At the recent Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple Inc. unveiled a product that is sure to stir up the technology space: the Vision Pro. This futuristic device, representing Apple’s venture into the world of virtual reality, reflects the company’s unwavering commitment to innovation. Yet, as the Vision Pro prepares for its rollout, Apple is also diligently working on refining its existing product portfolio, including the next generation of iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Apple Watches.
Vision Pro – A Leap into the Future
The Vision Pro, with its advanced operating system, visionOS, represents Apple’s first foray into immersive technology. While the device’s hardware presented at the WWDC is largely complete, its software development is still a work in progress. Key features such as in-air typing and various user interface elements are yet to be perfected. Additionally, Apple is striving to adapt its core iPad apps for seamless integration with visionOS.
Strategically, Apple is now finalizing the Vision Pro’s rollout strategy, working on ensuring the device’s support for third-party apps, 3D video content, and the pioneering EyeSight feature. This feature aims to allow the headset to show the user’s eyes during usage, enhancing the sense of presence and interaction in virtual environments.
Comfort is another crucial aspect being fine-tuned. Feedback has shown that the device’s metal frame can feel heavy after extended use, prompting Apple to develop a second strap. However, the company is currently considering offering this additional strap as an accessory rather than including it with the device.
To facilitate a smooth transition from the store to the consumer’s home, Apple plans to create dedicated spaces within its retail outlets for Vision Pro demonstrations. These zones will also assist customers in selecting the correctly sized bands and light seal, an element crucial for preventing outside light from seeping into the headset. To streamline this process further, an iPhone app is being developed to scan customers’ faces and help determine the correct size for the light seal.
Currently slated for a release in early 2024, the Vision Pro is set to redefine how we interact with technology.
Beyond Vision Pro – The Road Ahead for Apple
Apple’s innovation doesn’t end with the Vision Pro. The tech behemoth is already turning gears on the next headset models, diverting resources from the original Vision Pro to the development of a second-generation high-end model and a more affordable variant. Some of the intriguing features anticipated for the second generation include the ability to display multiple Mac desktop screens wirelessly and support for multiple-person FaceTime conferences.
Parallel to these developments, Apple’s focus remains rooted in its existing product categories. A number of key updates are slated for release in the second half of this year and early 2024.
The iPhone 15 lineup is scheduled to launch this fall, accompanied by two new models of the Apple Watch Series 9 and an upgraded version of the Ultra. Looking further into the future, consumers can anticipate an M3 13-inch MacBook Pro, M3 Pro, and M3 Max 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros. Also on the cards are new iMac models with 24-inch screens and revamped iPad Pros featuring OLED screens. An upgraded iPad Air and a third-generation AirPods Pro are also in the pipeline. Furthermore, Apple is exploring the development of new smart home equipment, including smart displays and a more powerful Apple TV set-top box.
The VisionOS Software Development Kit
Apple’s software development efforts have also been notable. Following the Vision Pro’s debut, Apple has released the device’s first Software Development Kit (SDK). The developer community has been eagerly dissecting the kit and the associated visionOS simulator for Mac.
The Vision Pro’s home view offers an intuitive app launcher and a quick-access platform for FaceTime contacts. A choice of 13 different backgrounds aims to personalize the user interface further. Another noteworthy feature is the Guest Mode, a first for any Apple operating system. The inclusion of this feature could be a hint at Apple’s recognition of the Vision Pro as a device likely to be shared among multiple users.
However, several important iOS and iPadOS frameworks, including AppClips and WidgetKit, are not currently available to visionOS developers. Similarly, AirPlay is not supported on the device at present, potentially limiting the device’s ability to interact with other Apple products. These are areas that Apple will likely be improving on as the Vision Pro software evolves.
With this intensive pipeline, Apple is strategically aligning itself at the nexus of technology and user experience. The launch of the Vision Pro and the forthcoming product lineup reflects Apple’s vision to innovate relentlessly and offer superior user-centric products. As ever, the technology industry is watching closely to see what Apple will offer next.