Apple Opts for AR over VR at WWDC

Ben Moss.
June 05, 2023

An Apple VR headset has been one of the most widely-rumored devices of the last few years, and it was finally settled as Apple unveiled its AR headset at WWDC today.

Apple Opts for AR over VR at WWDC.

Officially named Apple Vision Pro, Apple has spent years quietly developing the product, and the fact that we’re getting a preview now is a strong indication that Apple thinks both the product and the timing are right — ridiculous charging point on the Apple Mouse excluded, Apple rarely gets these things wrong.

There have been several false starts for VR/AR headsets. Google Glass was officially retired in March, and HTC’s Vive makes you look, and feel, like a Borg. Many people will see Apple’s entrance into the market as a saturation point. What is more significant is that thanks to Apple, Augmented Reality appears to have won out over nausea-inducing Virtual Reality.

With sales of VR/AR headsets declining by over 50% last year, the prospect of a new headset from Apple arriving in six months is unlikely to bolster sales of other brands.

Vision Pro will use eye-tracking, voice, and hand gestures for control. The display packs more pixels than a 4k TV. In addition, 12 different cameras will be able to record a real-life event, so you can relive it over and over again — cue thousands of Apple fans clinging desperately to their expensive new headsets as they pack onto thrill rides. And speaking of theme parks, Disney+ is onboard from day one, so you can watch the Mandalorian while you queue for Galaxy’s Edge — provided the queue doesn’t last longer than Vision Pro’s 2-hour battery life.

The last device to be launched that had this much potential to transform our world was the iPhone — which didn’t invent the mobile web, but certainly set the benchmark for our expectations.

Apple also announced iOS17, a new 15-inch MacBook Air, MacOS Sonoma, and a few other things. But frankly, if you can’t strap it to your head, no one’s interested.

The Vision Pro headset will cost $3.5k and will be available in Q1 2024.

Ben Moss

Ben Moss has designed and coded work for award-winning startups, and global names including IBM, UBS, and the FBI. When he’s not in front of a screen he’s probably out trail-running.

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