Apple, Virtual reality,

Apple Vision Pro

Apple Vision Pro: $3,499 Headset Set for Release on February 2

Apple has confirmed the highly anticipated launch date for its Vision Pro headset in the United States—February 2. Pre-orders for the $3,499 (£2,749) mixed-reality device will be available for US customers from mid-January, although there’s no specific schedule yet for a UK launch.

This launch marks Apple’s first significant product release since the introduction of the Apple Watch back in 2015. The Vision Pro was unveiled in June 2023 after years of speculations and development.

However, there have been setbacks. The Financial Times reports that Apple significantly reduced its production forecasts from an estimated one million units to 400,000 for the year 2024.

In addition to the release date, Apple disclosed that the device will feature 256GB of storage. Notably, the headset’s eye-tracking technology is adaptable for individuals with limited use of one eye, monitoring the dominant eye for operation.

Striving to distinguish its headset from others in the market, Apple advised developers to label their apps as “spatial computing” rather than using terms like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), extended reality (XR), or mixed reality (MR).

Alongside this announcement, Apple released an online trailer showcasing film characters wearing goggles and helmets, reminiscent of the iPhone’s 2007 launch campaign, attempting to generate similar hype.

The success of this product could potentially become a new multi-billion dollar revenue stream for Apple. However, the high price point is likely to restrict its accessibility, keeping it within the realm of a luxury item for affluent consumers amid global economic challenges.

Hands-On Experience: The BBC had an opportunity to test the Vision Pro in June last year, finding the mixed reality experience to be diverse yet inconsistent.

Apple provided limited access to the device, disallowing any photography or filming.

In contrast to many existing headsets, Apple designed the Vision Pro with a detached battery, reducing weight on the head but requiring the battery to be connected via a cable nearby.

The user interface mirrors classic Apple minimalism. Once worn, the headset displays your surroundings through its onboard cameras, projecting digital content onto your environment—a characteristic of mixed reality.

App access is through familiar icons akin to the iPhone interface, controlled by gaze-tracking and gestures. Adjusting immersion levels can be managed with a physical dial, altering the size of digital projections—expanding to room size or resembling a TV screen on a wall.

Importantly, real-life interruptions, like someone walking in front of you, are still visible, maintaining awareness despite immersion levels.

During the demonstration, Apple emphasized the prototype status, prohibiting any filming to address encountered issues, limiting their sharing online.

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