Apple Vision Pro Musings (Part 1)

Revolutionizing Spatial Computing and Expanding Industry Endorsement

Musings #1 about Vision Pro… lots of discussion out there that it reminds people of efforts Magic Leap has been making. There are a couple notable differences however that cannot be ignored. First is that Apple will create a much more frictionless experience — critical with any new technology. For all that Magic Leap has accomplished, ease of use and intuitive onboarding unfortunately hasn’t been their primary focus. Apple will change that. Second, Vision Pro will be leveraging the Apple ecosystem, something Magic Leap obviously could never do.

This is the Apple way — beautiful form factors, ease of use, intuitive, and seamlessly tied into its existing ecosystem.

The most important thing that happened yesterday at WWDC was not the announcement of the Vision Pro. It was Apple’s endorsement of the entire industry of Spatial Computing. That “blessing” will have a myriad of positive impacts, including:

  • prompting software developers to flood into Unity coding.
  • encouraging start-up companies to persevere with their efforts in the space.
  • bringing investment dollars into the spatial computing ecosystem.
  • encourage adoption by businesses.
  • validate those in educational institutions to not just continue their efforts, but to expand them.

Is the device going to be awesome? Probably, although it will have its flaws. Vision Pro 2 though? Remember the radical rates of change and improvement for iPhone those first few years. Welcome back.

EyeSight: Enhancing Adoption and Overcoming Inhibitions in the Vision Pro Headset

Now I want to pivot and talk about Eye Sight and why it’s radically important for adoption. When Apple introduced the Vision Pro at WWDC23, the changes to Siri didn’t get much mention at all. But the new feature EyeSight sure did. What is it, and why is it important to adoption of the device? EyeSight allows both Vision Pro wearers to see their surroundings, and, importantly, it allows others to see the Vision Pro wearer’s eyes. Why does this matter? The former is fairly obvious — when people wear a Virtual Reality headset, it completely blocks their view of what’s in their midst. Not being able to see who’s calling you might matter, and no one wants to bump into a can of soda and spill it all over their desk because they didn’t see it. But not having visual awareness of one’s surroundings can lead to much worse outcomes as well — tripping, falling, or even injuring oneself or perhaps others! So seeing who and what is near you is obviously helpful.

That’s all fairly self-evident. But why is it important for others to see you when you’re wearing a headset? The obvious reason is for a sense of feeling connected to the headset wearer, whether it’s to engage in some short conversation or just to get an acknowledgement that one has been heard.

The less obvious reason, and the one which will impact the adoption of the Vision Pro in a meaningful way, is that it lessens the inhibition of the would-be wearer to put on a headset in the first place. Knowing that others who are nearby or who might come into the room will be able to still see your eyes, and you theirs, makes it more likely you will put on that headset. It lessens self-consciousness. And the more you put on the headset, the more you will leverage its power, use it, tell your friends and colleagues about it and so on. “Cool” wears off — don’t get me wrong, the Vision Pro is going to be very cool. But that novelty will fade. What rarely fades however is people’s desire to be included, to not be left out, to not be oblivious. And that’s why EyeSight matters so much, because it lessens people’s inhibitions to put on a clunky, albeit cool, headset.

Being able to see others, and to be seen by others, even when something is covering our eyes, is actually something we already consider to be part of everyday life. Glasses! And make no mistake, this year we might be calling it a headset from Apple. Eventually however these “headsets” will get smaller and smaller until they look just like the glasses so many of us already wear for function and fashion today.

– Written by Rob Merrilees

To read all of Rob’s commentary on Apple Vision Pro click here: Part 2 , Part 3