(San Francisco) Apple’s American stores will begin selling the Vision Pro on Friday, the tech giant’s US$3,499 mixed reality headset (augmented and virtual), its first major new product since the arrival of the connected watch Apple Watch nine years ago.
“The Vision Pro is a revolutionary device,” assured Tim Cook on Thursday, “years ahead” of its competitors.
However, augmented reality glasses and virtual or mixed reality headsets are not new.
Meta (Facebook, Instagram), Apple’s neighbor in Silicon Valley, has largely contributed to the emergence of this market with its Quest headsets and Ray-Ban glasses, and also the idea that the future of the Internet would be in a sort of “metaverse”, where our physical and digital environments mix.
But companies, experts and individuals who believe in this future have been impatiently awaiting Apple’s first device. Because the apple brand has a reputation for only launching ultra-sophisticated products, which set the “la” for the rest of the industry.
Early reviews, however, are mixed, especially given the prohibitive price.
It’s an “impressive product that took many years of work and billions of dollars of investment,” but “even after trying it, I still have no idea who is going to use it and for what purpose,” wrote the New York Times.
Testers say they are fascinated by the image quality and ease of use: just stare at an application and tap your fingers to open or close it.
But they are annoyed that the battery is bulky and make fun of the “personas”, these strange photorealistic avatars which represent users during videoconferences.
“The headset has the typical characteristics of a first generation product: it is heavy, the battery runs out quickly and ouch the personas…” summarized Joanna Stern, journalist for Wall Street Journal.
“But without these flaws, we can imagine that it will be more pleasant to wear this headset than to hold a phone in front of your face,” she said. “And for working and watching movies, it’s really not bad.” »
As part of a vast promotional campaign, Apple boss Tim Cook appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair on Thursday, wearing the Vision Pro. His initial presentation in June sparked criticism because he unveiled the device without ever trying it.
The iPhone maker presents the headset as its first foray into the field of “spatial computing.”
It allows you to have virtual screens of different sizes around you, to work, chat with friends or watch videos.
“Just the beginning”
Criticized for the lack of applications available on the Vision Pro – their number was recently estimated at 150 – Apple has stepped up and announced on Thursday that it now had more than 600.
“These incredible apps will change the way we experience entertainment, music and games,” promised Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations.
Very popular platforms, such as Netflix or YouTube, have chosen not to design ad-hoc applications for the Vision Pro at the moment, unlike Disney, which must provide 150 films in 3D from launch.
The Vision Pro can be tested by appointment in Apple stores in the United States, to help consumers get to grips with the new object.
Analysts at Wedbush Securities expect Apple to sell around 600,000 units this year.
“This is only the beginning for Vision Pro,” said Dan Ives, one of the experts at this research firm.
“The next version of the Vision Pro will cost a lot less, around $2,000,” he predicts. “We also believe that future models will resemble sunglasses and offer a much wider range of functionality to users. »