Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has finally revealed its highly anticipated mixed reality headset, Apple Vision Pro, at the Worldwide Developers Conference 2023 (WWDC). Apple Vision Pro is not just a product you look at; it’s the first Apple device you look through, according to CEO Tim Cook.
WWDC is a significant event for Apple, often serving as a platform for the company’s most groundbreaking product launches. The Apple Vision Pro boasts an array of impressive features including, Apple’s first fully 3-D interface, the ability to scale apps according to your space, and an exciting feature called Environments that creates immersive landscapes capable of transforming your room.
Apple Vision Pro can be controlled using a user’s eyes, hands, and voice, eliminating the need for a traditional controller. Notably, the EyeSight feature enables others in the same space to see the user’s eyes while wearing the headset and vice versa.
Apple also emphasized the compatibility of Vision Pro with existing apps such as Notes, Keynote, FaceTime, and Messages, promising a transformative experience. The headset is also compatible with various Bluetooth accessories.
In a groundbreaking move, Apple Vision Pro boasts the company’s first-ever 3-D camera. Users can capture 3-D photos and revisit them within the headset’s immersive environment.
This long-awaited mixed-reality headset has been in development for nearly a decade. It represents Apple’s first venture into a new product category since the debut of the Apple Watch in 2014. Its success is crucial for Apple as it aims to diversify revenue beyond the iPhone and solidify CEO Tim Cook’s legacy.
Apple now enters a market predominantly ruled by competitor Meta (META), which currently controls 80% of the global AR/VR market share through its popular Quest line of headsets, according to IDC. Notably, Meta isn’t staying idle while Apple enters the arena. On Thursday, Meta unveiled its own AR/VR headset, the Meta Quest 3.
Expected to hit the market later this year at a price of $499, the Meta Quest 3 boasts a sleeker and lighter design compared to its predecessor, the Meta Quest 2. It also offers twice the graphics performance. In addition, it includes a full-color pass-through design, allowing users to see the real world through its front-facing camera. These advancements unlock powerful augmented reality (AR) capabilities across a range of apps.
However, concerns persist regarding the long-term viability of the AR/VR market. These concerns include the adoption and usefulness of the technology, as well as uncertainties surrounding the growth of the metaverse. The AR/VR market faced a significant decline in 2022, with global shipments falling 20% year-over-year to 8.8 million units.
Apple’s shares have been performing strongly, with a year-to-date increase of approximately 46% as of Monday.