Release Date, Price, Specs, Apps, and More for Apple Vision Pro

9 months ago

The Apple Vision Pro is Everything We Know So Far

The first mixed reality headset from Apple has finally arrived, but it's not cheap

Our hands-on review of the Apple Vision Pro shows you our first impressions of Apple's first mixed reality headset.

The headset looks like one of the best VR headsets on the market, but it is not designed to keep you immersed in a virtual world when we say mixed reality. With EyeSight and Digital Persona, you're not only still in touch with the physical world, but you're also able to engage with it as well.

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There is, however, a price tag associated with these groundbreaking features. The Apple Vision Pro is the most expensive mainstream headset — virtual reality or mixed reality — at $3,499, and it won't be available until 2024, so you'll have to wait a while to get your hands on it.

The Apple Vision Pro is everything we know so far.

What you need to know about Apple Vision Pro

Starting in early 2024, the U.S. price will be $3,499. Other countries will follow.

You'll need custom ZEISS inserts if you wear glasses, since the headset has two 4K displays.

EyeSight uses a front display to show others that you are engaged with them or fully immersed in the headset.

With visionOS, Vision Pro users will be able to enjoy 3D experiences native to the device. iOS and iPadOS apps will also be available in a Vision Pro App Store.

A crown on top of the headset allows you to control your level of immersion in the headset, from augmented reality to virtual reality.

As well as voice commands, the headset uses eye and hand tracking.

With EyeSight, you can take spatial photos and videos with the touch of a button.

Vision Pro is an official partner of Disney, which will create exclusive experiences for the headset, including Disney World and Marvel games.

Price of Apple Vision Pro

The Vision Pro will cost $3,499 at launch, as announced by Apple at its WWDC keynote. The headset will initially be available in the U.S. only, so we do not have pricing for other countries.

One leaker claims Apple only spends $1,509 on each headset. That would be an impressive profit margin.

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While the Vision Pro headset cannot be pre-ordered right now, you can sign up for a notification from Apple so you will be notified when the headset becomes available to pre-order. As a result of its high price tag (see below), the Vision Pro isn't for everyone. According to reports, Apple is working on a cheaper Vision Pro for 2025 that will remove some of its more premium features.

This is good news, because the current version of the Vision Pro might have serious supply chain constraints. According to a rumor, Sony, which makes the headset's Micro OLED displays, only produces 100,000 to 200,000 displays per quarter. Due to the premium displays Apple chose, it is possible to manufacture only 400,000 headsets per year.

It seems this estimate of 400,000 could be right on the money. According to a report from the Financial Times, Apple's initial sales target of 1 million units for the first year has been revised to 400,000 units. According to some analysts, Apple would be unable to reach a 20 million user install base in five years.

Read our interview with three analysts who tried the Vision Pro to find out if it will fly with consumers or flop.

Release date for Apple Vision Pro

Although Apple Vision Pro does not have an official release date, it does have a release window. According to Apple, the headset will be available in early 2024, in line with a rumor that the headset might be delayed until next year just before launch.

Initially, Vision Pro will only be available to U.S. customers, but other countries are expected to receive it not long afterward.

Design for Apple Vision Pro

In terms of appearance, the Apple Vision Pro doesn't look much different from a typical VR headset or even a mixed reality device like the Meta Quest Pro.

In addition, the Vision Pro uses EyeSight, a feature that shows others around you your eyes so they feel as if they are interacting with you naturally.

The glass pane of the Vision Pro also acts as a lens for the extensive camera array. The Vision Pro includes 12 cameras and six microphones so that users don't need controllers to control the device. Using eye tracking, hand gestures, and voice commands, you will be able to control the device.

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Besides the front display, Apple's mixed reality headset boasts a frame made of aluminum alloy that is curved to fit your face. Apple takes its focus on custom fit even further by using a modular design to ensure that the Light Seal (what Meta calls a facial interface) fits your face perfectly. For improved comfort while using the Vision Pro, the Light Seal is available in various shapes and sizes and is made of a soft fabric.

The Head Band also continues Apple's emphasis on fit with a variety of sizes. It is made of a 3D knitted fabric and attaches via a simple locking mechanism on the front. You'll find speakers around here, which Apple calls "audio pods." These pods provide Personalized Spatial Audio that's meant to be as immersive as possible.

Two buttons are on the top of the Vision Pro headset. One is an action button that allows you to take spatial photos and videos. The front display will signal that a photo or video is being taken with EyeSight for those who are concerned about being unwittingly photographed. Another button is a crown, similar to the Apple Watch, which lets you adjust the level of immersion you experience while wearing the headset.

We know that this crown will be used to engage the Vision Pro's Cinema Environments. As you watch movies on the Vision Pro's simulated 100-foot screen, these 13 locations will become your background.

Finally, the Apple Vision Pro needs an external battery to function without being plugged in. The battery has a two-hour lifespan and connects through a woven cable. An adapter reportedly spotted on the headset during an WWDC video appears to be a USB-C connection. Whether this or any other adapter will be available to all users remains uncertain at this time.

Display for Apple Vision Pro

The Apple Vision Pro displays are leaps and bounds ahead of anything Meta offers so far. When Apple reveals its official spec sheet following WWDC, it is estimated that these 4K displays will have a display resolution of 3800 x 3000 per eye.

The displays are the size of postage stamps, producing incredible pixel density. This is one of the big reasons why the Apple Vision Pro beats the Meta Quest Pro, at least on paper, because they have 23 million pixels combined. This is 64 times more pixels than an iPhone.

Check out our Micro OLED explainer to learn how Micro OLED works, its advantages and disadvantages, and why it's perfect for VR headsets.

Although it's unclear if the twin displays support HDR content in formats such as HDR10 or Dolby Vision, Apple says they have "wide color and high dynamic range." With Apple's new R1 chip, content will be delivered to those screens in just 12ms. According to Apple, 2D content can be refreshed at 90Hz at a maximum of 96Hz if created at 24 frames per second.

In case you wear glasses, we're sorry. Due to its design, the Apple Vision Pro will not work with glasses. Instead, Apple has partnered with ZEISS to develop optical inserts that replace your glasses while using the headset. Although Apple says they will ensure the headset works as intended, it is unclear how much these inserts will cost or whether they will affect the visual fidelity of the headset.

It appears that the Apple Vision Pro inserts will be available at launch with the Vision Pro headset, as ZEISS has launched its own site for them.

Apps and visionOS for Apple Vision Pro

At WWDC, Apple not only introduced the Vision Pro, but also visionOS, a brand new operating system specifically designed to run on the Vision Pro. Developers can now develop apps natively for the mixed reality headset, as well as some new features.

The standout feature of the Vision Pro headset is EyeSight. With it, one can choose to either display their eyes to the external world or hide them away entirely while immersed in the headset. Additionally, if immersed in an application or workflow, EyeSight will gradually transition you back into reality when someone strides into your direct view. The person will then be visible on the twin 4K displays while also allowing your eyes to reappear on the front of the Vision Pro.

An alleged leak from an unannounced Apple TV Plus series shows off what looks like a 180-degree camera. As such, it's been posited that Apple could be making shows or movies that are designed for the Vision Pro and to make use of the wide field of vision the headset can provide.

Although you can turn the crown on the top of the headset to immerse yourself more in the virtual world, the Vision Pro is all about staying in the physical space as much as possible. In addition to coexisting with your physical environment, visionOS creates a 3D user interface that responds to natural light and casts shadows and allows users to expand and move apps simply by moving their hands.

As part of Vision Pro's "Visual Search" feature, users will be able to view text about objects in the real world and get information about them. This allows them to copy and paste text into a variety of apps, as well as translate it into 17 different languages from there.

With regards to apps, Apple Vision Pro should come with a surprising amount. While native visionOS apps are still relatively few and far between, the mixed reality headset works with iOS and iPad OS apps as well to provide you with a ton of options all in one App Store.

These apps can be viewed in a massive display right in front of you or in a panoramic view on the Vision Pro, according to Apple. The Mindfulness app takes the meditative experience to a whole room. In addition, Apple TV Plus and Disney Plus offer theatre-sized screens for watching movies and shows.

In spite of the fact that the Vision Pro isn't designed to play the best VR games, you can still play games with it. Over 100 games, including NBA 2K, will be available on day one on Apple Arcade. Since the Vision Pro does not come with a first-party controller, you can even use a Bluetooth controller.

On the Vision Pro, you will find the same productivity apps you use on your other Apple devices. Safari can be viewed on a massive display, and you can expand it to view all your open tabs at once. With FaceTime, you can move people's video feeds to one side while keeping other apps in view.

In FaceTime, you won't be visible. At least, not the real you. Instead, Apple Vision Pro will create a Digital Persona that simulates your face and hand movements.

A Mac's display can be expanded to a large 4K display with a compatible machine. This wirelessly beams the Mac's display to your headset, so you can view things in the same view as other visionOS apps.

Due to this, the Vision Pro supports Bluetooth devices like the Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad, but also comes with onboard productivity tools such as voice and sight.

There's also a visionOS feature that lets you work or relax while on a plane. This mode is entirely dedicated to using the Vision Pro on a plane. It was discovered in the visionOS developer beta. To combat the fact that you're in a cramped space, it reduces or disables many of the headset's awareness features.

In addition to Travel Mode, the Vision Pro will also have a Guest Mode that allows you to lend the headset to friends and family while securing some personal information.

At least for this generation of the Apple Vision Pro, there are several features we will not see. The Vision Pro lacks features such as multiple Mac desktops, FaceTime with a variety of Digital Personas, and access to Apple Fitness Plus, which will still be included in the second-generation headset.

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Supernova Technologies managed to get visionOS on a Meta Quest Pro and it's a bit of a shock to see the new OS in action.

The apps won't work, and you'll need some tech savvy to even run this visual demo on your own Quest Pro, so it isn't the most practical thing to try out.

Rumored specs for Apple's VR/AR mixed reality headset

Apple confirmed some key details about the Apple Vision Pro, but we don't know its full specs yet.

As a start, let's look at the headset from the outside. The headset has 12 cameras, six microphones and five sensors to allow you to control the device with voice commands, eye tracking, and hand tracking. The Vision Pro has a ring of LED lights inside the headset that project invisible patterns onto your eyes to assist with eye-tracking. The LED lights also power Optic ID, the Vision Pro's version of Face ID.

Under the hood, the Vision Pro is powered entirely by Apple silicon. An M2 chip takes care of most of the heavy lifting, but a new R1 chip handles sensor inputs, ensuring the display doesn't lag behind. A lot of the best TVs have input lag of just around 12ms, according to Apple's R1 chip.

Finally, Apple promises spatial audio thanks to a speaker located on either side of the headset, near where it connects with your Head Band. "The most advanced Spatial Audio system ever," Apple calls these speakers — or audio pods — with individually amplified drivers that can be fine-tuned to deliver Personalized Spatial Audio based on your ears and head.

This isn't just about Apple Vision Pro's specs. In order to integrate the Vision Pro into Apple's larger ecosystem of devices, Apple may upgrade the iPhone 15's ultrawide-band processor to a 7nm chip that will be more power efficient when combined with the Vision Pro.

Battery for Apple Vision Pro

While headsets such as the Meta Quest 3 can be used standalone, the Vision Pro requires a PC to work, which is perhaps the biggest knock against it.

Now thankfully, you have options. Option one, you can plug in the headset and use the Vision Pro all day long. Apple didn't say if it worked if the headset was plugged into a Mac or MacBook, so it's assumed you'll need to plug it straight into a wall socket.

Apple has designed an external battery pack that connects via a woven cable around the temple of the headset if that doesn't appeal to you.

The good news? The battery is slim enough to fit in your pocket, at least according to Apple. The bad news? It only lasts for two hours and appears to be a proprietary charger. Oh, and it may need to be purchased separately, which would raise the price of the Apple Vision Pro to $3,499.

Controls for Apple Vision Pro

There are some things about Apple's first headset that are lamer, but the controls aren't. Because Apple ditches controllers entirely with the Apple Vision Pro, you can control the device with just your eyes, hands and voice with the headset's many sensors and cameras.

The intuitive controls are designed to feel natural as well. The display can be shifted by simply turning your head, or a single tap will simulate a mouse click. When making gestures, you can even keep your hands in a natural position rather than holding them in front of you. By simply looking at a search bar and speaking, you can even type into it.

As well as these new controls, the mixed reality headset also has two familiar features. The first is Siri, Apple's famous voice assistant, is back with the headset. The second is that it works with a wide range of Bluetooth devices. In addition to supporting controllers like the PS5 DualSense, it also supports the Apple Magic Keyboard, Mouse and Trackpad if you don't want to rely on hand gestures or a virtual keyboard.

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Comparison of Apple Vision Pro and Apple Glass

Apple's VR/AR mixed reality headset, now known as the Apple Vision Pro, was reportedly intended to be a precursor to Apple Glass.

Having seen the Vision Pro, it is clear that Apple wanted a mixed reality device rather than a virtual reality headset. With features such as EyeSight that allow others to see your eyes while you're using the Vision Pro, it feels like a copycat of AR glasses at times.

According to everything we've heard, Apple wants Apple Glass to look and act like a lightweight pair of glasses rather than adopting the Vision Pro approach. In other words, glasses that project information, presumably imagery, onto the lenses would be Apple Glasses. However, Apple has reportedly delayed the project due to technical difficulties, so it may not arrive for some time.

You still don't know what mixed reality, augmented reality, and virtual reality are? Here is an explainer that explains what mixed reality is and what Microsoft, Meta, and Apple plan to do with it.

Meta Quest 3 vs Apple Vision Pro

Apple and Meta have both come out with headsets touting mixed reality, and they couldn't be more different. While the Vision Pro is seven times as expensive as the Quest 3, there's much more than just a price tag separating them. The headsets approach this new technology in diverse ways, making it difficult to determine which one would benefit you most. To make your decision easier, be sure to check out our Apple Vision Pro versus Meta Quest 3 comparison.

Comparison of Apple Vision Pro and Meta Quest Pro

Besides the Meta Quest 3, Apple also faces the Meta Quest Pro, which is a mixed reality headset with a more professional user base that will definitely be interested in Apple Vision Pro.

In our testing, we found seven ways Apple Vision Pro beats Meta Quest Pro, from superior specs to a better software ecosystem for productivity.

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