Apple has unveiled its latest product, and this one feels like a real look into our future. Apple Vision Pro is an augmented reality headset, and it might look slightly different from what you’re used to, but it’s promising to be the next important piece of technology.
You’ve heard of hands free, but the Vision Pro takes it to a new level. With the menu appearing in your physical surroundings, your eyes are now your fingers as they make selections. And, of course, you can use voice commands.
Vision Pro and its offerings
“Apps react to light and cast shadows,” the voiceover of the launch video for Vision Pro tells us.
“Even though these spatial experiences are happening inside Vision Pro, it looks, sounds and feels like they are physically there.”
The video then guarantees us that, although the user is sporting something akin to ski goggles, it doesn’t isolate them from other people. This is because the vision will clear so the user can have a face-to-face (well in this case, face-to-goggle) conversation. Err… Win?!
The new device can also blow photos up to larger-than-life size, ostensibly turning your space into a living room. It can also capture video and images in 3D, with “remarkable depth”.
“You can relive a memory as if you’re right back exactly in that moment,” Apple assures us.
Mindfulness apps can create calmness all around you, and it can also make your living room a movie theatre. For the gamers, you can feel like you exist in the game, and for sports lovers, the stadium comes to you.
Facetime will “look and sound amazing, you can see them lifesize”. Which is great for families who are divided by oceans connecting through the screen, but isn’t the fact that our faces are visible one of the best parts of Facetime? Masks are being replaced by goggles as Apple starts to convince the audience that this isn’t just normal, but an exciting part of the future. But, I’m not so sure…
The nine-minute introduction video was released by Apple on 6 June 2023, and through it all, the promises are sky high. Rewatching memories lifesize is an amazing feat, and experiencing sport or cinema in your living room sounds incredible, but when does this start to mirror the sci-fi TV thriller Black Mirror?
Is this life imitating art?
The age-old question goes: “Is this life imitating art?” and the one thing that plagued my mind for the entirety of the launch video was the Black Mirror episode called ‘Be Right Back’.
A scene from Black Mirror‘s episode ‘Be Right Back’.
Originally aired in 2013, the episode chronicles a grieving widow who is able to upload all the past memories of her late husband onto a cloud-like memory profile. But the protagonist, Martha, soon becomes obsessed with the voice, the videos, and the memories of her husband. She is unable to let go of him, and therefore is unable to ever move on with her life.
Yes, Black Mirror is a TV show. And, yes, the extreme version of this is (currently) nearly impossible but the part that made me a more sceptical observer of Apple’s exciting new product was how normal they made this product seem. Launching old memories directly onto a living room wall, pretending you’re at a sports game, selecting things with your eyes – this isn’t just dipping our toes in the water, this is fully fledged jumping in. Both feet first. It’s pushing other pastimes almost into redundancy: why go to the cinema? It now comes to you.
Also, human memory is a powerful tool. One that we rely on daily. Smells, sounds, images can continue to exist in our own memory without the need for them to be jogged every day. In fact, that has the capability of holding us back – dwelling on that memory always rather than creating new ones. Sure, that’s an exaggerated ‘doom and gloom’ look and I don’t think it’s going to happen to every single person that pops on the Vision Pro, but it could happen to someone.
Sometimes, imagination filling gaps in memories is okay – and memories don’t have to be always available, at any time, through some ski goggles popped onto our faces.
And, not only that, with the USD $3500 (AUD $5200) price tag and two-hour battery life – I think this sort of technology is something that I’ll stay away from. For now…