Apple’s VR headset has a 2-hour battery life and costs $3,499

After years of speculation, Apple has officially released its version of a virtual and augmented reality headset called the Apple Vision Pro. Apple CEO Tim Cook called the product a “spatial computer” and strategically avoided the word “metaverse” by unveiling the device at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in Cupertino, California.

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Cook’s presentation showed various uses of the Vision Pro, including intense movie watching, video gaming and simple computing tasks such as accessing an Internet browser. Apple claims users can control the device intuitively through eye contact, as well as hand gestures and voice dictation.

The company plans to adapt hundreds of apps from the iOS App Store for the headset, including an updated version of FaceTime that creates an avatar of the user’s face and a “persona” for video conferencing.

The Vision Pro will be available in the US in early 2024 and other countries later next year.

How much does the Apple Vision Pro cost?

The glasses are sleek and significantly slimmer than competing headsets, but still have some limitations inherent in the new technology. The headset’s battery only lasts about two hours — similar to the battery life of the popular Meta Quest headset — and it’s still primarily a vehicle for apps designed for laptop and phone flat screens.

The main difference to the competition is the Vision Pro’s stunning price. Apple confirmed the headset will cost $3,499, which is well above the current price of $999 for the top-of-the-line Meta Quest. The decision is in line with Apple’s well-known strategy of building on its brand loyalty and offering products at a higher price point than the competition.

Disney CEO Bob Iger made a surprise appearance at the conference and announced that the media company would integrate Disney+ functionality into the headset, allowing users to visit a Disney virtual world through their headsets.

The biggest winner from Apple’s announcement? Unity software

Unity Software, a 3D software and gaming company, rose 17% after Apple announced Unity’s video game technology would power the Apple Vision Pro headset. It was the stock’s biggest single jump since its IPO in 2020 and caused a brief halt in Unity trading.

“We know there’s a community of developers who have been building incredible 3D apps for years,” said Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of global developer relations, at the WWDC conference.

“Today we’re excited to announce that we’ve partnered with Unity to bring these apps to Vision Pro, giving popular Unity-based games and apps full access to VisionOS features like passthrough, high-resolution rendering, and native gestures can .”

Apple stock wasn’t quite as reactive, up just 1.45% at the close after hitting an all-time high earlier in the day.

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