Apple Vision Pro finally gets global launch dates – and cool new visionOS 2 tricks

As part of WWDC 2024 Apple has announced a slew of updates for its hardware – with the Apple Vision Pro kicking things off with not only new features, but a release date for non-US markets (finally).

The big news is obviously that latter one. On June 28 the Apple Vision Pro is rolling out to China, Japan, and Singapore; and then two weeks later on July 12 it’ll launch in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and the UK.

We don’t have the precise prices for the Vision Pro in these regions yet, but as soon as WWDC is over the online Apple Store should be updated with all of these details. Just be warned; you should expect this VR headset to be pricey given that its US launch price was $ 3,499 – which is around £2,788, AU$ 6349.

This is a developing story, as we learn more we'll be updating this page with the details

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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.

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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. 

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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.  

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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.

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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.

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visionOS: everything you need to know about the Vision Pro’s operating system

After over two years of rumors and speculation, Apple has finally revealed its upcoming VR headset, the Vision Pro, at this year’s WWDC 2023 event. The Vision Pro is nothing if not impressive, with capabilities like outputting 4K resolution from each stamp-sized display and creating a “digital persona” just by scanning your face.

But as Mike Rockwell, VP of the Technology Development Group at Apple, states in the announcement “none of [the] advanced technology could come to life without… visionOS.” It’s described as the first operating system specifically designed for “spatial computing”. 

visionOS is described as the first operating system specifically designed for “spatial computing”. And it built on the same building blocks as macOS and iOS, but comes with unique features to better facilitate virtual reality. 

visionOS building blocks

(Image credit: Apple)

For example, visionOS comes with a Foveated Renderer, similar to the PSVR 2. What it does is increase the visual fidelity of whatever a person is looking at while blurring everything in your peripheral vision. 

Rockwell then goes on to describe the operating system’s “multi-app 3D engine” allowing “different apps to run simultaneously”.

In the workplace

As impressive (or long-winded) as it all sounds, you may be wondering what it all looks like? 

In its most basic form, visionOS looks pretty much like any other virtual reality platform. You have large windows floating in the space in front of you. Turning your head lets you see switch tabs so you can go from Safari to Messages. And when you launch the Vision Pro, you get an assortment of apps to choose from. Pretty simple stuff. 

Where visionOS truly shines is in its individual use cases. You will be able to send 3D image files via Messages as well as display that model right in front of you in every possible angle. The system also responds to the natural light around you so the 3D objects will have shadows befitting of the environment you’re in. It can help you understand scale as well as distance. Professionals can create their own setup for work by arranging apps to their liking. 

Control in visionOS will, for the most part, be done with your hands, eyes, and voice; however people will be able to connect Bluetooth peripherals like the Magic Keyboard if they prefer a more physical interaction.

Man working with Vision Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

Beyond first-party software, visionOS will be running third-party apps natively at launch. This includes the likes of Adobe Lightroom, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom. It’s unknown if other apps like Photoshop will be present upon release.

Additionally, the operating system is set to run specific education apps. The one that impressed us the most is a piece of medical software for looking at renders of the human body. The announcement video shows an exploded view of the human heart, complete with ventricles as well as the pulmonary artery. There’s an engineering app to help people visualize certain physics phenomena like air flowing over a race car. 

On the surface, it sounds like Apple is launching its own version of the Microsoft Hololens with all work-centric tools. But it's a lot more nuanced, as the tech giant is going for broke by incorporating some impressive entertainment features. 

air flowing over race car in visionOS

(Image credit: Apple)

And at home

At launch, Disney Plus will be available alongside over 100 games via the Apple Arcade platform. You can expand the VR screen to massive proportions like you’re in a movie theater. 3D movies will be supported too, so if you want to watch Avatar: The Way of Water as it was intended, the option does exist. Users can have the screen floating in their room, but if they want something more dynamic, the background can be replaced with a different environment like deep space or Mt Hood in Oregon.

We do wish Apple showcased more of the gaming side of things. We saw it’s possible to expand a game screen to a larger size so you can get a better view. Gamers won’t have to play with their hands as visionOS will support gamepads, namely the PS5 DualSense controller. Hopefully, support will extend to other peripherals like the Nintendo Switch's JoyCons.

Man watching movie in visionOS

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple didn't have much in the way of specific titles. If anything, the company seemed more interested in having its headset and operating system adhere more towards providing an experience rather than being a bonafide gaming computer. The keynote revealed a Star Wars VR adventure where you fly around the universe of The Mandalorian. However, there was nothing in terms of a lightsaber duel or anything action packed.

That’s pretty much everything there is to know about visionOS, at least to how it pertains to the everyday user. The rest mostly relates to software development. At the end of the keynote, Apple revealed the operating system will support the Unity game engine. This could mean the company is paving the way for developers to come in and create video games for visionOS. However, given Apple’s spotty history with video games, it remains to be seen if this will attract any developers at all.

WWDC 2023 recently concluded and a ton was shown off from MacOS Sonoma to a brand new Mac Pro. Be sure to check out TechRadar’s coverage of the event

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