Pinch VR/AR specialist Jason on the new Apple Vision Pro and more news from WWDC23

Last week, on Monday, June 5th, Apple held its Worldwide Developers Conference 2023. This event is always highly anticipated by the developer and tech community. It had been 9 years since Apple announced a significant new product with the Apple Watch in September 2014. The expectation this time was for the announcement of an AR/VR headset, and that expectation was met with the dazzling Apple Vision Pro. It is a beautifully designed headset packed with the latest technology, cameras, and sensors. However, it comes with a hefty price tag of $3499 (just $0.70 per patent). Fortunately, you’ll have some time to save up as the headset will only be available in the US in early 2024.

Our own VR/AR specialist, Jason, is currently working on an indoor navigation project in collaboration with our partner DXRS. DXRS provides products and services for capturing, managing, and navigating indoor locations within mixed reality environments. In this project, we are working together on indoor navigation for locations such as hospitals and train stations to make them more accessible for visitors and employees.

What does Jason think of the Apple Vision Pro?

Hi Jason. What was your initial reaction when you saw the Vision Pro? “I felt like a kid in a toy store. This is something I’ve been waiting for a long time. Every year, there were speculations about an AR/VR headset, and now it’s finally been announced.”

What technical surprises did you discover? “I found the OLED display on the front particularly surprising. It can show the face perfectly in 3D from various angles. The screen resolution is also quite high, so I’m curious about the performance we can get out of this headset”.

What applications do you see mainly for the headset? “Indoor navigation will become possible with this headset. Due to its pricing, I see applications mainly for businesses, such as supporting employees or technicians with manuals and remote assistance from experts. For consumers, it would be really cool to have AI-generated real-time subtitles for deaf people or perhaps live translations when looking at texts. There are plenty of relevant applications to think of.”

What differences do you see compared to existing AR/VR headsets? “If I can believe the many previews, this headset is in a class of its own. I still need to see it for myself, but most previews mention that the passthrough, which allows you to quickly see what’s happening in the real world, is very sharp. The high resolution has also not been applied to a wearable headset before. However, I’ll have to test it myself to evaluate its performance. Maybe we can purchase one for Pinch?”

How do you hope the headset will further evolve? “I think, like all generation zero devices from Apple, this will be a large-scale test that marks the first step for developers and users on a journey towards exploring the full potential of AR/VR with Apple. Additionally, I hope that in a few years, there will be a consumer version that is not as expensive as this device. Something like an Apple Vision without the Pro for a few hundred euros.”

What else happened at WWDC23? On the hardware front, a few “new” Macs were announced (MacBook Air 15-inch, Mac Studio, Mac Pro), all powered by Apple’s M2 chip. Even the high-end Mac Pro will have this chip. This means that officially, all Macs now run on Apple’s proprietary chips. On the software side, new software versions were announced, including iOS 17. This version comes with several improvements, such as a better keyboard with AI-based autocorrection. “Contact Posters” were also introduced, allowing you to display an image (of yourself) on the recipient.

Another notable aspect was that after focusing on physical health, Apple is now also emphasizing monitoring the mental health of Apple users through an expansion of the Health app. Interesting! Smaller improvements for developers in Xcode 15 include “Auto Asset Generation,” which ensures easy access to assets in your code from anywhere, as it generates code that you can use. There are also improvements in the area of localization, making it easier to keep track of which parts still need to be localized.

We look forward to exploring the possibilities of all the news presented at WWDC2023 with our partners and clients in the coming period!

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