We’ve written here several times on Meta‘s struggling metaverse project; Zuckerberg‘s darling endeavor hasn’t gotten the traction he hoped for, with teetering investor involvement and an even more fragile consumer interest. But that didn’t stop Apple from chasing their own augmented reality project. The tech giant recently announced the Vision Pro, a headset that allows users to see apps and messages within their physical space. The product is a major development, and the main goal, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, is to dissolve the boundaries between our physical and digital dimensions. Per a report from ABC News,
“Vision Pro is a new kind of computer that augments reality by seamlessly blending the real world with the digital world,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said. “This is the first Apple product that you look through and not at.”Apple announces mixed reality headset Vision Pro – ABC News (go.com)
This is a technology that the user “participates in,” not merely uses or consumes. Cook went on to call this headset the beginning of “spatial computing,” allowing the user to turn anyplace into a “personal theater.” The product page at Apple’s website says,
With Vision Pro, you have an infinite canvas that transforms how you use the apps you love. Arrange apps anywhere and scale them to the perfect size, making the workspace of your dreams a reality — all while staying present in the world around you. Browse the web in Safari, create a to-do list in Notes, chat in Messages, and seamlessly move between them with a glance.Apple Vision Pro – Apple
Apple’s shares dropped slightly after the announcement, but the company said that consumers could purchase the new product in 2024. Will it do better than Meta, and is this indeed a next big step in augmented living? It looks cleaner, lighter, and doesn’t offer a total retreat from reality like the metaverse seems to. Apple is taking a step in that direction. Question is, will they try to keep walking the line? We’ll have to wait and see.
In future commentary pieces, we will be looking at the ideas of the Canadian philosopher of technology Marshall McLuhan, who famously noted that modern technologies are “extensions of man.” Keep an eye out for that in coming weeks as we explore more of what exactly he meant by that, and how tech developments like Vision Pro might fit into the picture.