I'm channeling Crocodile Dundee here: that's not an airplane mode... THIS is an airplane mode! Apple has released developer tools for its Vision Pro AR/VR headset, and there's a new Travel Mode designed specifically for in-flight use - although given that the Vision Pro battery life is reportedly around two hours, you'll need to pack an extra battery if you're travelling long haul.
The Mac experts at MacRumors.com have gone into the first developer beta for visionOS, the operating system that the Vision Pro uses, and they found multiple text strings that make it pretty clear what Apple’s thinking about in-flight operation.
The text in the visionOS beta includes the following prompts:
- Are you on an airplane?
- If you're on an airplane, you'll need to keep Travel Mode on to continue using your Apple Vision Pro.
- Remain stationary in Travel Mode.
- Remain stationary while this mode turns off.
- Some awareness features will be off.
- The current fit may reduce gaze accuracy.
- Turn on Travel Mode when you're on an airplane to continue using your Apple Vision Pro.
- Your representation is unavailable while Travel Mode is on.
What can we learn from Vision Pro's Travel Mode text?
Looking at these prompts, it’s possible to draw some informed conclusions. For example, “some awareness features will be off” makes sense because the 3D awareness of things and movement around you that’s useful in a large room or on the street isn’t so good when you’re sandwiched between two burly businessmen in cattle class.
Other prompts are just about being a good traveller, so “remain stationary in Travel Mode” is a nice way of saying “don’t play SuperHOT and start punching your fellow passengers”.
As ever with leaks and beta software, there’s no guarantee that Travel Mode will make it into the final release of visionOS. But, given that the high-flying, early-adopting people likely to buy into Vision Pro at its three-and-a-half grand price tag are likely to be frequent fliers too, I’ll be surprised if Apple drops it.
For Vision Pro wearers at least, Airplane Mode is going to get a whole new meaning.