Having just sat through the full 126 minutes of Apple's WWDC event I was left speechless. Yes, the new MacBook Air 15-inch and M2 Ultra machines look amazing, and the updates to the iOS platforms push the boundaries of what these devices can do. But it was the highly anticipated headset that really did it.
Yes, I had a good idea of what was coming, and I knew whatever Apple did with it would have to be one step beyond, but this was extra special. Tim Cook even brought back the legendary 'one more thing' title for its launch, and it was truly deserved.
What I really like about the Apple Vision Pro is that it is a proper mixed-reality product. While other headsets, including the upcoming Meta Quest 3, feature a form of passthrough, they are virtual reality devices first. The Vision Pro is a mixed reality device first, that allows you to then filter out reality as needed, but most of the uses show have it blended with the real world.
The focus of the device is also very different from other headsets. The Vision Pro is more focused on productivity like video calls and workstations than gaming – perhaps unsurprisingly considering the price point is much higher than most gaming devices.
This feels more of a lifestyle tool, for those that travel and have busy work lives, allowing you to watch cinema-sized screens on the go, have professional-looking virtual meetings and access life-sized screens for your Mac like something out of The Minority Report.
While I'm not sure I'd wear the headset on a plane, I like the idea of having that virtual screen wherever you go and the ability to both take and watch 3D movies (and stills) is something no one else seems to have delved into.
What I like most about this new device is that it's about much more than just the Vision Pro. The operating system, Reality OS appears perfectly set up for a wealth of future glasses, particularly more AR-based frames that don't need a passthrough, but instead project the images onto a clear lens, like the Lumus glasses I tried recently.
It's believed Apple is working on a fully AR headset but is still some years off. Looking at the amount of processing and sensors needed on the Vision Pro, I can see why. That hasn't stopped Apple from moving forward with mixed reality and it won't stop people enjoying it.
The vision of AR headsets that Apple has delivered seems light years ahead of the competition and that's truly exciting for the future of the format. This is an early adopter's device but I can't wait to try it, though I'm a little worried it will ruin all other devices for me, including my Mac and TV.