Apple Vision Pro two months later: A telepresence dream

Two months later I Apple started using Vision Pro, it didn’t change my lifestyle. It hasn’t replaced my TV, and it doesn’t make me want to give up my powerful desktop or thin laptops. It’s another tool in my gadget arsenal – I can do it to catch up X-Men 97 to help me dive deep into research while in bed or away from my office. Vision Pro is becoming normalized so quickly that it’s almost easy to forget how groundbreaking it really is. Its screens are still absolutely stunning, and the combination of eye tracking and Apple’s gesture controls make for the most intuitive AR/VR interface I’ve ever seen.

While the Vision Pro still isn’t something most people should consider buying, Apple has thrown early adopters a few bones. Every week, more games are released in the App Store and Arcade, and they are several 3D movies Offered to Apple TV+ subscribers. The Adding Location Personas it also goes a long way to making the Vision Pro even more telepresence machine (more details below). But we’re still waiting for the company to deliver on its promise of 180-degree Immersive Video, as well as allowing users to create higher-quality Spatial Videos on iPhones.

Using Apple Vision Pro with MacBook AirUsing Apple Vision Pro with MacBook Air

Photo Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

How I use Apple Vision Pro

After the pressure to review every aspect of the Vision Pro was over, I began to incorporate it into my life as a typical user. (Full disclosure: I returned the device I originally bought, but Apple sent a sample for further testing.) Basically, this means not forcing myself to use headphones for large parts of the day. Instead, my Vision Pro time is more purposeful: I fire it up in the morning and project the MacBook’s screen to fire off emails and catch up on Slack chats, while a YouTube video is virtually projected on my wall.

In the middle of a work session, or sometimes before a busy work day, I go through a five or ten minute meditation session with the Mindfulness app. I can easily meditate without any headgear, but I found the app’s quiet narration and the immersive environment it creates (since it completely blocks out the real world) incredibly helpful. It’s like having your own yoga teacher on staff, ready to soothe your mind when you have free time.

I’ve also learned to appreciate Vision Pro as a way to expand where I can do business. As someone who has worked mostly from home since 2009, I learned early on that changing locations is an easy way to keep myself busy. For example, I try not to write in the morning where I check email. I usually switch between a computer desk and large monitor (currently Alienware’s 32-inch 4K OLED) in my office and a MacBook Air or Pro for typing at home. Sometimes I’ll go to a nearby park or cafe when I need to do a writing assignment for a few hours.

Using Apple Vision ProUsing Apple Vision Pro

Photo Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

With the Vision Pro, I can really handle some serious multitasking from the deck or my kitchen without being tied to a desktop computer. I’ve found it useful for covering events without being stuck in my basement office (streaming video in a virtual window, as well as Slack and web browsers can be opened via a projected MacBook). I juggled conference calls while sick in bed with the Vision Pro because it felt more comfortable than looking at a small laptop screen.

I haven’t done much traveling with the headset yet, but I can already see it coming in handy the next time I go on a weekend trip with the family. Tested Norman Chan He told me that he uses the Vision Pro on long flights, where the hours simply disappear. I’m still working on it — I prefer to use a small laptop and headphones on airplanes, but I can imagine the beauty of watching big-screen movies on Vision Pro while everyone else is on tablets or cramped seats. -rear screens.

Vision Pro remains a fantastic way to watch movies or TV shows at home. When I’m too tired to come downstairs after putting my kids to bed, I sometimes just veg out in bed while projecting YouTube videos or anime on the ceiling. I experienced a drunken temporal drift during the viewing X-Men 97: As soon as its remastered theme song came on, I immediately went back to watching the original show on the 13-inch TV in my childhood bedroom. If I could go back in time, the bishop-style, it would have been impossible to convince my 10-year-old self that I would eventually watch the series continue on a futuristic headset projected onto a 200-inch window. How far we have come.

Apple Vision Pro Spatial Persona collaboration with Norm Chan of Tested.Apple Vision Pro Spatial Persona collaboration with Norm Chan of Tested.

Photo: Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

Spatial Personas is a telepresence dream

When Apple first announced Vision Pro last year, I couldn’t help but be blown away by its Persona avatars. They looked cold and inhuman, which is exactly what you would imagine from soulless digital clones. The VisionOS 1.1 update made them a little less annoying, but I didn’t really like avatars until Apple introduced Spatial Personas last week. Instead of being confined to a window, Spatial Personas roam your virtual space and let you collaborate with your friends as if they were right next to you.

The concept is not entirely new: I tested Microsoft Mesh a few years ago with the HoloLens 2 headset, which also brought digital avatars right into my home office. But they looked more like the basic Miis from the Nintendo Wii than anything that looked realistic. Meta Horizon Workrooms has done something similar in completely virtual spaces, but it’s not nearly as impressive as digitally collaborating on a real-world landscape.

Apple’s Spatial Personas are much more appealing than Microsoft and Meta’s efforts because they’re seamless to set up—you just need to enable Spatial Mode during a FaceTime conversation—and they feel effortlessly organic. During a Spatial Persona call with Norm Tested, we were talking as if he were sitting right in front of me in my home theater. We were able to easily draw and write together on Freeform—when I stood up and reached for the whiteboard, it was as if we were standing next to each other on a real whiteboard.

Apple Vision Pro Spatial Persona collaborationApple Vision Pro Spatial Persona collaboration

Photo: Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

Share with Spatial Personas

We were also able to personalize our viewing experiences while watching a bit Star Trek Beyond using SharePlay in Vision Pro together. Norm chose to watch it in 2D, I watched in 3D, and our progress was synchronized. The experience was more engaging than the typical SharePlay experience because I could just lean over and chat with him instead of texting or saying something over a FaceTime call. I also couldn’t help but imagine how easy it would be to write movie commentaries for podcasts using Spatial Personas. (We would have had to use separate microphones and computers in addition to the Vision Pros, but that would have made for a more convenient recording session than watching movies on a monitor or TV.)

Unfortunately, our attempts to play the game together failed because we were running slightly different versions Game room. We also didn’t have enough time to sync our apps during the session. I was finally able to try out Chess and Battleship with my other Vision Pro equipped friends and once again it felt like they were playing right next to me. (Norm and CNET’s Scott Stein looked like them possession of the ball with virtual chess.)

The main hurdle for Spatial Personas, of course, is that it requires a $3,500 headset. Apple is laying the groundwork for some really great telepresence experiences, but for most people it won’t matter until you can get the Vision Pro or a cheaper Apple headset.

With Horizon Workrooms, Meta allowed non-VR users to join virtual meetings using Messenger on phones and computers so they weren’t left out. Standard FaceTime users can join Vision Pro conversations with location characters, but they’ll be stuck in the window. Unlike Meta’s offering, regular users won’t be able to see any virtual environments (although you can still collaborate in custom apps like FreeForm). Meta’s big advantage over Apple was in capacity: Horizon Workrooms supports calls for up to 16 people in VR, as well as 34 more from other devices. Spatial Persona chats, on the other hand, are limited to five participants.

Apple Immersive VideoApple Immersive Video


No impulse for Immersive Video

Apple’s 180-degree Immersive Video format was one of the most impressive aspects of the Vision Pro when I looked at it last year, and several experiences during the launch were quite engaging. But the Immersive Video well has run dry since launch — the only new experience was a five-minute short showing the 2023 MLS Playoffs, which was mostly disappointing.

This short has so much resolution and depth that I actually felt like I was on the pitch, the MLS experience is distracting as it cuts out too often and has no sense of rhythm. Once you settle into a scene, perhaps watching someone prepare for a well-placed aim, the camera view changes and you don’t know where you are. It’s almost like a five-minute lesson on what not to do with Immersive Video. I hope MLS has a longer track record in things.

I don’t expect a tsunami of Immersive Video content, as the Vision Pro is still a prohibitively expensive device aimed at developers and professionals, but it would be nice to see more of a push from Apple. The company is mocking Another six-minute episode of Prehistoric Planet for the end of this month, but still not much. Where are the creators taking Immersive Video to new heights? While the content is difficult to work with because it’s shot in 3D and 8K, the format could be a perfect way for Apple to tout the benefits of its new chips.

Instead of more Immersive Videos, I spend more time reviewing Spatial Videos shot with the iPhone 15 Pro. They still look more realistic than 2D clips, but I don’t like the 1080p/30fps limitation. It’s hard to accept this resolution when I know my phone can produce sharp images at 4K and 60fps at the same time. The The $3 Spatialify app Unlocking 1080p/60fps and 4k/30fps spatial video capture helps a bit, but its footage is also shakier and more erratic than the iPhone’s internal camera. At this point, I’ll consider using Spatialify if my phone is on a tripod or gimbal, but otherwise I’ll use the native camera app.

Use with MacBook Air outside of Apple Vision ProUse with MacBook Air outside of Apple Vision Pro

Photo: Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

What’s next for Apple Vision Pro?

We’ll probably have to wait Apple’s WWDC 24 event in June Before we hear about bigger improvements to Vision Pro or visionOS. That would be fitting, since last year’s WWDC was the headset’s big debut (and a hell of a day for us trying to cover all the news). Now that the hardware is in the wild, Apple needs to convince developers that it’s worth building Vision Pro apps alongside their regular iOS, iPadOS, and macOS products. It’s not just some mythical spatial computing platform.

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