What is iPhone 15 Spatial Video and how will it work on the Vision Pro?

The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max will be able to shoot Spatial Video for Apple's VR headset. And that could be a really big deal

Apple Vision Pro
(Image credit: Apple)

One of the most tantalising bits of last night's Apple Event was the reveal of Spatial Video recording in the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. It might well be one of the killer apps for the Vision Pro headset, because it's the kind of thing that has the "wow" factor that hovering iPad apps don't deliver. 

On the iPhone 15 Pro, the new feature combines the main camera and the ultrawide camera to shoot the same thing from slightly different perspectives, which the phone can then turn into Spatial Video. Having it in the Pro, and likely seeing the same feature move to the standard iPhone in a year or two, is a really big deal because that means 3D video recording is in the phone you carry every day. Normally you'd need dedicated 3D recording kit. But now, 3D video is no harder than recording any other kind of video.

How does Spatial Audio work on the Apple Vision Pro?

Apple hasn't gone into any detail about the video recording here, so we don't have any tech specs. But Spatial Audio itself should work much like Spatial Audio does: it adjusts the media based on where you point your head, enabling to you to feel much more immersed in what you're listening to or watching. 

What we don't know is how it compares to the Immersive Video already in the Vision Pro, which is a 180-degree, three-dimensional experience. The narrow gap between the two cameras in the iPhone Pro and Pro Max means it's likely to deliver a much narrower range and much less depth, so it's probably going to be to Immersive Video what Live Photos are to actual videos: snack-sized versions of something bigger and more complex. I'd expect it to deliver more depth than 2D video but less than Immersive Video.

It's also unclear whether Apple will enable you to share Spatial Video with non-Apple VR headsets; so far the ability to share "with everyone" is suffixed with "who has a Vision Pro". I'd bet on no: If this feature is as good as it appears, Apple's not going to want you to experience it on rival devices.

We'll know more very soon: Spatial Audio will be made available to the iPhone Pro and Pro Max later this year, at which point we'll be able to get a much better picture of what it can deliver. 

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).