Apple reveals augmented reality goggles Vision Pro in first new product launch in years

Apple is making a bold bet by entering an already difficult market but the Vision Pro won't come cheap, ITV News Consumer Correspondent Neil Connery reports

Apple has revealed a long-rumoured set of augmented reality goggles allowing users to interact with apps with just their eyes in its first new product launch since the AirPods in 2016.

After years of speculation, Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled the new Vision Pro on Monday at Apple’s annual developer's conference on a park-like campus in California.

Mr Cook called the device "revolutionary" and said it was "the first product you look through, not at."

Apple is hoping to recreate its lineage of breakthroughs dating back to the first Mac in 1984, the iPod in 2001, the iPhone in 2007, the iPad in 2010, the Apple Watch in 2014 and its AirPods in 2016.

The Vision Pro prices will start at $3,499 (£2,814) and will be available in the US early next year - with the rest of the world getting access a few months later.

What does it do?

The device, which resembles a pair of ski goggles, features a glass 23-million-pixel screen which covers the upper face and is controlled using the wearer’s eyes, hands and voice.

It enables what Apple calls “spatial computing” – where the wearer can interact with digital content “just like it’s in your physical space.”

Users will be able to summon a familiar interface in front of their faces to access apps or watch videos.

Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed the Vision Pro on Monday. Credit: AP

Apple's announcement video showed users wearing the goggles and moving apps around the room they were sitting in.

It also showed a user watching a film occupying a huge area of the room, far larger than a normal screen.

How does it work?

As the goggles are controlled by a person's eyes, voice and hands, no controller or touchscreen is necessary.

People can look at the app they wish to use, and then tap their fingers to select it.

The Vision Pro will be available next year. Credit: AP

The goggles will clear a user's view when someone else comes nearby, both clearing the interface from the user's vision and clearing the goggles allowing eye contact.

Mr Cook also shared the stage with Disney CEO Bog Iger who announced Disney+ would be available on the platform.

The headset features built-in speakers and attaches using an adjustable headband, while a wire leads from the device to a battery pack which sits in the user’s pocket.

Vents draw in air to cool the device down, rendering it “virtually silent”, Apple claimed.

Could it go wrong?

Despite the presentation video going out of its way to show that the Vision Pro could be useful in all aspects of life, augmented reality technology has struggled for years to have a broad appeal.

If the new device turns out to be a niche product, it would leave Apple in the same bind as other major tech companies and startups that have tried selling headsets or glasses equipped with augmented reality technology.

Facebook owners Meta, Google and Microsoft have all had limited success with their versions of virtual reality and visual augmentation technology.

Similar headsets have remained an exclusive item for technology enthusiasts and video gamers looking to enhance their experience due to their high costs.

Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives said he expects the company to sell just 150,000 units during the device’s first year on the market - a tiny amount compared to its other sales.

By comparison, Apple sells more than 200 million of its marquee iPhones a year.

But the iPhone wasn’t an immediate sensation, with sales of fewer than 12 million units in its first full year on the market.

Apple also announced the latest models of two high-end computer lines, the Mac Studio and Mac Pro, will be powered by a company-designed chip that has already been available in less expensive Macs.

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