The Apple Vision Pro will only have one cord for an external battery which will be capable of running for two hours on a single charge. Apple says they made the design choice to keep the weight of the headset lower.

Photo credit: Apple

Tim Cook finally got to have his ‘one more thing’ moment with the launch of a $3499 AR/VR headset. The Apple Vision Pro, announced today at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, is a mixed-reality headset that uses augmented reality (seeing virtual objects as a layer over the real world) and virtual reality (seeing a completely virtual world across your field of vision) to display games, office tools, conference calls, and photos and videos.

It is the company’s most significant new device announcement since 2015’s Apple Watch.

We’ve seen many VR headsets in the past. Meta’s Oculus devices have been part of a well-publicized push by the company’s founder, for instance, but Apple’s upcoming device lets users do a lot of the same things but goes a step further: the Vision Pro doesn’t only give users a new way to consume content but also a mechanism to create it.

Whereas previous headsets from Meta, Sony, Microsoft, HTC and others have been devices used to view a virtual world, it appears Apple is giving users a way to capture images and videos and create ‘spatial’ visual files. These aren’t exactly 3D files in the AR/VR sense – you can’t walk ‘into’ them or ‘around’ them – they are closer to parallax visuals where stepping to the left or right may give the illusion of depth in the frame.

In essence, the Vision Pro can perform as a stereoscopic camera, which we suspect will result in visuals that may remind users of playing with a View-Master toy.

Notably, the device has a physical shutter button above the left eye. Apple is stringent in its design language, striving to keep buttons clean and minimal in real estate, so it’s interesting that a shutter button is one of two tactile inputs on the headset. Time will tell if this is a practical move (having a tactile button you can’t see is helpful) or something more ambitious.

Panoramic images created on iPhones and iPads can be viewed large and curved around the user to match the real environments they were created in.

Photo credit: Apple

The Vision Pro will also allow users to view panoramic images they’ve created on their iPhone and iPad devices over the years. The headset will have two options to view these files: as a flat file along a single axis, similar to how you may view it on a monitor, or in a mode where the image wraps around the viewer to mimic the real environment the image was created in.

The Vision Pro will retail for $3499 and isn’t expected until ‘early next year.’

You can watch Apple’s video about the Vision Pro to learn more:

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