastical, Freeform, JigSpace, apps from Microsoft 365, and Slack are readily available for the Apple Vision Pro. It also supports games. The Vision Pro is compatible with over 250 games available on Apple Arcade, including NBA 2K24 Arcade Edition, Sonic Dream, Game Room, What the Golf?, and Super Fruit Ninja. You can use your favorite game controllers too. The company states that the App Store has over 1 million compatible apps across iOS and iPadOS, along with new experiences that are designed for the Vision Pro.

As we have seen so far, the Apple Vision Pro is not your average AR or VR headset. But there is more to the hardware. It is equipped with a couple of ultra-high-resolution micro-OLED displays, that are a size of a postage stamp, and pack 23 million pixels. The screens support wide color gamut and high dynamic range (HDR). Apple says the displays on the headset deliver more pixels than a 4K TV. You can use the Vision Pro to watch 150 3D titles in the Apple TV app. Other streaming apps that are supported by the headset include Disney+, Max, so you can watch your favorite movies and TV shows on a screen that feels 100 feet wide.

A Persona is an authentic spatial representation of an Apple Vision Pro user, the headset creates a Persona using machine learning techniques. It allows others on the call to see their face normally, including or the facial expressions and hand movements they make, all in real time. The feature will be supported in third-party video conferencing apps including Zoom, Cisco Webex, and Microsoft Teams. FaceTime on Apple Vision Pro supports Spatial Audio, which makes it sound like each person's voice comes from the location of their tile. A person who is wearing the headset on FaceTime will appear as their Persona, and others who joined the call from a Mac, iPad and iPhone will appear in a tile.

Apple is introducing a new entertainment format, which it calls Apple Immersive Video. It supports 180-degree, three-dimensional 8K recordings captured with Spatial Audio. This will allow users to have interactive experiences. If you can recall, Apple recently added support for spatial video capture on the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max with the iOS 17.2 update. Users can view the photos and videos that they captured on their phone, at a life-size scale with more details, this will let you relive your memories in a more immersive way.

Accessibility in visionOS supports various accessibility features like VoiceOver, Zoom, Switch Control, Guided Access, etc., which have been redesigned for spatial computing. Users will be able to choose from various input options or combine them to their preference.

Apple says that the Vision Pro has industry-leading privacy and security. visionOS includes a new authentication system, called Optic ID, that scans a user's iris to unlock the headset. This biometric system is also used to autofill passwords, and complete payments with Apple Pay. The company says that a user's information stays private, including the eye tracking data, and is not shared with Apple or third-party apps or websites.

Apple Vision Pro price and availability

The Apple Vision Pro has been priced at $3499. Apple is selling prescription lenses for the headset separately, (ZEISS Optical Inserts) and the prices start at $149. Readers for the device are priced at $99.

The Apple Vision Pro will be available for pre-order from January 19. The spatial computer will start shipping from February 2. Interested in trying the mixed reality headset? You can check out the Apple Vision Pro demo at your local Apple Store from February 2.

It won't be easy for the Apple Vision Pro to make an instant impact in the market, given the expensive price tag, and the fact that you can only buy it in the U.S. And there is always the competition to consider, such as the Meta Quest 3 which costs $499. Only time can tell whether the Vision Pro could become successful like the Apple Watch. The company is already said to be working on a cheaper version of the headset, which could debut later this year.

Apple Vision Pro will be available in stores from February 2 in the U.S.
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Apple Vision Pro will be available in stores from February 2 in the U.S.
The Apple Vision Pro mixed reality headset will be available for purchase from February 2.
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  1. Karl said on January 9, 2024 at 9:56 am

    Great informative article, Ashwinner!

    The first thing I said to myself before starting reading was to “guess the price”, I said somewhere around 3000, so not far off. One can not say that this sort of very advanced tech isn’t cool. I do not plan on buying the AVP, but like you said Ashwin: “As we have seen so far, the Apple Vision Pro is not your average AR or VR headset”. Indeed. Feels like Apple had an idea of exactly what they wanted their coming VR/AR set to be capable of doing, and that it would be ok that it took a long time to get it done, hence the many rumours through the past years that it is “soon” ready for launch. But I sure as heck hope that the support life on an AR/VR set in this price range will have support for a very, very long time!!

    I do enjoy listening to HQ music through headphones, but after a good while they can start to feel a little “heavy” on your head, and everyone that use a good sized pair of headphone knows the feeling when you take them off and your head feels “free” again, and you might like to sit or lay down watching some casual TV. That won’t be possible if I would watch TV via this headset. But it surely must be a wonderful thing to “watch your favorite movies and TV shows on a screen that feels 100 feet wide.”. Hmm, I guess I just wont binge view anything. But I don’t feel like I would want to ditch the traditional TV and simply use the headset for everything I usually would watch on the telly, (maybe Apple would launch an “affordable” 8K TV next…). Similarly that I would not want to ditch my computer and use an iPad as that is what “probably most” use for their computer tasks these days, as someone wrote when Apple launched the newest iMac and that most wouldn’t miss a 27′. Nope. One thing I hate the most is typing anything lengthy on a “touch display” keyboard like on the smartphones, ipads etc, then I immediately miss my computer, real keyboard and corded mouse, they are not going anywhere anytime soon. That’s for sure.

    And regarding the: “The visionOS supports Environments, which you can use to explore dynamic landscapes like the surface of the moon, Yosemite national parks, Haleakal?, Joshua Tree, etc. The Digital Crown on the headset can be twisted to adjust the immersiveness of the environment.”

    …that could be a beautiful thing for people like me who don’t travel around much but love exploring places, and for elderly people, disabled/people who have a hard time moving around on their own and actually going to places over seas, so this sort of tech might be a wonderful thing to use for all sorts of people.

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