What’s if #Apple is successful in popularising #SpatialComputing? Not about #AR, #VR or even XR, not focusing on being “reality”. But being a computing tool to help us with whatever we do in our own space, an ultimate mobile computing platform.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/tim-cook-apple-vision-pro

https://www.pcmag.com/how-to/what-is-spatial-computing-a-basic-explainer

Near the end of the VanityFair article, “When I take it off, every other device feels flat and boring”. That can be “worrying”, but also the expected result if Apple is successful with Vision Pro. Just like everyone is now hooked on smartphone everywhere. It took less than 15 years, maybe 10 or so, for everyone to be fully hooked on smartphones. Yes, Vision Pro might be more difficult as it is somewhere much more intrusive, but you can bet on it that battery life is be 5-6x better in 10 years, lighter in weight, etc, in 10 years.

Another video by Casey Neistat kinds of have the same message, “after a couple of hours… brain clicked… just forgot… looking through camera and screens… took what it saw as reality…”.

Sure, Zuck claimed that Quest 3 is a better product, not just value for money, but generally. With more apps, similar features, eye tracking, pass through, no tethered battery pack, lighter headset, etc. But I think he missed the key point. Mixed Reality Realism. And it is a lot to do with the pass through latency. Which is very hard to do. Full colour pass-through is still relatively new on Quest Pro and Quest 3. And still far from the “meaningful latency” of around 20 milliseconds. Quest 3/Pro only got the pass-through latency to 35-40 milliseconds. But Apple Vision Pro got it down to about 11 (quoted 12 by Apple), well under the 20 needed to feel natural. No saying that there aren’t any other measures to the quality of pass-through images, but latency is a key factor, check out this video from Microsoft Research.

Spatial Computing might also take a while for people to get used to. With the ability to place the apps or 3D objects in different locations around the house accurately and come back to it later.

Another way to look at it is. iPhone pushed the smartphone market ahead, “killed” (or just upgraded) all the dumb phones together with Android. But not only that, it killed off a few other tech devices, reference the iPhone launch by Steve Jobs, digital camera, music player, GPS, Palm, etc. But the ultimate mobile “computing” device has always been the wrist watch. Which Apple actually also “killed”, again, together with Android. The same pattern, Fitbit took some credit as a great health tracker, Apple took over and popularised it.

Now it might not seem like it, other than wearing clothes, which I don’t think Apple will be getting into fashion yet. The only remaining “device” or just item which we use regularly as a population is eye glasses. (I am skipping over the special needs, which I am sure can also be well assisted by tech.) Will Apple, together with Android, help to revolutionise this final class of device/item? We will know in about 5-10 years.

A side note, I am worried about Android doing this. Apple spent so much time to ensure of privacy and protection of users, Android, not about Google, but it’s much more open and too hard to control who should have low level access to everything you see and feel in your space. EU and US are leaving these to mostly tech illiterate senators/politicians to protect you, we do need a new generation to shape these policies, globally. Not saying that closed system, all handled by Apple is the only choice. But at least they have the right incentive structure in place to know that they can’t mess around with users who pay/vote with their hard earned cash.

It should be obvious by now that previous gen of AR/VR glasses failed, not only on the technical innovations, but the chosen market. They all mainly focused on gaming, which is not a small market, but not wide enough for general use. And this is again, another example on how Apple typically wins, Vision Pro is fully capable for AR/VR gaming by having close ties with Unity, but the wider usage, video content with Apple TV+, Disney, your own content with iPhone Pro Max spatial videos, the direct connection to Macs, etc. Will suddenly give you more reason to keep the headset on for longer. And the passthrough mode from day one, took the VR headsets a few years a decade ago to include that, only in Pico 4 and new Quest 3, you can say that pass through is barely useable. But Vision Pro truly enabled you with the option of not taking it off. Some reviewers already said they can leave the device on for the full battery cycle without it. I haven’t heard of any initial/early Quest or HTC users that braved hours of usage in one go.

Reference:
https://vrx.vr-expert.com/the-differences-between-quest-1-and-2/
First Gen of Oculus is only 1440×1600 per eye, and weights 503g. Pico 4 is currently the best bang for buck VR headset out there, with 2160×2160 per eye and weights 295g.