Apple Vision Pro: a revolution for professionals?

Posted by Alexis Vartanian on Jun 8, 2023 3:14:18 PM

At its WWDC 2023 keynote, Apple finally unveiled Apple Vision Pro, his long-awaited mixed reality headset. Even if most of the features had already been leaked to the press, the moment is still dramatic.

Apple vision pro-1

Creator: Philip Pacheco | Credit: Bloomberg | Copyright: © 2023 Bloomberg Finance LP

A Turning point for XR

At first, it looks like an exercise in a business school. Given the records of Apple to choose a market and come with a product that leapfrog all others, what would an Apple XR headset looks like. Think about what was different between the Macintosh and the IBM PC, the iPhone and the iPad or the iPod and the other mp3 players at that time. From this, extrapolate an Apple XR headset in 2023!

But this is not a student project. The product is real, it looks like being finished and will be available in volume in a not-so-distant future. We are not talking about a Kickstarter project here. The whole thing is real.

This is the second time that the XR market gets such a blessing by a big player. The last time was when Facebook jumped in. The fact that such a big company supported the technology had a ripple effect and soon the XR industry was started.

It is very likely that the Apple Vision Pro will have the same effect.

A Short look at the capabilities

Unfortunately, at TechViz we did not get the chance to test the headset, so we must rely on other’s hands-on and announced features. Fortunately, the keynote came with a complete range of details of each feature, as well as use cases and benefits.

Some capabilities are totally new in a commercial product, such as the EyeSight screen that let people see your face. Dome have been available for some time on other head mounted device (eye tracking, face tracking, head-tracking, video passthrough, hand tracking, integration of 2D apps, big screen videos...) but comes at a much higher quality than anything else.

“Apple Vision Pro relies solely on your eyes, hands and voice You browse the system simply by looking. App icons come to life when you look at them; simply tap your fingers together to select, and gently flick to scroll.”

Alan Dye -Apple vice-president of human interface design


Even at TechViz, our software has supported mixed reality headsets with Canon MREAL in 2006, hand interaction with Cyberglove in 2005 or eye tracking with SMI in 2016 (the company has been bought by Apple since).

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But the key thing is not the numbers. It is whether they are good enough for the device to be a perfect consumer product that really performs the task that it has been designed for. With a beautiful design, easy to learn and enjoyable to use. And there we have the Apple DNA.

Other virtual reality headsets have incrementally improved their performance and quality year after year. But the Apple HMD has been designed the other way. Even the rumor that Apple design teams had blocked the release of the previous iteration as it was not good enough might be true.

Typically, the happy few who have experienced the device have noted that it is the first passthrough headset where you can actually read through. They have reported that the hand tracking user interface was actually usable and easy to learn for a newcomer. And that the passthrough quality and latency gives you a better chance to be able to use the headset for a long session.

“With Vision Pro, you’re no longer limited by a display. Your surroundings become an infinite canvas,” . “Vision Pro blends digital content into the space around us. It will introduce us to Spatial Computing.”

Tim Cook - Apple chief executive


What about VR

One thing that has amazed our XR experts is that very little was said about displaying 3D content, which has been the very priority of virtual and augmented reality headsets until now. A bit of 3D has been displayed during the keynote with a few seconds of manufacturing project review, AR remote support and gaming.

Some have wrongly deduced that the Apple Vision Pro would not make a good headset for viewing 3D content or gaming. However, it is obvious that the head-mounted display will be an excellent product for virtual-reality, given the resolution, the performance of the CPU/GPU, the performance of the inside-out tracking and hand tracking and the quality of the programming platform.

Even, there is a strong reason to believe that third-party companies are already working to provide controllers to enable existing content to run seamlessly.

Impact on the XR industry

Most XR headsets until now have either been targeted as gaming platforms or professional tools. The main use cases for professionals are training, sales, design review and remote support.

From the keynote, the device has been presented as covering all the possible range of uses, either personal or professional. One device that replaces all others. This is far-reaching and very ambitious.

If we just look at the device for the use cases we have mentioned, the possibility to really bring 2D content (phone app, web browser, video, conferencing) at the same time as VR content will accelerate the usage of the technology. By just reducing the number of times you need to put the device on and off will make the immersive virtual reality technology more user-friendly and accelerate the development. We hope to see that in action very soon.


Right now, the very fact that the device is made by Apple and is enjoyable to use might be enough for it to succeed. In the pro market, the price is not going to be an issue, given the return of investment of the technology in many use cases.

Integration into TechViz software suite

Since 2004, TechViz policy has been to integrate any XR devices that our customers are willing to purchase. We already received questions and have already make plans for the integration. As our software is platform and operating system independent, we do not see any challenge for this. The only one is the availability of the device to test and refine the fully immersive experience.

Running our software will be easy. But we believe to take fully advantage of the capability we will need to get beyond just porting our software. The user interface might need to receive a custom version based on VisionOS building blocks. We might want to take advantage of the avatar system for our collaboration platform. And integration of 2D content to mixes, augmented, and virtual reality meetings and regular collaboration will become doable.

Even more, as TechViz allows users to make changes to the virtual prototype in the 3D software we capture in real-time, and see the result in XR. Right now, to enjoy that, one user would make the change on a PC desktop and the other would see the result in XR. Doing this directly in XR has never been possible due to the difficulty to read the image of the desktop. With the quality of the Apple Vision Pro screen, we strongly believe doing this might become possible.

Our XR Space collaboration platform allows multiple people to interact in the same physical space and virtual world wearing XR devices. Eyesight will help such setup better include other people in the room who do not wear XR devices, increase collaboration and reduce the sense of isolation in XR.

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Detailed Summary of the functionalities

EyeSight: an interesting feature for XR collaboration

"Your eyes are a critical indicator of connection and emotion, so Vision Pro displays your eyes when someone is nearby. Not only does EyeSight reveal your eyes, it provides important cues to others about what you're focused on."

Alan Dye -Apple vice-president of human interface design


With the EyeSight, instead of the shiny black exterior of the Vision Pro, collaborators around you can see a display of your eyes. This feature might mitigate a “default” on HMDs for group sessions. A headset is typically giving a deeper sense of immersion than other hardware technologies for professional VR, such as immersive rooms and VR walls.

High-end specs to justify a sky-high price

The headset has been designed to display content within 12 milliseconds – 8 times faster than the blink of an eye. Apple Vision Pro is designed for all-day use when plugged in, and up to two hours of use with its external battery.

Apple-vision-pro - -eyesight-feature-1

Powering the Vision Pro are two chipsets that propel its capabilities to new heights:

  • The M2 you can find in some of the best MacBooks – and supposedly enables you to run most Mac apps natively, like Final Cut Pro.
  • The R1 that processes input from 12 cameras, 5 sensors, and 6 microphones for the XR experience.

On top of these chips, the Vision Pro offers one 4K micro-OLED display per eye. According to Apple, it fits 64 pixels into the same space when the iPhone's screen fits one single pixel.

As a conclusion

We hope that we will not wait too long to be able to work on the device and deliver it to our customers!

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Topics: vr headsets, AR/VR collaboration, VR hardware

About TechViz

TechViz is a virtual reality software editor with a strong expertise in the fields of virtual reality, augmented reality and 3D visualization solutions for engineering. 
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