Whether you're an Apple fan or not, the Cupertino company's major WWDC 2023 showcase revealed a whole new product category in the form of its Vision Pro AR headset – and I think it's got some TV-beating features that make it a really compelling cinema-lover's dream machine.
Sure, popping some pricey goggles over your face isn't exactly the same as parking yourself on the couch and hitting a TV remote, but Apple's all-new product does bring with it some major selling points that I've broken down into a top three selection below.
1. The return of 3D
Hear me out here: I know TVs dropped 3D from their feature sets years ago but, actually, was that a premature move? You only need to look at record-breaking Avatar: Way of the Water to understand that 3D movies are still tempting people to the cinema.
What happens when said movies are released and you want to watch them again? Currently you have to forego the 3D aspect on almost any screen. Apple Vision Pro, however, fixes that issue as it can handle 3D right off the bat thanks to two individual screens delivering information to each eye.
So if you're a 3D film fan then I think Apple's just revealed the ultimate way in which to watch such content. And that'll expand beyond just Hollywood, too, I'm sure. As a side note there's also incorporated spatial audio from the built-in speakers, so you'll be able to add three-dimensional immersion to those three-dimensional images. It's starting to sound a bit '4D', isn't it?
2. 4K but portable
Here's one of the aspects that blew me away when Vision Pro was revealed: this isn't any run-of-the-mill product, Apple has put heaps of thought into the product's design and capabilities, and the resolution is one major take-away that, in many respects will better the best TVs on the market today.
That's for a number of reasons: firstly the Micro-OLED panel used has, as the name suggests, micro-sized pixels, which are one-sixteenth that of comparable pixels in, say, a 4K TV. Because they're smaller means it's possible to fit more in, in effect, and Vision Pro delivers greater-than-4K resolution per eye.
That's pretty astonishing: you can watch 4K content but wherever you are. The product's portable battery pack means whether you're on a train, plane, in the staff canteen at lunch, or wherever else, then you can get 4K delivered direct to your retinas. No TV can do that out in the middle of the woods where there's no power source, right?
3. Scalability in any space
Following on from that second point: you get 4K, but you get it at any scale you so wish. A few hand-gesture motions and you can stretch a virtual screen to be 65-inches, 85-inches, heck why not make it 110-inches or more, going above and beyond what the biggest TVs on the planet can deliver.
Seeing as some 97- or 110-inch TVs cost more than a small car, at upwards of £15,000 or so, that sort-of puts the Vision Pro's US asking price of $3,499 into a more friendly perspective (Australian pricing has not been announced at this stage). Yes, I know, it's still expensive – but for a device that enables you to watch 3D 4K content at giant scale anywhere you please, it sounds almost more valuable than what a TV can deliver upon.
So, there we have it: Apple Vision Pro is an unexpected cinema-lover's dream that sounds capable of immersing its viewers in quality that's well beyond other VR/AR headsets I've tried over the years. There's a bit of a wait until launch, though, as you won't be able to get your hands, eyes and ears on one before 2024...