Source: Twitter | Apple
When it comes to throwing a launch party, nobody does it quite like Apple.
The tech giant spends tens of millions of dollars every year to put on its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), which has become known as a new product launchpad going back to 2002 when Steve Jobs put Mac OS 9 to rest in a coffin on stage and introduced Jaguar, a major release of OS X.
This year’s event had plenty of buzz surrounding it before it kicked off yesterday with Apple CEO Tim Cook promising, “Today we are going to be making some of our biggest announcements ever!” The keynote kickoff has been viewed over 10.7 million times on YouTube in under 24 hours.
Much of the anticipation leading up to the conference came from reports from The Wall Street Journal, CNBC and others claiming Apple was ready to introduce its first mixed-reality headset. The reports proved largely correct, as Mr. Cook talked about Apple’s new Vision Pro headset in terms of it being a revolutionary technological advancement.
“In the same way that Mac introduced us to personal computing and iPhone introduced us to mobile computing, Apple Vision Pro will introduce us to spatial computing,” said Mr. Cook.
Apple’s presentation makes clear that Vision Pro is a platform and not just a pricey device that will roll out next year with an opening price of $3,499. The WWDC presentation spoke about the new visionOS that allows users to navigate through apps with their eyes, flick their fingers to scroll and tap to select. Voice recognition enables users to speak to dictate. Bluetooth-enabled keyboards allow users to type emails and documents.
The tech giant, falling back on Mr. Jobs’ admonition to communicate with feelings instead of product features, said the new operating system and headset were “like magic” as part of a nine-plus minute introductory video.
The initial largely positive technical reviews coming from Ars Technica, Engadget, Wired, TechCrunch, PCMag and others pointed to the Apple-consistent quality of the new device but also pointed out realities that may keep it from moving into the mainstream, including the limitations of the headset design and its price.
Wired writes that the Vision Pro “experience can be remarkable and surreal” but concludes, “Even Apple can’t out-design its way out of what is fundamentally an obtrusive technology.”
A Mashable article includes social media posts that throw shade at Vision Pro for the charging wire attached to the headset, the appearance of people wearing the device and the unit’s price.