Apple Debuts $3,500 Vision Pro VR Headset

Apple’s new mixed reality headset is being billed as “the most advanced personal electronics device ever.”

Apple’s annual World Wide Developer Conference was dominated by an announcement of the new Apple Vision Pro, an augmented reality headset that represents the tech giant’s bid to revolutionize both AR technology and the future of personal electronic devices. 

The “mixed reality” headset— a virtual and mixed reality gadget that has been trumpeted as “the most advanced personal electronics device ever”— is designed to create an immersive experience for the wearer, populating the world around them with familiar Apple experiences like iMessage, Safari, FaceTime and AppleTV+, and that’s just the beginning.

It seems that anything possible on a MacBook, iPhone or iPad can be overlaid into physical space using the extensive sensor array of the Vision Pro, keeping the user aware of their surroundings but fully immersed in whatever they’re doing, whether that be watching sports, dashing off emails or meditating. If another person enters the room, the headset allows for pass-through for a more normal interaction that still enables eye contact. 

There’s also the possibility of using the Vision Pro headset’s sensor array to capture full experiences and environments, opening up a future where social media can include actual experiential content, where pictures and videos will be replaced by stepping into someone else’s shoes and being in the middle of what’s happening around them. 

The product is truly a culmination of every aspect of Apple’s business. The Vision Pro required 5,000 new patents to be filed but the core three elements can be seen in the devices they already make.

The Apple Silicon in their computers are driving the computing power here. The portable aspects and intense sensor array required here come directly from iPhone. The integrated spatial audio seems borrowed from AirPods and HomePods. The textile elements of the headband are drawn from the AirPod Pros and the Apple Watch bands. The Vision Pro has obviously been in the works for quite some time. 

Scheduled to arrive early next year, there’s still so much to learn about the Vision Pro and Apple’s intentions of how it will change our daily lives. The productivity of using it as a virtual office is clear. The partnership with Disney that was also announced today clearly informs an entertainment component that is destined to be more significant than any gimmick like 3D. 

What may be most interesting is the uses that aren’t planned. Appropriately, the Vision Pro was announced at a conference aimed at developers and only time will tell what the people creating apps for the iPhone will be able to do with this new platform. 

No preorders are available yet, but the headset will carry a decidedly steep $3,499 price tag. Apple ended their announcement by saying that the Vision Pro is a product that can replace a laptop, iPhone, tablet, headphones and TV set as a means of justifying the price.

The truth of the matter is that the price is justified because early adopters want in on the future and they want it now. Whether or not the Vision Pro will provide the future Apple is promising remains to be seen, but I sure wouldn’t bet against them.