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Apple unveils Vision Pro mixed reality headset


Apple unveiled its long-awaited “mixed reality” headset on Monday, in the highly anticipated launch of hardware products since Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad in 2010.

The gadget, called Vision Pro, will be available “early next year”. It combines virtual reality with augmented reality, superimposing digital images on top of the real world. Apple said it would sell for $3,499, even more than most analysts expected and nearly 12 times the price of Meta’s Quest 2, the best-selling VR headset.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said the headset would be used to “merge the real world seamlessly with the digital world”, and that it was “the first Apple product that you look through and not at”. In a sign that Apple doesn’t expect the device to become a big seller any time soon, he said the launch represented “the start of a journey” into what the company calls “spatial computing,” predicting that one day it would become just as important as personal computing on the Mac and the introduction of mobile computing by the iPhone.

In a pre-recorded video demonstration shown at the start of its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple showed off the headset used to play video games, view entertainment on large “virtual” screens, and collaborate by collaborating on documents and view multiple video calls.

The device’s price and small number of applications are expected to limit its use to gaming and a range of specialized workstations in the early years. The headset is also aimed at software developers, whom Apple hopes will create a wider range of VR and AR applications.

Apple shares hit an all-time high prior to the announcement, rising more than 2 percent to $184.91 and surpassing the previous all-time high set in January 2022, before falling back when the headset was unveiled.

Apple aimed the device at white-collar workers, saying it would be “the ultimate workspace.” But in a move that surprised analysts who expected the product to be aimed primarily at business users, Apple showed people viewing photos and videos, reading documents and browsing the web.

Apple said the Vision Pro could be “your own personal movie theater,” with a “30-foot-wide” screen and automatic dimming of the real world around the screen. The demonstrations mainly showed people using the headset to look at two-dimensional screens, as opposed to the fully three-dimensional virtual worlds created by Meta.

Bob Iger, CEO of Walt Disney, called Vision Pro “a revolutionary platform” and said it would allow Disney to create content that was not possible before. A video made with Disney showed Mickey Mouse popping out of a picture frame and into the wearer’s living room, jumping onto the furniture. However, the only service Disney announced for the device at launch was existing Disney Plus video streaming content.

Apple’s sales are expected to fall 2 percent in its current fiscal year, which ends in September, and most analysts expect it to sell only about 200,000 Vision Pro headsets in its first year. However, Wall Street hopes the device will make a solid contribution to Apple’s revenues within five years, with the potential to one day become the most important computing platform since the launch of the iPhone.

At the start of its annual conference on Monday, Apple also announced faster versions of the Mac studio desktop, a 15-inch MacBook Air, and the first Mac Pro with “Apple Silicon” — marking the multi-year phase-out of Intel chips across the industry. portfolio is completed . It promised its latest computers would offer “outrageous performance”.

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