Apple has unveiled its inaugural augmented-reality (AR) headset, along with a range of device and software enhancements, at its annual developers conference.
Apple’s Vision Pro, positioned as a competitor to Meta Platforms Inc’s Quest line and Sony Group’s PlayStation VR, signifies Apple’s venture into a new product category since the launch of the Apple Watch nine years ago.
Here are the key highlights from the event:
Apple showcased its AR headset, resembling ski goggles, priced starting at $3,499 — three times the cost of Meta’s most expensive device. The headset seamlessly integrates virtual and augmented reality features, enabling wearers to view digital content superimposed on their surroundings.
Users can project apps into their environment and interact with them through eye movements, hand gestures, and voice commands. The device supports popular services like Disney+, Microsoft Office, and Adobe apps.
Equipped with 12 cameras and a digital crown akin to the Apple Watch, the Vision Pro also utilizes Apple’s M2 chip and a custom-made R1 chip for lightning-fast processing. It operates on VisionOS and connects to an external battery pack with a two-hour capacity via a snap-on cable.
M2 ULTRA CHIP
Apple introduced the M2 Ultra processor for its Mac Pro and Mac Studio desktop computers. The M2 Ultra is essentially a fusion of two of Apple’s largest M2 chips, similar to the approach taken with boosting the performance of the M1 chips. It boasts a 24-core central processing unit and delivers 20 percent faster performance than the M1 Ultra.
LARGER MACBOOK AIR, POWERFUL DESKTOPS
Apple launched a 15-inch MacBook Air powered by the M2 chip, offering an 18-hour battery life. Priced from $1,299, this variant follows the previous year’s upgrade of the 13-inch MacBook Air with the same processor. Additionally, Apple reduced the price of the base 13-inch version by $100 to $1,099.
Apple also enhanced its desktop lineup, unveiling a new iteration of the flagship Mac Pro featuring the M2 Ultra chip, starting at $6,999. Furthermore, it upgraded the more compact Mac Studio with M2 Ultra and M2 Max chipsets.
WIDGETS FOR APPLE WATCH, OS UPGRADES, JOURNALING APP
Apple introduced updated operating systems for its products. iOS 17 brings smart display-like functionalities to the iPhone, allowing it to function as a digital clock or digital assistant when placed horizontally.
The company made improvements to its native apps, including iMessage, virtual keyboard, and FaceTime, which now incorporates a voicemail feature. The Phone app received an update enabling users to create personalized contact posters for incoming calls.
iPhone users can also share their contact information with nearby individuals using a new feature called NameDrop.
Apple unveiled a journaling app for the iPhone called Journal, which leverages in-device machine learning to provide writing suggestions based on photos, location, and other phone data.