The renowned American tech company has finally unveiled its highly anticipated product – virtual and mixed reality glasses. These cutting-edge glasses aim to provide users with a three-dimensional immersive experience in the realms of entertainment and productivity. Equipped with cameras, the glasses allow the outside world to seamlessly merge with the virtual one.
During the annual WWDC conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook delivered a prerecorded opening presentation, teasing the audience with the words they had longed to hear: “One more thing.” The event showcased a range of new computers, features for phones, tablets, handsets, and watches, but anticipation was high for the unveiling of something entirely new.
Steve Jobs, the legendary co-founder and visionary of Apple, was renowned for introducing revolutionary products. However, his successor, Tim Cook, had yet to unveil a truly groundbreaking innovation. That changed on this day, as Apple boldly ventured into an entirely new category.
Alan Dye, Apple’s vice president of user interface, aptly described the glasses as the first Apple product that users look through rather than at. Traditional virtual reality control methods involve various controllers, gloves, or head movements. However, Apple’s perfectionist approach led them to a familiar solution: human fingers. The camera in the glasses detects the touch of two fingers (thumb and forefinger), while internal sensors track the user’s movements. The result is an incredibly natural control system through gestures, eye gaze, and potentially even voice dictation using advanced recognition technology.
With these glasses, the user can transform their surroundings, such as their living room, into a dynamic workspace or entertainment hub. Apps can be placed anywhere in the virtual environment, effectively enveloping the user with multiple screens. Alan Dye emphasized the revolutionary aspect of the fully three-dimensional control interface, with controls even casting shadows in space to provide users with a spatial awareness.
The Vision Pro glasses seamlessly synchronize with an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, and users can utilize a physical keyboard instead of relying solely on a virtual one. Apple’s expertise in delivering fast responses is ensured by the combination of the “old familiar” Apple M2 chip and the new R1 chip, which enables rapid blending of images from the six onboard cameras. The delay is imperceptible, clocking in at less than 12 milliseconds.
One of the significant challenges in virtual and mixed reality glasses is striking a balance between immersing the wearer in the virtual world while allowing them to interact with their physical surroundings safely. Apple claims to have tackled this challenge through an elegant yet technically complex solution – a signal on the surface of the glasses that creates the illusion of transparency when the glasses are not projecting. This allows users to become fully immersed in a virtual landscape, but also enables them to see and react to their immediate surroundings, such as the food on a table.
In terms of entertainment, Apple has partnered with entertainment giant Disney, offering access to movies available through Apple TV and a selection of 3D movies. While details about gaming are still scarce, Apple’s Arcade platform will support virtual reality experiences and allow the use of traditional game controllers.
Additionally, the glasses boast the ability to capture three-dimensional photos. With a shutter release button on the goggles, users can trigger their external display to flash, indicating to those around them that a photo or video is being taken.
Unsurprisingly, Apple’s “see-through” glasses come with a hefty price tag of $3,499. Although comparable to the cost of large TVs, which can be enjoyed by multiple viewers simultaneously, the individual nature of these glasses raises the price considerably. For instance, a family of four seeking a three-dimensional experience would need to invest over CZK 300,000 in these new displays.
Tim Cook concluded his opening presentation by emphasizing that this groundbreaking platform offers a fresh experience for Apple users and opens new possibilities