While VR still remains a niche for most consumers, Apple isn't afraid to market its premium Apple Vision Pro headset as a "spatial computing" device worthy of your purchase. But while it may seem fairly niche right now, it could potentially be the next iPhone a few years down the line, so it gives us a glimpse into the future.
The Apple Vision Pro reviews paint it as an expensive device with few available apps and a pretty middling battery life. However, it's certainly not the first headset like this on the market, and it won't be the last. The best VR headsets list seems to be growing each passing year, and we imagine Apple, and its rivals, aren't done just yet.
Let's say you got a time machine, that only had one destination - 2006. Smartphones were, of course, starting to grow, but no single company had a smartphone that could dominate the market, forcing the classic keyboard and brick mobiles out. However, in January 2007, Apple announced the iconic original iPhone, which pretty much changed everything.
While some are still trying to bring back the original mobile phones, such as the Clicks keyboard case for iPhone, but I think we can all agree that smartphones are pretty much required nowadays. A device that's a camera, a TV, an iPod, a phone - all in one fairly small box - has become a staple of our society.
Am I really saying that the Apple Vision Pro is the next iPhone? No. It's expensive, runs out of battery too fast, and unlike a small little device that fits nicely in your pockets, you'll probably be judged wearing the Apple Vision Pro as you walk your dog. However, it's hard to imagine a future where these headsets aren't a more common technology.
One of the biggest things Apple has been advertising with the Vision Pro is the Travel Mode, something Meta is even copying for the Quest 3. Imagine being on a plane for business, and instead of using a tiny screen to watch a movie or show, you place a VR headset on your head, and are instantly transported into a 3D movie, something which Apple Vision Pro is attempting to revive.
Is that worth spending a small fortune on alone? Absolutely not. And as other competitors attempt to take Apple's spotlight away from them, which some Vision Pro clones are already trying to do, different products will try to compete by having lower prices, and these exciting headsets will become more common place.
Once again, movies on plane flights is still a small potential for what these devices could do. If you're like me, you may be wondering whether you missed a spot when vacuuming your home. Or, maybe after taking that flight to a distant country and going for some lunch, a language barrier stops you from ordering your favourite meal. These are both fairly common everyday hassles that could be helped by putting on your Apple Vision Pro 3 or whatever it is called five years from now.
But, actually, these are things that you can do now with VR headsets.
For example, the Navi app for Apple Vision Pro will show speech bubbles for anyone across from you, translating their language, letting you communicate. Or the fact that an experimental app by Daniel Beauchamp lets you see where you haven't vacuumed yet via Quest 3. And I think Beauchamp's messages between himself and UploadVR really summarise why I think these headsets are the future.
Speaking to UploadVR, Beauchamp states that "So many people are like “why would I buy a device to do this”. His response? “You don’t buy a device to do this. You have a device that you already use on the regular, and suddenly you can augment things around you".
His example of not buying a phone to just set alarms, but using it for that regularly sticks with me. I'm not buying a "spatial computing" headset simply because I want to watch Dune in immersive 3D, or because I want to see some of my videos from my £1,000+ smartphone on a £3,500 headset. It's because I know it'll help me complete chores in an interesting way, or monitor cooking times when I'm making a meal, and hopefully, let me play VR games too.
These mixed reality headsets aren't the future because they change our lives drastically. But rather, they have the potential to make life easier, and I think that's pretty exciting.