September 2023

Apple Vision Pro and a new era of computing

I wanted to share some new thoughts about Apple’s headset. These insights are based on a few things: toying around with the simulator, building strong platform knowledge, and experiencing things first-hand. If you haven’t already, check out our app running on the Vision Pro.

Apple Vision Pro

The best XR platform by far

The Vision Pro is a very impressive piece of tech both in the hardware and the software. There is no other Extended Reality (XR) headset on the market that is as capable of running pro software without tethering.

A XR headset that does not need any extra hardware to take user inputs opens up a huge number of possibilities. You can get creative with tracking the user’s hand gestures and eye movements to unlock new forms of expression.

Just having to look at a UI element and pinch seems incredibly natural and reduces the effort required for interacting with the device. You can also integrate gestures like pinching with both hands and panning to zoom in or out of a web page or photo.

The displays are so sharp that when you pinch the handle at the bottom of a window and pull to move it closer it looks like a monitor screen, or push it further away, it looks almost like a cinema display. It genuinely makes you think objects are further or closer to you. Crucially, the R1 chip helps smooth the frame rate so you do not feel any kind of motion sickness unlike other headsets.

The spatial audio speakers are built into the strap, kind of like wearing AirPods but without wearing AirPods. I imagine the sound quality is similar to a pair of AirPods too. Although, if you wanted on-ear headphones I don’t know how comfortable it would be wearing them over the headband.

The Vision Pro’s sensors and chips that make the experience smooth as butter

The potential for 3D apps is huge

Having now spent many hours building and testing apps for visionOS, I’m excited by the potential for the immersive platform and I see two categories of apps that will clearly make sense on Vision Pro: content consumption and productivity apps.

Consuming content on VisionPro

Vision Pro is a very cool, immersive medium for experiencing content such as films and music enriched with a spatial component.

At Loomery, we’ve already built a spatial prototype app called StorySight, which I loaded onto the Vision Pro. StorySight takes a reader inside their book, creating an immersive space, generated by AI, based on the scenery described in the book chapter being read. Experiencing the vivid scenes of ‘War and Peace’ was even more thrilling than I expected.

It makes me think the possibilities for 3D content are huge. Imagine being able to virtually attend sports events where you can have a front row seat or sit in the press box with 360 degree viewing and spatial audio.

Imagine being dropped into a seat in the stadium like you were there in person

Consider a history documentary where you can walk around different scenes from history, like an immersive museum piece crossed with a game, and you can interact with various elements in the space to learn about them.

What if you were seated in the House of Parliament or the US Senate during a debate?

I can absolutely see the Vision Pro being a step change from regular 2D TV: it’s simply a more enriching experience.

Productivity on the VisionPro

Apple was pushing productivity use cases and, in all honesty, I think this will be a tougher sell. Why do I need a bigger spreadsheet?

The WWDC presentation showed apps like Keynote and other office apps on the Vision Pro, but it did little to sell me on why I should use them on a visionOS device over a Mac or an iPad. The app itself is still very much just a 2D window. Future innovation in office apps surely comes from GenML and automation, not spatial computing, as workers would rather remove the tedium of repetitive or mundane tasks than do those same tasks in a spatial interface.

I do, however, see the potential for collaboration and talking to someone in 3D with a “virtual persona”. It felt more natural than a normal video call and I am convinced there’s an avenue for enhancing virtual communication on the Vision Pro. I talk more about the potential for collaboration in my post on building for the Vision Pro.

On visionOS you can place windows anywhere in the physical environment and they anchor in place. You can move into a different room and come back to find them where you left them.

I can absolutely see the productivity potential of the device in more specialised fields though, such as in architecture, where you could hold virtual viewings based on CAD designs before breaking ground, or simulating a 3D model to test the aerodynamics of the body of a car in a virtual wind tunnel before dedicating resources to building the body to test in a real wind tunnel.

Drawing in Freeform (probably the only stock app that looks somewhat finished) feels surprisingly natural as you can just hold your hand out and pinch; it captures handwriting pretty well.

With the ability to track the user’s hand movements I think there are a ton of creative ways an app could use these gestures and movements to allow the user to freely express themselves in new and exciting ways.

I can also see the Vision Pro being valuable in creative fields, as the hand gestures open up possibilities for new forms of expression not previously possible: art, music and film perhaps. It will be interesting to see how apps like ProCreate, Logic, and Final Cut will adapt to visionOS, especially as the latter two are developed by Apple themselves.

I could imagine an app like Logic Pro with each pane in a separate window: your timeline in the central window: a mixing table underneath; side panels for your audio library or equaliser. I could even imagine organising instruments, similar to an orchestra, in a 3D space, for panning and spatial audio.

A concept shown at WWDC of DJing on the Vision Pro.

A new era of computing is here

Being a developer for this new device has given me a lot of excitement for where I see this technology going in the next few years.

I have a strong feeling like this is a special moment in technology. With the recent advancements in generative ML and now Apple’s new venture into spatial computing, I do believe we are entering a new era of computing. After playing around with visionOS for the past few months, it simply feels real, and I cannot wait to take advantage of all the new opportunities it will create.

If you have questions about the Vision Pro or visionOS, please get in touch, I’d love to chat.


Loomery can help you get ahead of the competition by creating a practical plan to adopt spatial computing as part of your organisational strategy. Find out more here.

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