Apple isn’t exactly known for being the pioneer of new technology recently. Whether it’s folding smartphones, elaborate sound technology or hidden cameras, Apple is rarely first out of the gate.
Instead, it waits. A few years go by, technology advances and once its competitors have released a few versions of something, Apple swoops in with their first iteration. Refined, powerful, stylish and always extremely expensive.
Years on from the initial boom of virtual reality, Apple has finally played its card, announcing its first VR headset. It might be late to the party, but Apple has made its usual move, with its first-ever step into virtual reality being the best model we’ve seen yet.
So, what is so good about Apple’s first venture into the world of the virtual? We spoke to David Reid, professor of AI and spatial computing at Liverpool Hope University to find out.
Unlike some previous attempts at a usable virtual reality headset, Apple’s Vision Po device utilises a mixed reality format. This means that, instead of blacking out the world around you, the headset mixes the virtual with the real world.
Put the headset on and you could interact with a virtual floating monitor above your desk, play games in your living room or essentially make the real world a little bit more fun.
“The big selling point here is that Apple is trying to expand what we mean by the metaverse. Where Meta is based in virtual reality, Apple is looking at augmented reality, putting these virtual elements into the world around you.”, says Reid.
“There is a theory known as spatial computing. It’s the idea that a machine can retain and manipulate referents to real objects in the world. That’s what Apple is doing here and doing so believably.”
This doesn’t mean that the headset is incapable of utilising virtual reality. With a toggle of a switch on the side of the headset, users can alter how much of the world around them is blocked out.
Able to access both virtual and mixed realities, Apple is looking to offer the best of both worlds. While they aren’t the first to do this, they are the first to do it with this much processing power.
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