Specs, software, could help it break the VR curse

Apple Vision Pro.

Source: Apple

Apple‘s new Vision Pro headset has sparked a resurgence of interest in head-worn computers that immerse users in a virtual world.

Engineers have been dreaming about virtual reality since 1968 when a professor at the University of Utah built the first 3D VR headset, and since then, some of the most powerful consumer electronics companies have released headsets, including Nintendo, Microsoft, Meta, Google and Sony. None have been a hit.

Now, Apple’s at the table and virtual reality experts and developers say it has a chance to succeed where others haven’t.

“When people ask me what’s really special about this announcement, in one word, it’s Apple. The largest tech company in the world and also the most responsible,” said Ori Inbar, co-founder of Super Ventures and CEO of Augmented World Expo, an industry conference. “They always put everything behind every product they put out there. And that’s exactly the message they’re sending to the XR industry, but also to everyone else out there.”

Apple’s reputation and record afford it the benefit of the doubt when it comes to genuinely new technologies, and many consumers already own and like Apple’s products.

Apple commercialized the success of multitouch displays with the iPhone, which transformed the smartphone industry by showing the world a new way to interact with phones. It may be able to replicate that in the VR industry with the Vision Pro’s gesture and voice-based user interface. Unlike other headsets, it doesn’t require a controller.

“Part of the Apple effect is they’ve built up this brand equity, they’ve done it time and time again, across multiple categories, whether it’s the watch, music player and of course, the smartphone,” said Tipatat Chennavasin, general partner at the Venture Reality Fund. “What I think is really interesting about it, too, is they clearly laid out their vision for the future — this is the next iPhone, the next big platform.”

The Vision Pro is significantly more powerful than nearly all competing products on the market. It’s equipped with two high-definition screens, a battery of cameras and sensors and custom processors that reduce latency and lag. Put simply: It can do more than…