Digitalisation & Disruption

Apple’s Vision has enormous potential

The long-awaited Vision Pro has been available in Apple Stores since the beginning of February. The device sets new standards in the mixed reality landscape. Much more decisive than this interim step in hardware, however, is the new platform for app development.

Mock-up of Apple's Vision Pro device
4 minutes to read

The entire Spatial Computing team at Zühlke listened to the words of Tim Cook with great excitement as he unveiled the Vision platform at WWDC in summer 2023. The enthusiasm was huge, expectations high. If Apple, with its high-quality aspirations, is entering the spatial computing market, it has to be ground-breaking.

MacBook in a ski goggle format

Vision Pro offers some innovations that spatial computing has never seen before. These include the front display, which enables control via eye contact, and the crown wheel, which can be used to select the immersion level. Dispensing with a controller entirely is also a bold step and certainly pioneering. Further innovations include the OpticID, which authenticates the user by scanning the iris, the spatial video format, and the ability to control the focus using the eyes.

In technical terms, the Vision Pro is a fully equipped MacBook Pro in a ski goggle format with an M2 processor, the specially developed Reality Processor (R1), two 4K displays, and countless sensors. The battery pack has been removed to reduce weight and heat.

Vision Pro paves the way for the Vision platform 

At the moment, the focus is very much on Vision Pro as a device. For Apple, though, it’s not about the device itself, but rather the Vision platform, which is strategically and cleverly positioned for the spatial computing age. 

With Vision Pro, Apple is bringing a concept device to market as early as possible, not only awakening desire but also helping expand the spatial computing market. It tells the customer, ‘this is how we see the future of digital interactions.’ 

At the same time, it offers innovative companies a platform for bringing their ideas to life and finding the killer applications which will also help Apple refine and enhance the platform. Much like the iPad, which came to the market in 2010 at a time when hardly anyone really understood what a tablet could be used for. 

The form factor will change towards lightweight smart glasses

The form factor of the Vision Pro, in other words its weight, size and price, should be in the background when we think about innovation in spatial computing. In just a few years, technological progress will allow for much lighter glasses, that can be worn the whole day, to be brought onto the market. 

For that to happen, though, computing power must be outsourced to the smartphone or straight into the cloud, so that only low-latency videos are streamed to the glasses. The glasses must weigh much less than 100 g if they are to be worn for the whole day.  

Great potential lies in augmented reality

Hype about the metaverse has brought virtual reality – immersion in digital worlds – very much into the foreground. It continues to be relevant for entertainment, training, and remote collaboration. 

There is enormous potential, however, in enriching our everyday life with digital content, whether in sport, shopping, work, or while getting around town. This is where augmented reality, in which fibre-optic technology is used to project images through transparent lenses onto the inside of the eye, really comes into its own. Virtually nothing is visible from the outside. This form factor would probably be called Vision Air.  

Full App Store for the next generation of glasses

Battery life, weight, and the rather odd-looking Personas of Vision Pro illustrate that we are still at the start of the journey. For Apple it was not about bringing a perfect device onto the market, but rather awakening a need to see what the digital interaction of the future could look like and offering developers a platform for developing killer apps. Lighter and cheaper devices will follow and when the technology is ready for the masses, the App Store will be filled.

Apple held off entering the spatial computing market until the technology was just good enough to create an experience that met its aspirations. At the moment, this requires a lot of computing power and hardware for 3,500 US dollars. The goal was never to bring the Vision Pro to the masses, but rather inaugurate the spatial computing age. 

Early adopters, innovative companies, and developers will examine the concept device very closely and prepare the market and the App Store. Once the technology is mature enough for mass use in a few years, the store will be filled and the applications ready.

Want to learn more about Digital Experience at Zühlke?
Contact person for Switzerland

Christian Moser

Chief of Digital Experience & Partner

Christian Moser joined Zühlke in 2005 and is Chief of Digital Experience & Partner. He is a technology enthusiast and a passionate designer. Technology trends are fascinating him. They have the power to transform our lives and society. 

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