APPLE Vision Pro is the iPhone maker’s next big thing – but what is it?
We reveal everything you need to know about the new gadget, including the Apple Vision Pro release date window, price, features, apps and more.
Behold, a “spatial computer”[/caption]
You don the sci-fi specs and bring the magic of mixed reality into your living room[/caption]
What is Apple Vision Pro?
Mixed reality means the headset allows you to see the real world, but also introduces (or fully immerses you in) computer-generated images.
The gadget was announced on June 5, 2023 at Apple’s annual WWDC event.
It’s the first headset ever created by Apple, and runs on new software called visionOS.
Apple Vision Pro release date
Apple used its June 2023 reveal to confirm that the Vision Pro release date would fall in early 2024.
That means you won’t have one in time for this Christmas.
This release was specifically linked to the United States – so it’s unclear when the rest of the world will get it.
Estimates suggest there will be an initial supply of one million Vision Pro units.
It’s hard to predict the exact release date, but it could be tied in with an Apple spring event.
Here are dates for this event in previous years:
- March 9, 2015 – Monday
- March 21, 2016 – Monday
- March 27, 2018 – Tuesday
- March 25, 2019 – Monday
- April 20, 2021 – Tuesday
- March 8, 2022 – Tuesday
So if Apple were to release the Vision Pro at this event, it’d most likely fall in March – on a Monday or Tuesday.
The first Monday or Tuesday seems to always be skipped – as does the third.
So that leaves us with:
- March 11, 2024 – Monday
- March 12, 2024 – Tuesday
- March 25, 2024 – Monday
- March 26, 2024 – Tuesday
Late March seems to be the more popular choice – and typically a Monday.
So The Sun’s best guess for an Apple Vision Pro release event would be Monday, March 25 in 2024.
Of course we won’t know for sure until much closer to the date, so take all guesses with a pinch of salt.
Apple Vision Pro price
Apple’s Vision Pro is a very high-end product: it’s about as hi-tech and pricy as consumer headsets come.
So it’s got a fittingly premium price tag of $3,499 – plus tax.
That matches Microsoft’s mixed reality rival: the $3,500 HoloLens 2.
But it’s significantly more money than most consumer headsets you’ll find on the market today.
For comparison, the high-end Meta Quest Pro costs $999.99, and the Meta Quest 3 will set you back $499.
You can still pick up a Meta Quest 2 for $299.99 – and it’s an impressive bit of kit.
Sony’s PlayStation VR2 will set you back around $549.99.
Apple Vision Pro hands-on, features and performance – what can it do?
I spent 20 minutes trying out the Apple Vision Pro at WWDC in June 2023 – read about it here.
For a start, it looks good. It has a stylish AirPods Max design that is distinctly Apple.
And it’s quite small for an ultra high-end mixed-reality headset too.
Even the battery pack that dangles down and fits in your back pocket looks like bona fide Apple gear.
It’s also very comfortable and easy to adjust. You sort of forget you’re wearing it for the most part, initially anyway.
Only towards the end of my demo did I start to remember: “Oh yes, it would be better if I didn’t have to have these sizeable goggles strapped to my face to experience this.”
I can’t say whether it’s truly comfortable until we can get our hands on a review unit and don a pair for a few hours in one sitting.
This isn’t a problem exclusive to Apple, and it’ll almost certainly be solved by the industry eventually.
It’s a portable gadget, and will shrink over time.
For now, the Vision Pro about as good as it gets for comfort – and that means it’s very impressive.
During my demo session, I was able to get set up and try out some apps.
You’re able to see the room you’re sitting in, but a row of apps float eerily in front of you.
I tried out the Photos app where I enjoyed stunning and sharp panoramas, as well as spatial images and videos captured on the headset – offering a very cool depth effect that makes you feel like you’re sitting in the room with a memory. There’s nothing else quite like it.
I also had a go at multi-tasking, placing several apps around me.
You could have Messages open and your MacBook screen, and a photo of your family floating in the corner too.
Another fun feature I tried was called Environments.
These are a series of virtual spaces built by Apple that let you detach from the real world and immerse yourself in a far-off location.
I found myself at Oregon’s Mount Hood, fading in and out of the stunning vista using the Digital Crown.
An Apple staffer in the room began speaking to me and their figure faded gently into the scene – before disappearing again. Spooky, but a great idea.
Next in the demo was a one-minute Mindfulness meditation session.
I thought it would be difficult to relax with the Apple gear on my head and other people in the room watching me, but it was surprisingly peaceful.
By the end of the minute, I was ready to nod off.
Then I tried my hand at a FaceTime with another person wearing a Vision Pro headset.
Thanks to face-tracking, I could see their facial movements display on a lifelike “Persona” of the other person.
So we were able to speak very effectively on FaceTime, despite neither of us seeing each other’s “true” face – which would obviously be obscured by the headset.
Surprisingly, one of the most impressive demo experiences was watching a bit of Avatar 2 in 3D in a cinema environment.
I’ve watched loads of media in VR before, but what makes Vision Pro special is the visual fidelity.
It’s exceptionally sharp and clear, and presents depth very effectively.
I felt like I had the best seats in a 3D cinema screening, with no popcorn-munchers or chatty teens to disturb me. No sticky floors either.
Building on this is Apple Immersive Video, a new type of format that lets you experience what it’s like to be somewhere very special.
The most impressive was a courtside view of a basketball game that would have been very costly if I’d paid for tickets.
I’m not a big sports guy, but I can see how this kind of experience would be brilliant for fans.
Lastly, I got to try an app called Encounter Dinosaurs.
It began with a butterfly landing on my real hand (very impressive), and ended with me hanging out with startlingly convincing dinosaurs.
They responded to my movements, and moved around, towards and away from me – even as I shifted my own position.
It filled me with a childlike delight that an iPhone is physically incapable of offering.
Plenty of what Apple Vision Pro is offering has been done before.
But Vision Pro does a lot of it better.
The visual quality is exceptional, possibly the best in the industry.
And it’s really easy to use – an Apple hallmark – with a finger-pinch gesture that takes seconds to master.
Anyone could get to grips with the simple UI. Even people who might struggle to use an iPhone could probably get on well with Vision Pro.
Apple Vision Pro apps list
We won’t know all of the apps that will be available on Vision Pro for many months.
And it’s likely that it’ll be impossible to list every single one – if enough developers get on board.
We do know that the following Apple apps will be available on Vision Pro:
- Apple Music
- App Store
- Apple TV
We’re also expecting to see some Apple Arcade games – but you’ll have to sign up for the usual monthly subscription to enjoy them.
Of course the Apple Vision Pro won’t be complete without third-party apps.
Developers around the world will be preparing their apps to be ready for Vision Pro on release day.
Several apps are already confirmed to be coming to Apple Vision Pro, including Disney, Zoom, and a suite of Microsoft apps like Word, Excel and Teams.
Switch off your TV and enjoy a virtual super-screen[/caption]
The headset looks decent enough, and it’s comfortable too[/caption]
This is everything you need to turn your face into an iPhone[/caption]