Apple Vision Pro: Step inside your iPhone
How are great products built?
Let’s face it: reality can be a drag. So it’s no surprise that these days, thousands of tech companies are angling to create VR devices that seek to make our day-to-day more efficient, fun, and exciting. From headsets to goggles, these handy contraptions erase the boundary between the physical and digital world, allowing people to meet, work, and play in virtual reality. Sound like a dystopian nightmare? Fair enough. Will it be the way most of us navigate our lives in the future? It just might.
Given their prowess in the tech scene, it’s no wonder that Apple is hopping on the VR bandwagon. Recently, they announced the upcoming release of their Apple Vision Pro, a “mixed reality headset” that looks like a pair of pimped out ski goggles. Just as their founder Steve Jobs envisioned decades ago, this headset will use augmented reality to collapse the separation between the virtual and physical landscapes.
What does that mean? Well, imagine that you could step inside your iPhone and walk around in it. Instead of seeing your FaceTime calls, weather report, or GPS tracking on your phone screen, you’ll see them as pictures that appear right in front of you. Calling Grandma will mean speaking to a lifelike hologram that you can move around with hand or eye movements. When you meet someone, you’ll be able to see a history of your interactions next to their face. Too Black Mirror for your taste? Just wait, it gets even wilder.
Instead of a standard iPhone map, a GPS route will appear on the road in front of you in flashy green lines. And speaking of travel, you’ll be able to converse with anyone in the world thanks to instant audio/text translation in essentially any language. All the operations are controlled with hand and eye movements – so work on perfecting your side-eyes and air swipes to make sure you’re well prepared.
Lots of these features promise to make our lives easier, but it’s worth considering what ramifications this kind of technology will have on our privacy, community, and experience of the world. For example, part of the mystery and joy of being human is connecting with people face-to-face and learning what makes them tick – not having a bunch of data about them from the offset. The same goes for our experience of our surroundings: do we really want holograms and neon maps cluttering the visceral quality of city streets and sunshine? Will anyone ever want to learn a new language again, or even travel to see their folks when they can chat virtually?
It’s not a stretch to suggest that augmented reality could do more harm than good, disconnecting us from our natural habitat and supplanting a simulated reality on top of it. Some people may opt to simply forgoe the real world altogether — opting to travel, work, and play in virtual reality instead. Is that the kind of society we want? And that’s all to say nothing of the personal data we’d be handing over to Apple to do with as they see fit.
At $3,499, this device isn’t on the cheap side, but that will likely change as the tech gets cheaper. But regardless of when it happens, there’s little doubt that VR is heading our way – and fast. The only question is: do we want it?