Apple unveils visionOS, the operating system powering the Vision Pro headset

Jun 6, 2023, 5:31 AM UTC
3 mins read
Apple unveils visionOS, the operating system powering the Vision Pro headset
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple today unveiled visionOS, the operating system that will power its highly anticipated Vision Pro headset. This groundbreaking announcement was made at the Worldwide Developers Conference 2023, where Apple showcased its commitment to spatial computing.

At the core of visionOS is the ability to seamlessly merge digital elements with the real world. In an intriguing video presentation, Apple demonstrated how icons and windows can float above physical spaces, offering users a unique and immersive computing experience. The Vision Pro headset will enable users to interact with the digital world using their eyes, hands, and voice. For instance, users can effortlessly input text by looking at a search field and dictating their commands. The device also allows for intuitive gestures such as pinching fingers to select items or flicking them upwards to scroll through a window. Apple has introduced an innovative feature called “EyeSight,” which displays the user’s eyes on the outside of the headset.

While the Vision Pro headset is expected to enhance productivity, as demonstrated by its compatibility with Safari, Messages, and Apple Music, it is also poised to revolutionize entertainment. Users can magnify the screen size by simply pinching a corner of a window, as showcased with a clip from the popular series “Foundation.” Additionally, Apple’s Environments feature enables users to project their screen onto various backgrounds, including cinematic spaces or picturesque landscapes like Mt. Hood. The Vision Pro is even equipped to support 3D movie viewing, with Disney already developing content for the device. The availability of Disney Plus on the day of launch further solidifies Vision Pro’s potential as an immersive entertainment platform. Moreover, the Vision Pro will cater to gaming enthusiasts, offering support for game controllers and providing access to over 100 Apple Arcade titles from the outset.

The Vision Pro boasts a cutting-edge 3D camera, allowing users to capture “spatial” photos and videos, which can be viewed within the headset. Panorama photos take on a whole new dimension as they envelop the user’s field of vision. Apple has also incorporated spatial enhancements into FaceTime, introducing “Personas” that reflect users’ real-time facial and hand movements during video calls, thanks to advanced machine learning techniques.

visionOS will introduce a dedicated App Store exclusively for Vision Pro apps. Moreover, the headset will have the capability to run a vast array of existing iPhone and iPad apps, opening up a world of possibilities for developers. This launch signifies a significant milestone for both Apple and developers, as they race to leverage the potential of this new platform and create groundbreaking applications. Apple’s strong focus on augmented reality is evident, and this announcement may very well mark the long-awaited “iPhone moment” for this burgeoning technology.

However, it is important to note that previous augmented reality platforms have yet to reach critical mass. While the unveiling of visionOS showcases Apple’s commitment to innovation, only time will tell if it can avoid the fate of watchOS, which experienced a gradual decline in major app support over time. Nevertheless, Apple undoubtedly aspires for visionOS to become a dominant force akin to its iOS operating system. With the platform’s capabilities finally revealed, the industry eagerly anticipates the groundbreaking applications and experiences that developers will bring to the table. Patience will be key, though, as the Vision Pro headset is not expected to be available until early next year.

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