Apple has recently launched its first augmented-reality headset, the Apple Vision Pro, at its annual software developer conference. This move marks the tech giant’s first foray into a new product category since the introduction of the Apple Watch nine years ago. The device is described by Apple CEO Tim Cook as “spatial computing,” controlled by your eyes, hands, and voice. It is the first Apple product you look through, not at. This product launch puts Apple in direct competition with Facebook-owner Meta Platforms, which has been pushing its vision of a “metaverse” where people can meet virtually to work, play, and spend.
The Apple Vision Pro launch is a significant move for the tech giant, as it enters a market crowded with devices that have yet to gain traction with consumers. Investors and tech fans alike are focused on how much Apple’s view of the virtual reality market overlaps with Meta’s. Shares of the iPhone maker rose 2% to hit a record high of $184.95 ahead of the launch. In contrast, Intel shares fell by almost 4% after Apple dropped Intel chips from its most powerful desktop.
Apple did not make any major announcements about generative AI products similar to ChatGPT or Google’s Bard search engine, but it quietly imbued several smaller features with AI, such as live transcriptions of voicemails. The company also announced a 15-inch MacBook Air powered by an Apple-designed M2 processor chip. The laptop with six speakers will start at $1,299 (€1,212). Meanwhile, the 13-inch MacBook Air will drop to $1,099.
Apple updated its Mac Studio desktop machine, saying its new M2 Ultra chip can process artificial intelligence work that rival chips do not have enough memory to handle. The company also introduced a new version of the Mac Pro, its highest-performing desktop, with an M2 Ultra chip and a price tag starting at $6,999. The M2 Ultra chip is essentially two of Apple’s largest M2 chips bonded together, a similar approach Apple took to boosting the performance of its M1 chips. Until now, the Mac Pro was the last computer in Apple’s lineup that still used an Intel chip.
The updates combine improvements to high-end machines aimed at the developer crowd at Monday’s event with tweaks to messaging and a new Mac Air aimed at a much broader group of customers, including potential switchers to Apple. Apple introduced small improvements to its iOS software, some aimed at small annoyances like a NameDrop feature. Apple said it was improving autocorrect on iPhone keyboards.
The Apple Vision Pro launch is an exciting development for Apple, as it enters a market with a lot of potential for growth. The headset is part of Apple’s plan to expand into new product categories and diversify its revenue streams. While it remains to be seen how successful the Apple Vision Pro will be, it is clear that the company is committed to innovating and pushing the boundaries of what is possible with technology. With the launch of this new product, Apple is set to compete head-to-head with Meta Platforms and other tech companies in the virtual reality and augmented reality space.