- Apple unveiled its first mixed-reality headset, the Apple Vision Pro, on Monday.
- Tim Cook took the stage at Apple's WWDC conference to make the big announcement.
- The release is seven years in the making and it's the first major product line since the Apple Watch.
After years of rumors and reports, Apple's big new product is finally here.
Apple revealed its first mixed-reality headset, the Apple Vision Pro, during the company's annual keynote at the Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday.
It represents Apple's first major product release since the Apple Watch was announced in 2014. The company has been working on the headset for about seven years and iterations of the device have morphed over the years from simple glasses to ski goggle-like headset that Apple announced on Monday. The company has also faced setbacks after delaying its release in 2019 and 2022, according to The Information.
Apple's Vision Pro most immediately differentiating feature is a screen on the front of the device that is called "EyeSight," which shows the eyes and face of the person wearing the device — something no other headset on the market offers, including Meta's Quest lineup.
When the headset detects someone else is nearby, it'll populate the outer display with your face.
When you're using an app, it'll change to reflect that your attention is elsewhere.
The headset is controlled by a combination of hand and finger gestures, eye-tracking, and voice.
When wearing the device, you can also use a "Digital Crown" dial to switch between the virtual environment and real world.
Apple enters a tough market nobody has cracked yet
Apple faces an uphill battle by entering a headset market that multiple tech companies and startups have struggled in historically.
However, the company has a strong track record of entering new product categories at the right time and finding success with best-in-class design, splashy marketing, and compelling features that drive adoption.
Apple has internally projected that the product will eventually grow to be as significant as the iPad or Apple Watch, Bloomberg reported. Though, it could take time for the pricey product to develop a market. Meta, which sells a variety of virtual reality headsets, has recorded billions of dollars in operating losses from its Reality Labs division. Earlier this year, the company took as much as $500 off the price of its headsets, following mixed reviews and "underwhelming sales," The Verge reported.
What's more, some Apple employees that have worked on the headset have expressed doubts about the device, including its price and whether it fits into the company's brand, The New York Times reported earlier this year.
Ultimately, Apple is set to go head-to-head with Meta, the current market leader for standalone headsets.
Mark Zuckerberg announced Meta's latest headset, the Quest 3, just four days prior to Apple's release. The device is part of Zuckerberg's plans to pivot his social media company to focus on the metaverse. The Meta CEO said it will go on sale in the fall and with a starting price of $499. The Facebook cofounder has said in the past that Meta is in "deep philosophical competition" with Apple when it comes to building the metaverse.
This is a developing story… Check back for updates.