Is Apple Vision Pro an AR or VR headset?


Apple Vision Pro AR or VR - AN image of a lady using the headset
Credit: Apple

As we approach the release date of the Apple Vision Pro, one common question among those interested in the headset is: Is Apple Vision Pro AR or VR?

This confusion arises partly because Apple positions the device not strictly under the traditional categories of AR or VR, but rather as a "spatial computer." This terminology aims to reflect the innovative approach of blending digital and physical realms.

This guide aims to demystify the technology behind the Apple Vision Pro, clarifying whether it aligns more closely with AR or VR paradigms. While you are here, make sure you check the Apple Vision Pro optimised apps list.

Is Apple Vision Pro AR or VR?

The Apple Vision Pro is technically a VR headset that simulates AR experiences by capturing the real world with cameras and integrating it with digital content to seem like it's overlaying information directly onto the user's view of the real world, despite actually being displayed on a screen.

To provide a clearer understanding, let's delve into VR and AR. In simple terms, VR creates a completely digital environment that replaces the user's real-world surroundings. AR, on the other hand, layers computer-generated content onto the real world, enhancing but not replacing the user's real-world environment.

For the Apple Vision Pro, its approach involves using cameras to capture the surrounding environment and project it onto the user's view, creating a mixed-reality experience. This technique allows users to see and interact with digital content superimposed on the real world, as seen through the headset's screens.

Whereas, pure AR headsets such as HoloLens, Magic Leap, or Google Glass overlay digital content directly onto the user's view of the real world through transparent or semi-transparent displays. This allows for direct interaction with both physical and digital elements without intermediation by cameras.

To summarise, the Apple Vision Pro aligns more closely with the concept of a VR headset than an AR headset, although it simulates AR experiences. Therefore, at its core, it is fundamentally a VR headset, not an AR headset. The term "mixed-reality" accurately encapsulates what the Apple Vision Pro is.

With that, we are wrapping up our guide on whether Apple Vision Pro is an AR or VR headset. If you are planning to pre-order the VR headset, make sure you check out the battery life, FOV, and refresh rate of Apple Vision Pro.

For more articles like this, take a look at our VR, AR, and Apple pages.