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Apple announces Vision Pro augmented reality headset, priced at $3,499

It’s coming in early 2024

Cameron Faulkner (he/him) is Polygon’s commerce editor. He began writing about tech and gaming in 2013, and migrated from The Verge in 2023.

After years of rumors suggesting that Apple would launch a virtual reality headset, that reality has arrived. Apple CEO Tim Cook debuted the high-end Vision Pro augmented reality headset at the WWDC 2023 keynote on Monday, of which it was the highlight announcement.

Apple’s Vision Pro headset will be released in early 2024, starting at a whopping $3,499. Our sibling site The Verge has first-look impressions with the Vision Pro.

Like the Meta Quest, the Vision Pro is a stand-alone headset running on its own platform, visionOS. However, it doesn’t operate with typical VR/AR controllers; it relies on users’ eye movement, hand tracking, and voice to navigate its interface. The Vision Pro has bottom-mounted cameras that allow it to track small hand gestures.

The Vision Pro has an intriguing design that borrows elements from Apple’s other products. For instance, the Digital Crown used to control the opacity of your augmented view first appeared on the Apple Watch, albeit for a completely different purpose. Its most impressive (and conversation-starting) design feature is its glass-covered exterior that can display your eyes when there’s a person nearby. If you’re busy while using the Vision Pro, onlookers will see a preview of your content laid over your eyes.

Someone using the Apple Vision Pro augmented reality headset. Image: Apple

You can use apps created for the Vision Pro, or use it to connect to your Mac wirelessly. The headset is able to show a 4K display of your Mac’s screen on its headset, if you’d prefer to work that way. Notably, the Vision Pro doesn’t have a built-in battery; instead of trying to pack one in, which would have expanded its size and weight, the battery is external, and can be tucked in your pocket. Its battery can power the headset for up to two hours. Alternatively, it can be powered by your Mac.

Apple spent a lot of time talking about how the Vision Pro could become a big deal in the workspace, with its ability to show multiple screens, including FaceTime in augmented reality, within your room. To others in the FaceTime call, you’ll be represented as a “Persona” (not to be confused with the Atlus RPG series) that’s computationally generated with its internal cameras.

The Apple Vision Pro augmented reality headset. Image: Apple

The Vision Pro can also let you get immersed with movies and TV shows; the headset can dim the surrounding field of view to make it look like you’re in a movie theater. It’s also compatible with 3D movies, for all of you Avatar fans. Relatedly, Disney CEO Bob Iger appeared during Apple’s keynote to share that a special version of Disney Plus will be available on the Vision Pro that provides a vastly more info-rich experience, whether you’re watching sports or Star Wars.

In terms of gaming, the Vision Pro will be compatible with over 100 Apple Arcade games at launch, and it can connect to game controllers like Sony’s DualSense controller. With gaming, you can position and resize the game screen to your liking within any room you’re in. Thanks to its ability to connect with your Mac, you’ll be able to view other games through it, too, assuming your Mac is powerful enough to run them.

The Vision Pro features Apple’s M2 processor — the same one used in its latest laptops and desktops. While Apple didn’t make any bold claims in terms of gaming performance, the headset’s hardware should be more than capable enough at running some games that are on Mac. And your games, or whatever else you’ll be watching on this $3,499 headset, should look great. Apple talked up the headset’s micro OLED displays, which it claims are the size of a postage stamp, and lenses that make it feel like you’re fully surrounded by your content.

Gaming played a fairly small role in Apple’s debut of the Vision Pro, likely to the delight of companies who exist solely to produce gaming VR headsets. However, Apple showed that it’s working to bolster the gaming scene on the Mac at WWDC. Hideo Kojima announced that Death Stranding Director’s Cut will be coming later this year. And earlier this week, developers of games like Stray and No Man’s Sky announced Mac ports.

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