When I first watched the keynote last year I was a little cynical that a $3500 product would accelerate the promising world of AR / VR. After some debate with friends and colleagues and trawling through many hands-on first impressions, I now believe that Apple is the one company that can finally deliver on the promise of this personal computer revolution.
Apple have an incredible knack of waiting in the sidelines and then decimating the competition with products that not only are simple, easier to use, exude heightened perceived quality but also can be game changers of personal computing habits or use cases. Think of how the iPhone transformed the mobile market by getting rid of the keyboard. How AirPods pro brought incredible active noise cancellation and industry leading transparency mode to headphones. So far AR / VR products have been niche products either serving B2B applications or limited D2C gaming.
By positioning the Vision Pro as a spatial computing device Apple look set to revolutionise how we interact with computers both at work, home and in the outside world.
The launch timing of the Vision Pro is pertinent. Post COVID we are in a world where remote and hybrid working has become commonplace. The landscape of personal computing is on the verge of a transformative shift, and the catalyst for this change is the integration of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). As the world increasingly embraces remote working, the convergence of AR and VR technologies is set to revolutionise the way we interact with personal computers. There are several things that Apple have done with the Vision Pro that place it at the forefront of this new and exciting dawn.
Breaking the Screen Barrier
Traditional personal computing has been confined to the boundaries of screens, limiting our interaction with digital information. Apple’s Vision Pro is set to break this barrier by introducing immersive environments that extend beyond the confines of monitors.
Working remotely has traditionally meant either a home office (using a monitor) or laptop set up. This has been liberating for many but in countless industries a large monitor and peripherals are needed to execute certain work tasks. With Apple’s Vision Pro users can step into a virtual workspace, creating a more engaging and productive work environment.
Virtual Collaboration and Meetings
Remote working often faces challenges in replicating the collaborative atmosphere of physical offices. Instead of being confined to a desk, cafe or location the Vision Pro headset can teleport users into virtual worlds, combining both the real world with one created within the system. Instead of the ZOOM backgrounds that we’ve been used to, interaction between users will take on new depths and personalisation. Imagine having a virtual conference table where team members from around the world can join in, share documents, and collaborate in real-time, fostering a sense of presence and connection.
Enhanced Productivity through Spatial Computing:
Just as Apple introduced ‘Spatial Audio’ their Vision Pro product introduces the concept of spatial computing, enabling users to interact with digital content in three-dimensional space. This has profound implications for productivity in remote working scenarios. Visualising data, manipulating virtual objects, and organising tasks become more intuitive and efficient when leveraging the spatial capabilities of AR and VR interfaces.
Immersive Learning and Training
Training and onboarding employees remotely can be challenging, but AR and VR provide solutions by creating immersive learning experiences. Employees can undergo training sessions in virtual environments, gaining hands-on experience in a safe and controlled setting. This not only enhances the learning process but also reduces the need for physical presence, especially in industries with hands-on training requirements.
Well-being and Remote Office Environments
Remote working comes with its own set of well-being challenges, including isolation and the lack of a dedicated office environment. AR and VR can address these issues by creating customisable virtual office spaces. Employees can design their ideal workspace, complete with virtual monitors, ambient lighting, and collaborative tools, contributing to a healthier work-life balance. Apple have set the bar high with the fidelity of the Vision Pro display – early reviews tout the visuals are night and day compared to the competition.
The Real World, as we know it will never be the same
When I saw Casey Neistat’s rather incredible journey around New York using the Vision Pro I began to see how far Apple have come within days of launching the Vision Pro. Already people are using it outside, posting about it and challenging those around them to interact with them.
This is remarkable – it shows how powerful Apple’s brand equity is with early adopters. They will sell the Vision Pro for Apple by breaking the misconceptions that AR devices need to be tethered to controllers, that we cannot possibly use them in public and so on. Imagine a world in a few years from now after several iterations of this game changing device.
I see the future as a wearable that can last a full working day. Something that interacts with objects and people around you in the real world if you allow it. A device that saves you time, broadens your remote working horizons and also brings you closer to those around you or those far away. I can see Apple Vision Pro helping you with your shopping if you’ve forgotten groceries from your list, or being there to aid cooking. Helping others in health care situations. Providing comfort and joy when you’re missing those you can’t be with right now. The possibilities are endless. I can’t wait!