Apple’s first headset Vision Pro released! Why Your Next iPhone Is a Cell Phone

Every once in a while, a revolutionary product appears.

In 2007, at the conference of the original iPhone, Jobs used this sentence as his opening remarks.

In 2023, at WWDC23, Jobs' successor Cook finally said the word "revolutionary product" again.

On the 40th anniversary of WWDC and the 16th year of the iPhone's release, we were fortunate enough to witness Apple's release of the epoch-making product Vision Pro at Apple Park in Cupertino, California.

I don't want to use the "iPhone moment" to describe this product's unveiling anymore. Years from now, faced with ubiquitous interfaces, I may recall those distant late nights working in front of multiple monitors.

At that time, smartphones were still computing centers, PCs were still the most important productivity tool for workers, and we were still interacting with devices through keyboard and mouse, screen and voice. At the beginning of the new world, many things have no names yet, but they have already brought tears to the eyes.

Sixteen years ago, the iPhone ushered us in the era of mobile computing. Today, we are entering the era of spatial computing.

He Zongcheng, chief content officer of Aifaner, has experienced Apple Vision Pro for the first time on the spot. For more experience details, please pay attention to our follow-up update today.

Vision Pro blasts the field and opens a new era

Apple has launched a new AR platform and a revolutionary product.

The long-rumored Vision Pro is finally here. The revelations that lasted for half a year made it less expected, but when it was unveiled, there was still a "wow" in the office at two o'clock in the morning.

The huge display structure, wide and long straps, and the heavy battery on the rear side have left us with a heavy impression of the all-in-one head-mounted display devices in recent years. Although the Vision Pro did not meet Cook's expected glasses shape, it is better than skiing. The body with a slightly larger mirror has surpassed many competing products.

Apple has adopted a lot of advanced design and materials to ensure the compactness of Vision Pro. Vision Pro’s lens and custom-made aluminum alloy frame are perfectly integrated to better fit the user’s face. The modular eye mask and headband design can meet the fine adjustments of different groups of people. The 3D woven headband comes in a variety of sizes, is more breathable and can even be used as a pillow.

If the appearance is the reason to make you fall in love at first sight, then the core configuration of Vision Pro is the commitment you must have. For headsets, we want to focus on display, performance, and optics.

Screen: a window to communicate with the outside world

This is the biggest difference between Vision Pro and other headsets. When you wear it to communicate with other people, your eyes will not be blocked by Vision Pro.

Through the face tracking camera and eye tracking camera inside the device, Vision Pro can accurately capture changes in facial expressions and display them on the external screen. Friends will also judge your status based on what is displayed on the screen.

When you are immersed in Vision Pro (such as watching a movie), the screen will hide the eyes and show the effect of halo transformation.

When you use the app, there will be color changes around the eyes, and you can also see the external environment at this time.

When someone comes to talk to you, the color change around the eyes will stop, letting the other person know that you have stopped operating and concentrate on communicating with him. In this way, using virtual reality glasses is no longer a "single game", this unique external screen is a bridge connecting virtual and reality.

Performance: The Power of the Mac Comes to Virtual Reality

Apple designed a unique dual-chip design for Vision Pro. The main chip is the familiar M2, which is responsible for visual algorithms and image information processing, allowing Vision Pro to have a smoother experience.

At the same time, in order to process the information of 12 cameras, 5 sensors and 6 microphones, Apple also brought a brand new R1 chip, so that the image can be synchronized to the Vision Pro screen within 12 milliseconds, almost without delay. It's like everything is happening right in front of you.

At the bottom of the Vision Pro, there is also a specially designed heat dissipation system that allows it to run smoothly while maintaining temperature and running quietly.

Optics: Integrated leading design

Vision Pro uses a custom-made micro OLED screen, and the resolution per eye exceeds that of a 4K TV. The custom-made three-lens structure makes Vision Pro clear enough at any angle, and all text is clear and sharp.

At the same time, Vision Pro provides a very wide range of vision correction, which is convenient for myopic users. Although Apple did not provide more information (such as viewing angle), it is likely to be the largest virtual reality headset available today.

Audio: Real Immersion, Immersive

In order to make the experience more immersive, Vision Pro is equipped with the most advanced spatial audio system, with a set of dual driver units on each side of the ear, so that the sound can be emitted from all directions and "fool your brain". Vision Pro also analyzes the acoustic properties of your room (like the physical materials) to match the audio to your room.

Especially when using FaceTime, the sound seems to come from the avatar window, making the experience more immersive.

External battery design

If you want to explore the secret behind the Vision Pro's lightness, the external battery must be the first-class work.

Vision Pro does not have a built-in battery, but has an external battery that can last for about 2 hours through magnetic attraction.

If you need to use it for a long time, you can also use it with an external power supply, but this reduces the mobility.

Apple said that Vision Pro can change communication, writing, work, entertainment and other scenarios. In Apple's presentation, it did describe a very bright future for us. Vision Pro is priced at $3,499 (about 24,860 yuan) and will be available next year. Will you start it?

The closest to natural interaction mode

The powerful hardware base enriches many incredible functions of Vision Pro.

The first is interaction. You don't need to use handles or other controllers. Eyes, hands and mouth are the best way to control Vision Pro.

When you want to choose an app, you only need to look at the app, and you can open the app with two taps of your fingers. The whole process is very natural.

To enter text, just speak.

Of course, you can also use Siri to perform operations such as opening apps.

Through these interactions, you can adjust the size and position of the application at will. For example, you can zoom in on a movie to 100 feet to fill the entire room, or pull the Facetime object in front of you to chat with you face to face.

By twisting the knob on the Vision Pro, you can adjust the "immersive environment" interface.

To put it simply, you can switch to a virtual environment like VR glasses. The difference is that the environment is very realistic and beautiful-the night view of the desert, the early morning of the forest, etc., in an immersive environment. operate.

All UIs run in space, as Apple said, this is a space computing device.

Introducing visionOS: Redefining the Virtual Reality Device Experience

Imagine an infinite iPad screen, you can browse the web with your eyes, you can pull distant apps to your front with your fingers, and you can instantly turn the living room into a meditation room or library. This is the experience that Vision Pro will bring to you.

The UI interface of visionOS is actually not subversive-it looks like iPadOS is hanging in front of us, but the iPad-like interface does make it easier for us to get started.

But the magic is that the app will appear directly in your room, and every element has a volume and shadow, and you can feel its size and position at any time. Just like moving the real thing.

Your familiar Safari, Keynote, Final Cut Pro and other applications can be found on Vision Pro.

You can browse the web in a jumbo-sized Safari, and FaceTime in life-size.

When watching a movie, it can directly help you change the entire environment and dim the surrounding environment. Of course, you can also directly change the environment to bring you a magnificent viewing experience, and any room can become your private theater.

You can also use a brand new way to watch sports games, not only watching 2D video live broadcast, but also watching 3D bird's eye view videos, as if you are at the scene.

As a new member of the Apple ecosystem, visionOS can naturally also be linked with other devices. You can turn the screen of Vision Pro into a Mac display, and work efficiently with multiple large screens in the virtual world.

Of course, you can use Bluetooth devices such as keyboards and mice to perform complex input operations like editing long texts.

Vision Pro is not only a headset, but also Apple's first 3D camera.

You can press the physical button on the Vision Pro to capture precious moments with your family in the form of 3D images and spatial audio.

When you watch these movies back in Vision Pro, it's like stepping back into the scene.

You can also use it to watch 3D movies such as Avatar 2, and Vision Pro will bring a 3D experience far beyond traditional flat devices.

If you receive a 3D model file, you can also pull it out and watch it directly – this is the advantage of a higher-dimensional device.

If you use it to look at the panoramic photos taken by the iPhone, it's like the real scene is spreading out in front of you.

VisionOS also has many exclusive applications on it, and you can even use Vision Pro to do Word, PPT, and immersive office. The whole world is your artboard, you can adjust their size according to your needs.

The most important thing is that the applications of iPhone and iPad can be used natively on Vision Pro, so you don't have to worry about the ecological shortage of Vision Pro with no applications available.

Vision Pro also supports Apple Arcade, and hundreds of games can be played directly on Vision Pro.

Apple revealed that visionOS will have a new AppStore, and there will be more applications developed specifically for Vision Pro in the future, such as 3D anatomical maps.

Who is the real flagship headset?

What is the industry level of Vision Pro, which will be officially released next year? We have sorted out the information of well-known VR/AR devices released in recent years, so that everyone can have an intuitive understanding of the configuration of Vision Pro.

▲ The parameters are subject to the official website of the product

Looking at the hardware configuration alone, Vision Pro is far superior to other devices in terms of performance, optics, and operation methods. Of course, the experience of the headset cannot only be based on hardware parameters. Software experience, wearing experience, and ecological linkage are equally important. The Meta Quest 3 released at the end of the year and other new products announced at the end of this year and early next year are the main competitors of Vision Pro.

Vision Pro: The product that will change the next decade

Apple's headsets have been in development for more than seven years, starting with Apple's appointment of Mike Rockwell as the head of the VR/AR team. Apple finally lifted the veil tonight, why is Vision Pro considered the most important product after Apple's iPhone?

Due to commercial considerations, Apple, the technology giant with the largest market value in the world, has to face the reality of the end of smartphone growth and has to start looking for the next growth engine.

At a time when hardware sales have encountered bottlenecks and the wave of large-scale models is sweeping, as a company that has pushed the entire technology industry forward several times, Apple is facing unprecedented challenges. The MR headset Vision Pro is its response, trying to serve Apple itself and The technology industry brings new possibilities.

After Jobs passed away in 2011, Apple released only one new device, the Apple Watch, and the general direction was also conceived and developed by Jobs and Jony Ive.

The Vision Pro is the first truly new large product from the Cook era . This may also be the last big move of Cook's Apple CEO career, wanting to re-prove Apple's unique creativity and ability to define computing platforms. Cook also mentioned in an interview not long ago:

I don't want to just throw other people's stuff together, because we want to control the main technology, which is the key to innovation.

▲ Cook (left) and Jobs

The changes that Vision Pro can bring will be no less than that of the iPhone.

  • User Experience Revolution: Redefine human-computer interaction, and achieve a more natural and smooth interaction method through eyes, gestures and voice.
  • Application transformation: Allow applications to fill the entire space, and fully utilize the visual and efficiency advantages brought by spatial computing.
  • Content consumption revolution: elevate the experience of movies, games and other content to a new level, and create a sense of immersion through spatial display.
  • Social revolution: Make long-distance communication more natural and vivid, and cues such as faces and gestures make communication richer.
  • Work changes: It is conducive to remote collaboration, applications can be shared in the same space, and it is easy to communicate with each other.
  • Design changes: Tailor-made components, modules, functions, and new materials for spatial computing.
  • Development changes: Spatial computing brings a new application development model, and developers need to rethink the interaction and workflow of Apps.
  • Business model change: Spatial computing may bring new business models, including content distribution, hardware implementation, etc.
  • Changes in social mode: With the promotion of spatial computing equipment, people's lifestyles and social modes may be changed.

Liu Xuewen, editor-in-chief of Aifaner, mentioned in the live broadcast of WWDC23:

Whether the industrial revolution brought by Apple is successful or not depends on the hardware level, the interactive innovation, and the ecology. From the graphical interface to the touch screen interaction, it corresponds to the two eras of personal computers and smart phones. Now Vision Pro and It combines a new intuitive interaction of gestures, eyeballs and voice, which undoubtedly heralds another era. Don't forget, there is another trend rushing forward, which is about to merge with Vision Pro.

The entire VR/AR industry is eager for Apple to find a real killer application scenario and ignite this market that has been tepid for many years. Jay Wright, CEO of Campfire 3D, a VR/AR collaboration platform, said:

Apple's headset is one of the industry's greatest events. Whether it's doing hardware or software, we're really excited about it.

Of course, at the price of the Vision Pro, it won't make it as ubiquitous as a smartphone anytime soon. Apple obviously also knows that this first-generation product is not aimed at ordinary consumers, and sales are not the main goal.

The real "iPhone moment" may not yet come. Looking back at the launch of Apple's revolutionary products, whether it is the personal computer Lisa equipped with a graphical user interface (GUI), or the first-generation iPhone that provides touch interaction, sales are not impressive.

They are more like Apple's switch tools, which suddenly change the direction of the train of the times at a certain point.

Tonight, the trajectory of personal computing has quietly changed.

Increased dimension of interaction, calm technology, the era of spatial computing is coming

Apple is a personal computing company. What this company has always done is not to produce hardware or software, but to constantly update the way humans and computers interact.

The evolution of human-computer interaction is essentially to expand the boundaries of information input and output .

Mac's graphical interface allows computer-computer interaction without limiting code input, which greatly reduces the threshold of use and broadens the use scenarios.

The multi-touch of the iPhone makes the interaction more natural, intuitive and efficient, making the smartphone a new generation of computing center.

The just-released Vision Pro also represents a new human-computer interaction model. It allows us to upgrade our interaction with computing devices from two-dimensional to three-dimensional. The increase in the breadth and dimension of information is completely different from the past .

Imagine that all interactions are not performed in a two-dimensional environment on the mobile phone/computer screen, but directly provide highly realistic three-dimensional information interaction. In "Avengers 4", Iron Man has a holographic workbench that reproduces a three-dimensional image of an object in this way.

The biggest upgrade of Vision Pro to user experience is the almost intuitive interaction and very little information loss .

From this, it can be predicted that the "killer" application scenarios that Apple Vision Pro will bring:

  • The remote office experience is completely indistinguishable from offline. You can clearly see every expression and body language of colleagues around you, and even collaborate in the same interface. A lot of work is no longer restricted by region;
  • Wearing a head-mounted display allows you to have multiple screen forms anytime, anywhere, without a keyboard and mouse, and integrates the terminal experience of mobile phones, tablets, and computers. Everyone is a digital nomad.
  • Automobiles, buildings, etc. require high computing power and high-precision industrial design, and they can be directly carried out in a three-dimensional environment, which doubles the efficiency.
  • Remote surgery, ultra-high resolution and low-latency gesture interaction, doctors can obtain real-time images and data through the headset, making remote clinical treatment more possible;
  • The immersive experience of "Ready Player One" will completely blur the boundaries between games and film and television, and cinemas may really be eliminated;
  • In the same way, you will also have a brand-new online shopping experience. You can try on clothes and choose furniture through a digital avatar that looks the same as you, and live delivery of goods will also be completely different.

This is also the future imagined by Microsoft, another technology giant that is using AIGC to reshape human-computer interaction:

Embed computing in the real world, and the real world in computing, bringing a real presence to any virtual space. The most important thing is that we can express our humanity and choose how we experience the world and who we want to interact with.

After many years of development, AR/VR still cannot become a mainstream human-computer interaction interface. There are two huge constraints:

  • The interaction is not convenient enough, and it cannot replace the keyboard, mouse and touch controls.
  • Lack of content ecology, no killer apps, and lack of motivation for developers.

These problems have a chance to be solved in the era of large models, and it may not be a coincidence that Apple Vision Pro is unveiled today.

The large model is allowing natural language interaction to change people's interaction habits. The multimodal model of deep learning can quickly and accurately understand the user's intention without describing the requirements in detail, even without text or language input, through the eyeballs of the MR head display Tracking and gesture recognition can automatically complete the operation.

The paradigm update of MR headsets in the era of large models will not only promote the development of the VR/AR industry, but also not only reshape the future lifestyle, but more importantly, will change the way we perceive the world.

Computing will become ubiquitous, instead of having a fixed screen, you will have countless interfaces to interact with the real world through the headset. These interfaces can be displayed only when you need them. For example, when you walk into a restaurant, the headset will automatically pop up the ordering interface.

This is a bit like the world after the technological explosion in "Three-Body Problem: Dark Forest". After Luo Ji woke up from "hibernation" for more than 100 years, he found that almost everything he could touch could be a screen. "This world seems to be built using monitors as bricks."

Dynamic information windows are everywhere, on walls, desktops, chairs, floors and ceilings, and even some small items, such as water glasses and napkin boxes on the dining table, have operation interfaces, scrolling text or dynamic image displays, It seems that the whole restaurant is a large computer display screen, showing a kind of gorgeousness that is numerous and shining.

This coincides with the era of spatial computing mentioned by Cook at WWDC, which is actually a continuation of the idea of ​​ubiquitous computing, which was first proposed in a paper published by computer scientist Mark Weiser in 1991 .

He describes a context-aware computing environment in which computing and communication technologies are ubiquitous and integrated into people's daily lives without being obtrusive. Computing devices automatically sense and respond to people's needs, and collaborate behind the scenes to provide an intelligent, natural and seamless user experience.

▲Mark Weiser

An interesting coincidence in the history of technology happened.

Jobs "borrowed" the graphical interface from Xerox – one of the most important innovations in the operating system, "great artists steal inspiration".

Mark Weiser, who proposed "pervasive computing", was working at the Xerox Parker Research Center at the time.

Decades later, human-computer interaction continues to evolve towards pervasive computing, and Apple's Vision Pro will become a new pervasive computing platform.

Xerox: It turns out that I am the source of changing the world.

From node to full-scale change may be long, or it may be in the blink of an eye. Rather than subverting, innovating, or reshaping these definitions, I would like to use the Calm Technology proposed by Mark Weiser to describe the future of Vision Pro.

The most far-reaching technologies are those that stay hidden. They are integrated into people's daily life like fibers, and they are inseparable until they are indistinguishable.

This article was co-authored by Li Chaofan, Huang Zhijian and Lu Xinyu

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