June 5, 2023

Apple Vision Pro is the end of a wait but the start of an era

A woman wearing the Apple Vision Pro

When we set up ARCADE back in 2016, we knew we wanted to combine our expertise in digital experience with our passion for real-world environments, though initially we weren’t sure how. It was Tim Cook’s conviction about the power of augmented reality that helped us realise AR was the answer, and is why it has been at the core of our business from the very start.

Every year since then we have been waiting for Apple to unveil the AR wearable that would confirm their intention to lead the next digital revolution towards spatial computing. The longer the wait went on, the more we began to wonder if he and his company would ever actually do it – but after today’s announcement it seems the wait is finally at an end.

As has often been their way in the past, from desktops and laptops to mp3 players and mobile phones, Apple are far from the first-movers in mixed reality headsets. But they have proven time and again that doing it right – meaning both functionality and form – is more important than doing it first.

Even at an eye-watering $3,499, the injection of intrigue and attention the Vision Pro will bring to the XR industry is going to kick-start an entirely new phase of growth to an already burgeoning sector. In some ways the past few months have seen a rare plateau or even a dip in the hype surrounding XR, driven primarily by uncertainty around the Meta-driven ‘metaverse’, with some commentators even going so far as to write its obituary. Though we at ARCADE have never been enamoured by the m-word, Apple have just proven that, far from dying off, XR is only just getting going.

Apple’s entry into an already developing XR headset market should act as a signal to every other competitor that they are doing something right. From Meta’s new Quest 3 to the brilliantly affordable Zapbox by our friends at Zappar and everything in between, Apple of course have designs on domination, but the Vision Pro will be the making of the wearables market to the benefit of all.

The high price plus the fact we are all going to have to wait at least six months to try it for ourselves means that, as Tim said, “this is just the start”. But make no mistake: after being at the forefront of every digital consumer milestone for the past 30 years, Apple just officially started the era of spatial computing, and it’s going to change everything.

Well done Tim, we knew you’d get there in the end.

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