So today was Apple’s annual kickoff of WWDC, or World Wide Developers’ Conference. Folks far and wide look forward to the keynote that kicks things off, because folks far and wide, especially those in media, get wrapped up in the hype.
Admittedly, I blocked off two hours in my work calendar so I could tune in.
There’s a lot of good things coming, including incremental updates to MacOS, iOS, and iPadOS. The star of the show was a “One More Thing…” moment, and that’s the reveal of Apple Vision Pro.
I have an Oculus Quest, which was purchased at the beginning of the pandemic. It’s alright, but I don’t really use it that often and I don’t find the experience compelling.
I find Vision Pro to be absolutely compelling. Now, is it $3500 worth of compelling? I’m sure there’s lots of folks that will buy this at that price and I’m probably not among their number.
One of the things I really like about Vision Pro when compared to other VR headsets is that Vision Pro concentrates on AR, or augmented reality. Instead of taking the user completely out of the space and created a virtual space, a “Metaverse” if you will, Apple gives the user the opportunity to overlay the entire experience on the world around the user. You can tune the world out complete or you can navigate around the system, using your apps and playing games and watching cinematic experiences, while still being able to see everything going on around you.
A really interesting feature is that others can see you. An outfacing screen shows a representation of your eyes and your current expression. I like the thought, but there’s an uncanny valley / “something is off” about the eyes looking back at the world. Maybe it’s the obligatory single blink shown in all the marketing materials.
I really like where Apple is going with this type of experience versus all the other approaches we’ve seen thus far. As usual, Apple takes it in a direction that is as elegant as it can be, seamlessly integrates with their ecosystem, and seems to keep the user first and foremost in their design. Will it become the next iPhone? Hmmmm.
I look forward to a future generation of this technology when it’s only a pair of glasses I have to wear instead of goggles with a battery pack on my hip. But I really think this first generation experience is taking us in the direction of making Augmented Reality a thing.
I hope the glasses thing comes to fruition in my lifetime.