Apple Vision Pro Musings (Part 4)

Apple’s Vision Pro: Redefining Digital Experiences and Beyond

Where are the Apple Avatars in the Vision Pro?? Did you notice that there was no mention of Avatars during the keynote address? While the rest of the spatial computing world is worried about how to make avatars’ legs look “normal,” Apple not only sidestepped the challenge of creating digital legs, there wasn’t even a mention of avatars during the entire keynote! Yet another indication that Apple is intent on changing the way we describe and think about these immersive, three-dimensional digital experiences.

There was no mention of the word Metaverse either (no surprise, given how Meta, formerly Facebook, has gone all in on Metaverse branding. No mention of Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality or Mixed Reality. While that doesn’t surprise me, I do find it odd that there has been relatively little focus on how much Apple has already changed the discussion. Yes, Apple is crafting a new lexicon for us all. But they are forcing us to reimagine what a headset experience should be. Compelling entertainment, media of all kinds readily available, access to full computing power and all the apps we’re already used to using, all while being highly integrated into the visual world we have always known.

Anyway, back to Apple Avatars … oops, I mean “digital personas” … or close-up renderings of our faces. Generally, Apple has a track record of delivering what its promotional pieces promise. Apple’s Vision Pro videos present extremely compelling experiences, so expectations will be high. A few have commented that Apple’s digital personas are a bit eerie, but I think it’s more likely that they will be considered eerily good. The technology behind digital facial representation has made huge leaps in recent years, so much so that deep fakes are now a societal concern. I’m confident Apple’s digital personas will be well received and not unsettling, particularly by the time the device is delivered nine months or so from now. Time will tell.

One last thought on avatar legs: bluntly stated, Apple is playing at a level that transcends the representation of limbs. Maybe Apple concluded that legs wouldn’t be up to the high quality benchmark that Apple has for all its products and software. Legs are indeed very difficult to do well. Or maybe they just concluded, rightly so, that it would be a distraction. There is no reason whatsoever that Apple should get into some sort of “leg off” with its competitors. It’s playing a different game. And most likely, a groundbreaking one.

In Musing #5, I will share my take on the $3499 price tag and the announced delivery date of “early next year.”

To read all of Rob’s commentary on Apple Vision Pro click here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10