Apple’s first AR/VR headset will be available in the US beginning February 2, 2024 after going up for pre-order on January 19th.

With a $3,499 starting price for an Apple Vision Pro model with 256GB of storage, it will be one of the most expensive virtual/augmented reality headsets to date. But it’s also got some of the most advanced technology of any wearable computer to date.

The Apple Vision Pro is powered by an Apple M2 processor along with an R1 chip for processing data from the headset’s many cameras and sensors: there are 12 cameras, 6 microphones, and 5 other sensors, allowing users to not only view virtual imagery on the built-in screens, but also see virtual items superimposed on their real-world environment.

Apple is also the first company to include an outer “EyeSight” display on a headset that will let other people see your eyes when you’re talking, without the need to remove the headset. That screen can also show other imagery to indicate when you’re using other apps, and therefore unable to see them.

The headset features two micro OLED displays that display a combined 23 million pixels, or what Apple describes as “more pixels than a 4K TV for each eye,” allowing you to watch videos, play games, or interact with apps on a virtual 100-foot screen.

There’s also support for Zeiss Optical inserts, allowing customers to use prescription lenses or reading glass lenses with the headset, although those will cost you an extra $149 for prescription lenses or $99 for other lenses.

But possibly the biggest selling point for the Apple Vision Pro is its software. The headset runs a new operating system called visionOS that includes a 3D user interface and support for voice and gesture controls without the need for handheld controllers. Instead it users eye tracking, hand-tracking, and voice navigation to let you interact with apps, scroll through web pages, pause and play media, and even type on a virtual keyboard.

There’s also a Digital Crown on the headset that lets you dial in “how present or immersed” you are in a virtual environment by either blacking out the real-world around you or overlaying the visionOS user interface on the real world.

Since the headset uses the same processor as recent Mac, iPhone, and iPad devices, another bonus is that you’re not limited to running apps designed specifically for the platform: Apple noes that “more than 1 million familiar apps” designed for iPhones and iPads should work out of the box, as well as new Vision Pro-specific versions of Apple apps like FaceTime with Spatial Audio support.

But while the Vision Pro has some impressive hardware and software, it faces the same challenges as anticipated since the day Apple first unveiled the headset in mid-2023: it’s really expensive. I mean, Macs, iPhones, and iPads aren’t exactly cheap either, but people who spend money on those devices know exactly what kind of value to expect.

Apple’s Vision Pro headset, on the other hand, is a first-generation product in an entirely new category for Apple. Apple may be positioning the Vision Pro as a consumer-ready device, but I suspect that with a $3,499 price tag at launch, it’s going to appeal mostly to developers and early adopters with very deep pockets… while the rest of the world may have to wait to see if next-gen models have less stratospheric price tags.

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  1. The biggest reason I don’t want to buy it is that the discussion and marketing surrounding it consists of a whole lot of “What are you, poor or something? It’s the future, loser, get with the times or get left behind.”
    That and the obvious fact that it could run MacOS given a mouse and keyboard but it doesn’t.
    And, well, I don’t want to support or invite a future that’s like this:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJg02ivYzSs

  2. I can see this injuring the neck of many smaller people. Insane price too. At least they should also be able to afford the medicals bills.

  3. @liliputing_ Very interested in seeing what Apple comes up with on the software and future hardware side in this space. At the same time the Vision Pro is not for me and some of their choices like pretty much completely ignoring the existing VR space and not providing a controller option do not make sense to me. The things they seem to want you to do with this thing are stuff that I can see being a thing with hardware that will be available in maybe 10 years but not right now.