Apple has revealed the AR/VR Vision Pro headset, and the internet has a lot to say about it – not least about the price tag.
At the WWDC 2023 conference last night, Apple revealed its latest piece of kit, the Vision Pro. It combines augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in one lightweight headset, with a few very nifty features.
Probably the most interesting is the ‘passthrough’ feature, where cameras on the front of the headset show the user the world outside. This has been done before, on headsets like the Meta Quest 2, but here the image is crystal clear, and can be used to generate AR effects, like a dinosaur popping through the wall, and suchlike. There’s also the slightly creepy EyeSight feature, where a camera inside the goggle films your face and displays it on the front of the headset, so other people can see your eyes when talking to you.
There’s more: the headset uses sophisticated hand-gesture recognition rather than a controller, and it features eye tracking to let you select apps by simply looking at them. The battery is separate to reduce the weight of the headset, and can be slipped into your pocket, but otherwise it’s standalone. Apple is positioning the system as a gateway to ‘spatial computing’, so you can watch films on giant virtual screens, or have multiple apps open at once, hanging in space in your living room.
But then there’s the price: a whopping $3,499. If you thought PSVR2 was too expensive at £530, I imagine you may have just keeled over in shock.
The price tag makes Vision Pro by far the most costly AR or VR headset out there, a good $2,500 more expensive than the $999 Valve Index. And of course, the internet has been quick to comment on its sheer expense.
— Lucy James (@lucyjamesgames) June 5, 2023
Then there’s the fact that not only does the headset look exceedingly similar to the one in the movie Ready Player One, but its introduction video also mimics a scene in the film almost exactly.
So, the Apple announcement did the Ready Player One shot beat-for-beat pic.twitter.com/JNLgIy37Ll
— Jack Rourke (@celluloidrifter) June 5, 2023
And of course, people have been quick to point out that perhaps we shouldn’t be emulating the awful dystopia of Ready Player One’s horrendous world.
It’s not just Ready Player One – there are a few Johnny Mnemonic comparisons in there, too.
starting at $3,499 pic.twitter.com/xe4UXor2qJ
— ULTRA🛸BLAST (@ultrakillblast) June 5, 2023
Besides the price, the thing most people have picked up on is that the Vision Pro looks remarkably like a pair of diving goggles.
— Damien McFerran (@DamienMcFerran) June 6, 2023
A few people have had a pop at the name, too.
— Matthew Highton (@MattHighton) June 5, 2023
But really, the big news is that $3,499 price tag. Yowch.
Audience reaction when Apple announced the $3500 price for the headset 😭 pic.twitter.com/GuGUFbN08A
— TTI (@TikTokInvestors) June 5, 2023