3 Parts the Future of Personal Computing, 1 Part Black Mirror Dystopia

Apple’s newly unveiled Vision Pro mixed reality headset is garnering a lot of attention and some very mixed reviews. Our Head of Mobile, Adam Swinden, shares his thoughts:

As an iOS developer and self-confessed Apple fanboy, I’ve been following (and on occasion attending) WWDC for over a decade. But Apple’s latest keynote was the first time since the launch of the original iPhone in 2007 that I felt like I was witnessing something truly special. Apple’s remarkable advancements in the Apple Vision Pro demonstrate their ability to tackle the challenges associated with transitioning to a new computing paradigm. With features like the highly accurate eye-tracking, hand gesture tracking without the need for separate controllers, seamless manipulation of UI elements, and voice based text entry, it appears that Apple has addressed many of the intricate technical hurdles. Impressions from individuals fortunate enough to have hands-on experience with the headset align with Apple’s claims, with many noting that the immersive experience is as captivating as advertised and the device itself feels naturally intuitive to use.

However, while Apple’s unveiling of the new Apple Vision Pro showcased an exciting future of personal computing, it also invoked a few eerie elements that could have been straight out of an episode of Black Mirror. One particular demo caught my attention. It showcased the ability to take 3D videos using the Apple Vision Pro headset. However, what struck me was the portrayal of a father wearing the headset, seemingly disconnected from his children playing in front of him. It was a misstep in the presentation, as it unintentionally highlighted the potential negative consequences of such technology. Subtle adjustments, like having the children showing off a talent or saying “are you ready, Dad?” to show some form of interaction through the headset would have made a difference in avoiding this eerie feeling.

man wearing Vision Pro headset whilst interacting with two children

Despite this disconcerting moment, it seems evident to me that the Apple Vision Pro and other mixed reality headsets represent the next step in personal computing. As Apple and its competitors will continue to miniaturise the technology, these headsets will become more comfortable and affordable. Just imagine the convenience of having an array of scalable screens available, freeing us from the limitations of fixed displays on laptops or desktops. The remarkable aspect is that you can still remain connected with your colleagues, family, or others present in your physical surroundings while enjoying this immersive experience. I don’t envision a future where we spend our entire days isolated from reality, consumed by headsets. Instead, I see mixed reality headsets as a clear improvement over spending our days confined to a monitor and our evenings fixated on a TV. This leap in technology will likely revolutionise how we interact with digital content.

The sports industry stands to benefit immensely from the advancements in mixed reality headsets. Apple showed off plenty of immersive examples of movies and gaming on the Vision Pro, but sports seems like the natural third pillar of entertainment that would be right at home on the Vision Pro. Imagine being able to experience pitch-side views of matches and highlights from the comfort of your own home, with immersive 3D visuals bringing the game to life. Additionally, augmented reality elements could provide real-time statistics, replays, and additional content seamlessly integrated into the viewing experience. This level of interactivity will undoubtedly enhance fan engagement and provide a new dimension to sports broadcasting.

American football game viewed through Vision Pro headset

While the eerie elements during Apple’s presentation may have invoked thoughts of a dystopian future, where we all wander around with our faces obscured by headsets, it is essential to remember that technology often appears quite alien when first conceived. It’s fascinating to recall that back in 2007, Steve Jobs introduced the original iPhone, highlighting its three key features: a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone, and a breakthrough Internet communications device. At that time, few could have predicted that it would be the latter feature that would shape the future of mobile computing.

As someone deeply entrenched in the world of iOS development and a self-proclaimed Apple aficionado, I find myself optimistic about the future that lies ahead. It is through thoughtful exploration, innovation, and responsible implementation that we can truly shape a future where technology enhances our lives and brings us exciting new experiences. The launch of the Apple Vision Pro marks a significant milestone in personal computing and I, for one, am eagerly awaiting the day when I can experience its potential firsthand.