Make the most of the new Apple Vision Pro

Lovey Wymann

Lovey WymannJune 2023

Interview With Our Experts

You are all extremely excited about the Apple Vision Pro that was just introduced, and you seem to be bursting with ideas. Could you summarise for us what makes this headset and the related concept of spatial computing so spectacular?

Lukas Gauster: Absolutely! We believe that these goggles have the potential to change many aspects of our everyday lives and how we do business.

We witnessed the evolution from personal computing with the first Mac to mobile computing with the iPhone and wearable computing with the Apple Watch. With spatial computing, the next chapter is just beginning. The lines between our physical world and the digital world are beginning to blur, opening up countless new experiences and possible applications. And thanks to Apple’s Vision Pro, we can now use this technology in a high-quality, user-friendly, accessible way. Just imagine: You can now have people experience things instead of just describing them.

This comes with unprecedented opportunities, for business in particular: What if your customers could see a product in their own environment and interact with it before they make a purchase decision? Or if you could make real-time information and support available to your employees in their field of vision and their preferred environment to increase their productivity and efficiency? The possibilities are endless.

Everyone is talking about augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality. Could you explain what this is about and what the differences are?

Roman Haag: You are right, it is important to understand the different concepts because they will soon be used more often in our technology landscape. But before we start with these terms, I would like to touch on an overarching concept: spatial computing. This term was mentioned nine times in the Apple keynote, while virtual reality was not mentioned at all and augmented reality only once.

Spatial computing stands for a whole new generation of technologies that enable us to interact with the digital world by embedding it into our physical environment. This includes AR and VR but goes even further: While AR and VR first and foremost enhance our visual perception of the world, spatial computing allows us deeper interaction with and integration of digital elements into our everyday lives.

Spatial computing is about the seamless integration of physical and digital worlds. This opens up a whole new field of possibilities: Imagine if you could draw a virtual sketch into the room and interact with it as if it were real.

This new approach takes the digital experience to a new level and opens up endless possibilities for innovation in a variety of different industries – from education or entertainment to product development.

Could you explain the other terms as well?

Sure. Let’s start with virtual reality (VR): VR is an immersive experience where users dive into a completely digital world. So, if you use standard VR goggles, you can no longer see the real, physical environment and will only experience a computer-generated reality. VR is often used for games and simulations, but also for virtual tours and in training.

Augmented reality (AR), however, connects digital and real elements: Through the camera of a smartphone or VR goggles, we see the real work but at the same time also digital overlays or additions. The most well-known example of AR is the Pokémon Go app, where the characters appear in the context of the real world. AR is also seeing more and more applications in retail and industry, for instance, to provide information on products or maintain machines in real time.

And then there is mixed reality (MR), which is a hybrid between VR and AR: This is not just an overlay of the real and virtual worlds, but a new, mixed environment in which physical and digital objects coexist and interact in real time. This technology is often used for product visualisations, complex training situations or simulations. Apple showed some impressive examples in the keynote, in collaboration with both Disney and Unity.

What is special about Vision Pro is that the integration of the two worlds will be seamless and can be adjusted with the DigitalCrown, which is a dial on top of the headset.

So, you could say that all these technologies offer a form of enhanced reality in which our physical world is enriched in one way or another with digital information? And the main difference is how these technologies connect the physical and the digital world?

Marco Ghinolfi: Exactly! All these technologies have many different strengths and will deliver on this potential in different areas.

Could you elaborate on that?

Yes of course. We see huge potential in spatial computing, for instance. This enables users to see the real world, interact with it and overlay digital information at the same time. This enhanced, combined experience can enrich the interaction with the environment, improve learning processes and increase efficiency at work.

This is a nice segue into business processes, which can also be improved with the new technology: Whether you are in manufacturing, retail or healthcare, spatial computing can make processes more efficient. To give you an example: Mechanics can use an AR application when making repairs to access manuals and technical details on the device in real time. In retail, customers can use spatial computing to see how furniture would look in their own home before buying it.

And that is not all. In education and training, spatial computing offers a plethora of new opportunities: Complex information can be displayed in a comprehensible way and learning can become more interactive and memorable.

Immersive experiences with AR could also increase customer loyalty in future. If customers experience products in a life-like, interactive environment, they may spend more time in apps or on websites and buy more in the end.

See? Because it is so adaptable, spatial computing can be used in almost every field and every industry: AR can and will play a pivotal role, be it in marketing, production or services.

Sounds to me like we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg now, where the possibilities of spatial computing are concerned. Do you have any idea of how the technology might evolve and become integrated into our day-to-day life and the business world?

Martin Schawalder: Definitely! We have already talked about AR applications in business. But we also see potential applications in our personal lives: We will probably see an increased use of spatial computing in fields such as gaming, social media and even fitness or cooking. Apple also showed a few impressive examples in these fields in the keynote.

As we said earlier, we see enormous growth potential for spatial computing in fields like education, training and entertainment. I could imagine virtual classrooms in the future where pupils from all over the world get together, or virtual simulators that enable people to learn new skills in a safe and controlled environment.

We also touched on spatial computing, so a mix of AR and VR, as explained above. This will create immersive experiences we can barely imagine right now.

It feels like you are itching to get started and use and grow these technologies. Or are you already working with them?

Roman Haag: Of course, we are very excited and can hardly wait to harness the full potential of Apple’s Vision Pro and spatial computing. And the things we have seen are only the beginning: This week, Apple is hosting the WWDC, the annual Worldwide Developers Conference. We are on the edge of our seats, watching all the sessions and announcements to stay up to date and build our knowledge and skills. By the way, all the relevant content and updates are also available on the official WWDC website for anyone interested. WWDC23 Sessions.

What is even more exciting is that Apple intends to publish the software development kit (SDK) for VisionOS this month. More information on that is available to our readers from the official Apple developer page: Apple VisionOS.

As soon as the SDK becomes available, we want to start using it immediately to investigate all the exciting use cases spatial computing makes possible. We are curious about the new pathways about to open up to us and we look forward to embarking on this journey with you.

Could you be a little more specific?

Marco Ghinolfi: Sure! Just think of the possibilities in storytelling: AR and VR can help users better understand complex stories and events by being placed right in the middle of things.

Interactive infographics should also be a blessing: With AR, information can be embedded directly into the users’ physical environment and updated in real time, which enables users to interact with the data and explore it from different perspectives.

Another example is related to new work models: VR can support team building and social interaction. New employees or people who work remotely or are on a workcation could still participate in virtual team-building activities or interact with colleagues in the same room in a virtual environment.

And while we are on the topic of work: Have you ever heard of job shadowing? This refers to new employees virtually experiencing the perspective and tasks of senior colleagues. It helps them simulate different situations to better prepare for the real work.

We think that AR and VR will revolutionise education and training in general: Learning and training will become immersive, interactive and contextual. This will enable learners to not only acquire knowledge but to learn from ‘experience’ – in a safe and controlled environment simulating real life. Even complex concepts and processes can be visualised this way and become more comprehensible.

Okay, I get it: There is probably no way around these technologies!

Exactly. Because the nice thing about spatial computing is that it is very adaptable and can offer added value for almost every industry. And Apple’s Vision Pro seems to be lighter and more comfortable than everything we have seen so far. Plus, it comes with two impressive 4K screens and decent computing power (M2 and R1 chips), which means minimum lag and a completely new level of immersion.

Huh? What is lag?

Lag is a term that is used a lot in the world of video games and virtual reality. It refers to the delay between the execution of a command – this could be a movement of the user – and the result of the command becoming visible on the screen or in the VR environment. With AR goggles, having minimal lag is crucial to ensure an immersive and realistic experience.

If the digital information or the digital object you are looking at through the AR headset interacts seamlessly with your real movements and moves exactly when you do, it feels smooth and convincing. But if there is a noticeable lag, the result is less realistic – and it can even cause motion sickness for some people.

So, the minimal lag in Apple’s Vision Pro is a key factor contributing to the immersive experience these goggles will offer?

Exactly! This smooth, high-resolution experience promises to push the boundaries of what we have seen so far. Now you have to be quick and creative and use Vision Pro in a way that best fits with the specific needs and goals of your company.

Well, you sure have me convinced! What would be your recommendation to Unic customers or potential customers who are interested in using Apple’s Vision Pro or augmented reality technology for their business?

Martin Schawalder: Well, ideally, you should learn about AR so you can understand the underlying concepts and opportunities offered by these technologies. Visit conferences, attend workshops and read the literature.

And then, it pays off to bring in experts early to identify the needs and goals of the company together with their support: What are the challenges your company is facing and how could spatial computing help you master them? Look around: How are other companies in your industry using AR and VR? And of course: Ask us! We have a vast network and may know of similar applications already under development.

What we definitely do NOT recommend is to wait and see what others do with the technology. That way, you may miss the boat and others will stake out the best ideas...

It’s clear that you are more than ready for new challenges! Thank you for your time, Lukas, Marco, Roman and Martin.

Would you like to share in the excitement of our experts?

Contact us for an initial brainstorming session and find out what the Apple Vision Pro or spatial computing can offer your company.

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