6 new things we’ve learned about the Apple Vision Pro as its first video ad lands

We've had quite the wait for the Apple Vision Pro, considering it was unveiled back in June at Apple's annual WWDC event. Yesterday we finally got the news that the Vision Pro will be going on sale on Friday, February 2, with preorders open on Friday, January 19 – and some other new bits of information have now emerged, alongside its first video ad (below).

As Apple goes into full sales mode for this pricey mixed reality headset, it's answering some of the remaining questions we had about the device, and giving us a better idea of what it's capable of. Considering one of these will cost you $ 3,499 (about £2,750 / AU$ 5,225) and up, you're no doubt going to want all of the details you can get.

Here at TechRadar we've already had some hands-on time with the Vision Pro, and checked out how 3D spatial videos will look on it (which got a firm thumbs up). Here's what else we've found out about the Vision Pro over the last 24 hours.

1. Apple thinks it deserves to be in a sci-fi movie

Take a look at this brand new advert for the Apple Vision Pro and see how many famous movies you can name. There's a definite sci-fi angle here, with films like Back to the Future and Star Wars included, and Apple clearly wants to emphasize the futuristic nature of the device (and make strapping something to your face seem cool rather than nerdy).

If you've got a good memory then you might remember that one of the first adverts for the iPhone also made use of short clips cut from a multitude of films, featuring stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Michael Douglas, and Steve McQueen. Some 16 years on, Apple is once again using the power of the movies to push a next-gen piece of hardware.

2. The battery won't last for the whole of Oppenheimer

Apple Vision Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

Speaking of movies, you're going to need a recharge if you want to watch all of Oppenheimer on the Apple Vision Pro. Christopher Nolan's epic film runs for three hours and one minute, whereas the Vision Pro product page (via MacRumors) puts battery life at 2.5 hours for watching 2D videos.

That's when you're watching a video in the Apple TV app, and in one of the virtual environments that the Vision Pro is able to conjure up. Interestingly, the product page text saying that the device could run indefinitely as long as it was plugged into a power source has now been quietly removed.

3. The software is still a work in progress

Apple Vision Pro on a person's head

Preorders for the Vision Pro open this month (Image credit: Apple)

Considering the high price of the Apple Vision Pro, and talk of limited availability, this doesn't really feel like a mainstream device that Apple is expecting everyone to go out and buy. It's certainly no iPhone or Apple Watch – though a cheaper Vision Pro, rumored to be in the pipeline, could certainly change that dynamic somewhat.

With that in mind, the software still seems to be a work in progress. As 9to5Mac spotted in the official Vision Pro press release, the Persona feature is going to have a beta label attached for the time being – that's where you're represented in video calls by a 3D digital avatar that doesn't have a bulky mixed reality headset strapped on.

4. Here's what you'll be getting in the box

Apple Vision Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

As per the official press release from Apple, if you put down the money for a Vision Pro then you'll get two different bands to choose from and wrap around your head: they are the Solo Knit Band and the Dual Loop Band, though it's not immediately clear what the differences are between them.

Also in the box we've got a light seal, two light seal cushions, what's described as an “Apple Vision Pro Cover” for the front of the headset, an external battery back, a USB-C charging cable, a USB-C power adapter, and the accessory that we've all been wanting to see included – an official Apple polishing cloth.

5. Apple could release an app to help you fit the headset

Two hands holding the Apple Vision Pro headset

(Image credit: Apple)

When it comes to fitting the Apple Vision Pro snugly to your head, we think that Apple might encourage buyers to head to a physical store so that they can be helped out by an expert. However, it would seem that Apple also has plans for making sure you get the best possible fit at home.

As spotted by Patently Apple, a new patent filed by Apple mentions a “fit guidance” system inside an iPhone app. It will apparently work with “head-mountable devices” – very much like the Vision Pro – and looks designed to ensure that the user experience isn't spoiled by having the headset badly fitted.

6. There'll be plenty of content to watch

A person views an image on a virtual screen while wearing an Apple Vision Pro headset.

(Image credit: Apple)

Another little nugget from the Apple Vision Pro press release is that users will be able to access “more than 150 3D titles with incredible depth”, all through the Apple TV app. Apple is also introducing a new Immersive Video format, which promises 180-degree, three-dimensional videos in 8K quality.

This 3D video could end up being one of the most compelling reasons to buy an Apple Vision Pro – we were certainly impressed when we got to try it out for ourselves, and you can even record your own spatial video for playing back on the headset if you've got an iPhone 15 Pro or an iPhone 15 Pro Max.

You might also like

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

6 things we’ve learned about the Apple Vision Pro from the visionOS beta

Apple has launched its first-ever beta for visionOS – the operating system the upcoming Apple Vision Pro mixed-reality headset will use – giving us a glimpse at what its new gadget should be capable of at launch.

As explained in the Apple Developer blog post making the announcement, the launch of the visionOS SDK will give developers the chance to start working on spatial computing apps for the Vision Pro. It will also help developers understand the Vision Pro's capabilities. Even better, the SDK provides a visionOS simulator so that developers can test out their 3D interface in a number of room layouts with various lighting conditions. And those tests have already revealed a number of details about what the Vision Pro will and won’t be able to do at launch.

This is only the first beta, and users are accessing the simulator via a PC rather than a headset – so expect some changes to be made to visionOS before it officially launches. With that said, here’s what we’ve learned so far about the Apple Vision Pro from the visionOS beta.

1. Visual Search is coming 

Visual Search is basically the Vision Pro’s version of Google Lens or the Visual Lookup feature found on the best iPhones and best iPads (via MacRumors).

A man wearing the Apple Vision Pro headset and pressing its shutter button to take a photo

You can use the Vision Pro to scan real-world objects and text (Image credit: Apple)

According to info found in the visionOS beta, Vision Pro headset wearers will be able to use the headset’s cameras to find information about an item they scan and to interact with real-world text. This includes copying and pasting the text into Vision Pro apps, translating it between 17 supported languages, and converting units (like grams to ounces, or meters to feet). This sounds pretty neat, but unless you’re wearing your Vision Pro headset all the time while traveling abroad or baking with a recipe we aren’t too sure how often you’ll rely on these features.

2. The OS is intuitive 

While not the most flashy feature, intuitive OS design and windows management in 3D space will be crucial for the Vision Pro. The idea of having loads of software windows floating around us seems neat – it'd be like we’re a real-world Tony Stark – but if it's a pain to position them how we want, it’ll be easier to stick with a traditional PC and monitor.

Thankfully, it looks like it’s super easy to move, resize, and hide app windows in Vision Pro, as shown off by @Lascorbe on Twitter.

See more

The video also shows that you aren’t moving the apps on a fixed cylinder around you; you can take full advantage of the 3D space around you by bringing some windows closer while moving others further away – and even stacking them in front of each other if you want. While dragging a window it’ll turn translucent so you can see what’s behind it as you decide where to position it.

3. Porting iOS to visionOS is easy 

According to developers (like @lydakisg on Twitter) that have started working with visionOS, it’s incredibly easy to port iOS apps over to the new system – so many of the best iPhone apps could be available on the Vision Pro at launch. 

See more

This is great news for people that were worried that the Vision Pro might not have an app library comparable to the Quest Store found on Meta’s VR headsets like the Meta Quest Pro.

The only downside is that the ported iOS apps appear in a floating window as they would on a Mac rather than being a fully-fledged immersive experience. So while your favorite appears can easily appear on the Vision Pro, they might not take advantage of its new tech – at least not without the developers spending more time working on a dedicated visionOS version.

4. Battery percentages return 

Battery percentages are a sore spot for many iPhone users. When the iPhone X was released over five years ago it changed the battery status symbol – the percentage disappeared and only a steadily emptying symbol of a battery remained. While this symbol does give a visual indication of how much charge your phone has left, it’s not always as clear as a number; as such, it's been a constant request from iPhone users for Apple to bring back battery charge percentages – which it did with iOS 16 when the iPhone 14 launched.

A woman wears the Vision pro in front of a menu showing a battery icon that has no number inside of it

The Vision Pro trailer shows a battery icon with no percentage (Image credit: Apple)

Unfortunately, a brief section of Apple’s Vision Pro intro video showed us that the Vision Pro might make the iPhone X’s mistake by using a battery status symbol without a number.  

See more

Thankfully for fans of Apple’s more accurate battery symbol, users like @aaronp613 on Twitter have found that battery percentages do show up on Vision Pro. It’s not a massive win, but an important one for a lot of people. 

5. Apps can use unique control schemes 

The visionOS beta not only gives developers tools to create their own Vision Pro apps and to port their existing iOS software to the system; they’re also given details, sample code, and videos showing off the kinds of projects they could create for the upcoming Apple hardware.

One such game is Happy Beam, a video of which has been shared on Twitter by @SwiftlyAlex.

See more

Happy Beam doesn’t look super interesting in and of itself – one Twitter commenter noted it looks like the sort of AR game you could play on the Nintendo 3DS – but it shows that the Vision Pro is able to recognize different hand gestures (like forming a heart) and translate them to different in-game controls. 

We’ll have to wait and see how developers use these capabilities in their creations, but we can already imagine a few possible implementations. For example, rather than using button prompts you could make a scissors gesture with your hand to cut images and text from one document, then clap your hands to paste it in a new spot.

It also appears that Apple is conscious that its headset should remain accessible. As shown in the Happy Beam demo, there are alternative controls that allow Vision Pro users to rely on simpler gestures or controllers to play the game – with it serving as a reminder to other developers to consider similar alternative control schemes in their software.

This gameplay video shared by @wilburwongdev on YouTube shows how the game changes when not using your hands.

6. Fitness apps are discouraged

One last tidbit that has been spotted not in the visionOS beta but in the developer guidelines for the operating system. In its guidelines, Apple says app makers should “avoid encouraging people to move too much” while immersed in the headset. The wording is a little vague, but it seems as if Apple is against the development of fitness apps for Vision Pro at this time.

One notable omission from the Vision Pro reveal trailer was that there were no fitness apps featured. Many people (some of our writers included) use VR headsets for working out, or even just getting a bit active. There’s Beat Saber and Pistol Whip for more gamified workouts, or FitXR and Litesport for more traditional fitness options. These developer notes make the omission seem more intentional, suggesting fitness and activities involving a lot of movement are not in Apple’s current plan for the Vision Pro. We’ll have to wait and see if this changes when the device launches.

Want to learn more about the Vision Pro? Check this round-up of 5 features Apple may have removed from the Vision Pro before it was even out.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More