Can Apple Vision Pro help Apple open a new era again?
Can Apple Vision Pro revive Apple's success?
【PhoneAuto】In 2007, Jobs stood on the stage of Macworld in San Francisco with the first generation iPhone. Perhaps he had already anticipated the scene where smartphones are ubiquitous today. Now, Apple wants to create a moment like this again and drive the tech industry into a new era.
At WWDC 2023, which just ended today, Apple released its first VR headset, Apple Vision Pro. With this product, we not only see the shadow of Apple’s past, but also its innovative capabilities.
For example, its digital crown function, which is one of the popular features on the Apple Watch. In addition, it continues the interoperability between Apple devices. As we can see at the conference, it can not only use the Magic Trackpad and Magic Keyboard as control inputs, but also can be linked with Macs. Therefore, for most Apple users, using it seems to have no major learning curve.
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When it comes to innovation, we have to mention its interaction method. Apple Vision Pro, as a head-mounted display device, is equipped with many sensors, LED and infrared cameras inside the glasses. The system project invisible light onto each eye to achieve dynamic tracking of the eyeballs, allowing users to control it through their eyes.
In addition, to further enhance the interaction between users and the product, Apple Vision Pro uses a pair of high-resolution cameras on the body, which can transmit more than 300 million pixels of information to the display every second. This allows for precise tracking of the head and hands in real-time mapping. It also introduces a new input system, which dynamically responds to natural light and projected shadows, making the appearance and feel of digital content seem to exist in the physical world. Users can click, swipe, and select in a brand new 3D interface.
More impressive than the interaction itself is EyeSight. According to the introduction, while wearing the glasses, others can see the user’s eyes, and the glasses appear to be transparent. When users are immersed in the environment or using applications, EyeSight provides visual cues to others about what the user is focused on. This allows others to discern whether the user is using an application or fully immersed in it.
Thanks to visionOS, Apple Vision Pro can be used without being limited by the display boundaries. When using applications, they can fill the surrounding space and can be moved anywhere, and even the window ratio and size can be adjusted freely. It can also respond to room lighting and project shadows through cameras.
In terms of display effect, it also performs well. It uses Micro-OLED display technology, with 23 million pixels encapsulated in two display screens and a specially designed prism lens, which allows it to create a visible display effect everywhere. It is worth mentioning that the pixel level of Apple Vision Pro almost surpasses that of current 4K TVs, which is uncommon among many virtual reality headsets.
As for the most important chip aspect, Apple has prepared a dual-chip solution for it. The M2 chip mainly provides independent computing performance to ensure smoothness during use. The new R1 chip is a dynamic processing chip that can process inputs from 12 machine cameras, one sensor, and 12 microphones, thus enabling content to be presented in real-time in front of the user.
In terms of the content ecosystem that the outside world is more concerned about, Apple has always attached great importance to it. Apple Vision Pro comes with visionOS and will have a brand new App Store and a series of related ecological applications. With more and more developers joining in the future, it seems that there will be no problem of content scarcity like some products have now.
However, according to the information provided by Apple, this product will not be officially launched until next spring at the earliest. Why is Apple so “eager” to release such a new product?
From the market perspective, smartphones have already reached a bottleneck in growth. According to Counterpoint data, global smartphone shipments declined by 12% to 1.2 billion units in 2022, the worst annual performance since 2013. Even the foldable screen, which is currently favored by many manufacturers, is still a “toy” in the niche market in terms of market size. According to IDC data, the shipment of foldable screens and flip phones is about 14.2 million units in 2022, accounting for 1.2% of the market share. And it is expected that this proportion will rise to 3.5% by 2027.
Therefore, even Apple, which is strong, needs to look for new growth. This is also why rumors about Apple making cars occasionally circulated in the past. Now, we see that Apple has set their sights on virtual reality headsets. To be honest, compared with large-scale manufacturing products such as cars, smart wearable devices such as headsets seem to be more in line with Apple’s style.
In addition, from an industry perspective, Apple’s entry may have the opportunity to drive the virtual reality industry into an outbreak. After all, globally, there are few brands that can compete with Apple in terms of market influence and consumer appeal. Therefore, with Apple’s entry, the industry’s software and content ecology may be further improved, accelerating the rapid development of upstream and downstream companies in the industry, and ultimately accelerating the rapid popularization of virtual reality-related technologies.
However, from its pricing of $3499, it should currently only be exclusive to some enterprises, developers, and enthusiasts. To truly enter the consumer market, it is estimated that Apple will have to wait for the market to mature, the supply chain to gradually mature, and the content ecosystem to be relatively sound. But regardless, Apple has already clarified its future direction, and now it depends on everyone else.
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