Apple is famous for how it approaches the releases of its new technology. It’s never really the first in the game, but when it does design and release a new product, it swings for the fences. This was the case with the iPhone, the iPad, and EarPods, and now it’s shaping up to repeat with Apple’s new AR headset, the Vision Pro. Illustrating what could be a significant leap up over the competition, the Vision Pro represents immense potential, but how could this potentially affect the way you experience entertainment?
What is the Vision Pro?
The Vision Pro is what is called an augmented reality (AR) headset. Unlike virtual reality (VR) headsets which display entirely digital landscapes, AR works to overlay real life with digital elements. These elements can take any form imaginable, acting on a spectrum of helpful tools to entirely entertainment-driven creations. We’re looking at the latter, where, as Ars Technica reports, the Vision Pro’s processing power and comfortable form factor place it above the competition.
What Could the Vision Pro Do?
Basic applications of entertainment systems for the Vision Pro could be a simple replacement for existing screen technology. For example, the Vision Pro could act as a replacement for a computer monitor or TV screen, though this level of use does undercut the device’s potential. Traditional TV and monitors already accomplish this task at lower costs and higher quality, so unless you’re wanting for space, an AR replacement here isn’t the best fit.
Instead, the most promise in AR comes from its ability to offer unique interactive experiences. The most obvious form this could take would be through video games built specifically with AR in mind. Game Designing notes that many of these games already exist, but AR so far has been limited in pushing the envelope. Most existing AR games are built for phones, not headsets, so they barely scratch the surface of what truly immersive AR could do.
With AR games built for headsets like the Vision Pro, AR would become infinitely more immersive. AR objects would appear in the real world, not at arm’s length on a phone screen, and this is the crux of what makes headset-style systems impressive. There is an issue in that Apple systems offer poor support for traditional gaming experiences, but this isn’t the case for all forms of interactive entertainment.
Web games like those available on Buzz Bingo are built on HTML5 and related systems, which are fully supported by Apple hardware. With some adaption, this means that bingo games like Flash Bingo and Cash Cubes alongside slots like Fishin’ Reels and Rainbow Riches could make amazing entries into the AR space. These already work perfectly on mobiles, desktops, and laptops, so taking them to AR would be just another step along the way. The opportunity to physically see a machine in your place of play would represent a huge step forward for the industry, and it’s just a matter of time before this tech takes off.
The Vision Pro isn’t cheap, costing £1,199 for the most basic unit. While this cost might be too much for casual entertainment enthusiasts, its success could drive the development of cheaper options to the market. One killer app could be all modern headset AR needs, and that’s more a matter of when than if. It might not be worth buying a unit on launch day for most of us, but keep an eye out, and the offerings of headset AR in entertainment could soon be worth taking a leap.