Apple took the wraps off its highly anticipated mixed reality headset on Monday in a video presentation at its World Wide Developers Conference on the Apple campus in Cupertino, California.

The $3,499 Apple Vision Pro headset won’t be available until next year, but promises to usher in a new era of “spatial computing.”

“This is a hugely important product in the history of computing,” declared Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, a technology advisory firm in San Jose, California.

“Apple gave us a Mac with a graphical interface,” he told TechNewsWorld. “Then it gave us the iPhone with pocket computing. It gave us the iPad with tablet computing.”

“Each one broke new ground,” he continued. “Now it’s giving the world another new interface with gestures, eye tracking and speech recognition.”

“The technology surpasses anything we’ve seen,” he said. “There isn’t a headset in the virtual reality world that comes close to this. It’s a full computer in a headset.”

Best-in-class hardware

The Vision Pro, which looks like a pair of ski goggles, is packed with technology, including sensors that enable a user to control a virtual display with their eyes, hands and voice, and a 3D camera.

Apple Vision Pro Headset with Battery

The Apple Vision Pro is designed for high-performance tasks and is capable of working for up to two hours on a single charge. (Image credit: Apple)

Eric Abbruzzese, director of research at ABI Research, a technology advisory firm headquartered in Oyster Bay, NY, said, “It looks like it will comfortably take the place as the best hardware in its category, certainly, to match With a price point.”

“Eye tracking, dedicated silicon, high pixel density screens, and substantial sensor arrays all make for great value for a VR headset,” he told TechNewsWorld. “I don’t believe there is a headset as feature complete as the Vision Pro, but the price highlights why it is.”

“It’s also interesting that the device has the Pro moniker as a first gen product – there’s usually at least one iteration of a ‘normal’ device before the Pro branding hits, but it looks like that ‘normal’ product This has been deliberately allowed to slot in with the Pro both in price and performance,” he said.

The long-awaited product lived up to expectations, said Mark N. Vena, president and principal analyst at SmartTech Research in San Jose, Calif.

“It’s a spatial computer that you wear on your head,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Vena said Apple demonstrated several compelling use cases for the device, ranging from viewing entertainment and games to enhancing productivity to extending the desktop through virtual displays.

Apple VisionOS for Vision Pro

The VisionOS spatial operating system lets Vision Pro users experience digital content that blends into the user’s physical world. (Image credit: Apple)

the excitement of disney

Disney CEO Robert A. Iger, who appeared at the Apple presentation, was enthusiastic about the Vision Pro.

“We are constantly looking for new ways to entertain, inform and inspire our fans, combining great technology with exceptional creativity to create truly remarkable experiences,” he added. “And we believe Apple Vision Pro is a revolutionary platform that can make our vision a reality.”

“The first time I tried Apple Vision Pro, what impressed me most was how it allowed us to bring our fans closer to their favorite characters and create deeply personal experiences to immerse them more deeply in our stories. Will allow to make,” he continued. “This platform will allow us to bring Disney to our fans in ways that were previously impossible.”

The device will also enhance the visibility of augmented reality technology.

“There is less familiarity with the term augmented reality in the consumer space,” Kristen Hanich, an analyst with Dallas market research and consulting company Parkes Associates, wrote in the Connected Consumer newsletter.

“However, the majority of consumer use is of popular applications such as Pokémon Go, Snapchat and Instagram – smartphone apps that are being used not because they are augmented reality, but because the core experiences resonate with consumers,” he continued.

“Apple’s expected announcement today in this category will help drive awareness and adoption given the power of the brand, content ecosystem, developer relationships and Apple’s focus on premium experiences,” he added.

Straddling Worlds

Gartner analyst Tuong Nguyen said virtual reality gets a lot of press because it promises to transport you to another time, another place.

“With the Vision Pro, because it does pass-through – which few other devices do – as well – it keeps you rooted in the physical world while adding digital elements,” he told TechNewsworld.

“You can use a headset and still be in the moment,” explained Ben Arnold, an analyst at global market research firm Circana (formerly NPD).

“To me, it’s different than what we’re seeing in the market now,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Apple’s announcement reflects where mixed reality is today, said Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research, a New York City-based consumer technology advisory firm.

“One commonality that we’re seeing among mixed reality makers is the huge leverage of content and applications today because there isn’t a lot of mixed reality, augmented reality content out there,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“So if you’re Apple, and you have this incredible library of applications,” he continued, “it makes a lot of sense to have it on a device and build some additional value around it, whether it’s immersion or having multiple apps running in front of you.” on the tiles.

new 15 inch air

In addition to introducing Visual Pro, Apple made several other hardware and software announcements.

The expected 15-inch Mac Air based on the M2 silicon will be available next week for $1,299. The 13-inch M2 Air will sell for $1,099 for its base configuration, and the 13-inch M1 Air will remain part of the lineup for $999.

macbook air 15 inch front and side view

Showcasing its vibrant Starlight, Space Grey, Silver and Midnight hues, the 15-inch MacBook Air, along with its MagSafe charging and two Thunderbolt accessory ports, also includes a 3.5mm headphone jack. (Image credit: Apple)

Milestone All Apple Silicon Shift

Apple also announced that it would make its Mac Studio computers with its M2 Ultra and M2 Max silicon. Those models will also be available next week, starting at $1,999.

The Mac Pro also got an upgrade to the M2 Ultra silicon. It will sell for $6,999 and will be available next week.

Apple also refreshed its iOS, iPadOS and watchOS software lines.

“Most of the other announcements seem to be nice to have for the rich rather than important products,” Abbruzzese observed.

“The fact that all Apple products are now on Apple silicon is a milestone that everyone knew was coming, but took a fair amount of time to happen,” he said.

“To have a dedicated XR chipset alongside the Visual Pro M2 is not surprising but interesting nonetheless,” he continued. “Qualcomm has dominated the XR chipset market, and now they have a strong competitor for 2024 and beyond.”

New models of Mac mini desktops and MacBook Pro laptops with upgrades to Apple’s M2, M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, the company announced on Tuesday.

In addition, Apple introduced an entry-level Mini with an M2 processor priced at US$599, $499 for the education market.

“That was one of the more interesting parts of the announcement,” said Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research, a consumer technology advisory firm in New York City.

“It’s not often that you see Apple announce a low entry price point,” Rubin told TechNewsWorld.

“At $599, the price is designed to bring in new users, but even higher configurations can add up in price very quickly,” said Jitesh Ubrani, a research manager at IDC, an international market research company.

Those higher configurations with the M2 Pro chip start at $1,299, $1,199 for the education market.

Ubrani told TechNewsWorld that the muscle that the M2 Pro adds to the mini could potentially cannibalize the market for Apple’s premium desktop, the Mac Studio. “It’s not necessarily a bad thing,” he said.

“The mini may appeal to budding creators or consumers who have started to appreciate desktops a bit more, especially as desktops have seen a bit of an uptick during the pandemic,” he added.

More Video Editing Muscle

The M2 Mini features an eight-core CPU — four high-performance and four high-efficiency cores — and a 10-core GPU. According to Apple, with the new chip, the Mini is up to 50% faster than the previous model.

The maximum configuration for its integrated memory is 24GB with a bandwidth of 100GB per second.

Apple Mac mini M2 rear view of ports

The Mac mini M2 model has two Thunderbolt 4 ports and supports up to two displays. (Image credit: Apple)

With the M2, ProRes acceleration is added to the Mini, giving it some real punch for handling video. Apple says the M2 mini can handle tasks like video editing in Final Cut Pro up to twice as fast as previous hardware models as well as two streams of 8K ProRes 422 video at 30 fps or 12 streams of 4K at 30 fps Can run till

Overall, Apple claims the M2 Mini is up to five times faster than the bestselling Windows desktop.

The M2 brings a 12-core CPU to the Pro Mini with eight high-performance and four high-efficiency cores and a GPU of up to 19 cores.

Back view of Apple Mac mini M2 Pro ports

The Mac mini M2 Pro model includes four Thunderbolt 4 ports and support for up to three displays. (Image credit: Apple)

The memory in the Pro model can be up to 32GB with a bandwidth of 200GB/s.

The M2 also gives the Pro Mini more video handling power, allowing it to play up to five streams of 8K ProRes 422 video at 30 fps or 23 streams of 4K video at 30 fps.

Apple said the M2 Pro Mini is up to 14 times faster than the fastest Intel-based Mini.

minimize mac studio

“The fact that Apple is allowing these chips in the existing Mac Mini is sobering,” said Mark N. Vena, president and principal analyst at SmartTech Research in San Jose, Calif.

“This makes the Mac mini a more formidable content creator solution than the much higher priced Mac Studio,” Vena told TechNewsWorld.

Rubin said that getting the more powerful chip in the Mini closes the gap between it and the Mac Studio.

“The Mini can do a more professional-level workflow,” he explained, “so it could be a match for people who want to mix and match peripherals but can’t justify the expense on a Mac Studio.”

“It also provides a way for people still on Intel Macs to move to Apple silicon and experience its advantages,” he added.

When he heard that Apple was refreshing the Mini, David McQueen, a research director at ABI Research, an international technology advisory firm, thought the move was designed to satisfy customers already invested in the Apple ecosystem. Will be done. “But performance improvements and price drops could entice new consumers to the product,” he told TechNewsWorld.

fostering leader’s leadership

The new MacBook Pro laptops will also introduce an M2 Pro model and an M2 Max version.

The Max chip has the same 12-core CPU as the M2 Pro but with an expanded GPU of up to 38 cores and a larger L2 cache.

The chip can also address more integrated memory – up to 96GB – at faster bandwidth – 400GB/s.

MacBook Pro prices range from $1,999 for the 14-inch model with the M2 Pro chip to $3,499 for the 16-inch model with the M2 Max chip.

MacBook Pro is available with M2 Pro and M2 Max processors

The new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros feature the M2 Pro and M2 Max, Apple’s next-generation Pro silicon. (Image credit: Apple)

“Adding the new M2 chips makes these new Macs powerful options and, in laptops, they get longer battery life and additional graphics speed,” Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, a technology advisory firm in San Jose, California, told TechNewsWorld. told. ,

Ubrani said the new chips will advance Apple’s position in the market.

“Apple’s previous generation MacBooks were already ahead of many other laptops on the market because they offered productivity and battery life that very few devices could compete with,” he said.

“The new generation is likely to widen Apple’s lead in this perspective, and it puts pressure on Windows PC makers and silicon makers to step up their game,” he said.

ready for prime time

However, those competitors have upped their game, and this announcement, which seems out of sync with the usual Apple calendar, may be a sign that the company is looking over its shoulder with some concern.

“At CES, we saw a number of announcements by Intel and AMD about laptops claiming they were catching up to Apple,” Rubin said. “With this announcement, Apple is answering those processor introductions at CES.”

“It will be interesting to see how these M2 chips compete against the likes of AMD’s new Ryzen offering, which could offer comparable – or even better – performance in terms of battery life and processing speed in the Windows space. “

M2 Pro Photoshop image processing and Xcode code processing compared to M1 Pro and Intel Core i9 chips

image credit: apple

However, Bajarin insisted that the new chips were too cool to keep under wraps until the end of the year.

“The M2 chips are such an improvement over the M1s that Apple wanted to get them to market as quickly as possible,” he said. “That’s why the launch is earlier in the year than usual. The new M2s were ready for prime time.”

Releasing new products when the PC market is in one of the worst declines in its history might make some computer makers pause, but that’s not the case with Apple.

“Apple positions itself differently from its PC competitors,” said Mikako Kitagawa, director and analyst at Gartner, a research and advisory firm based in Stamford, Conn.

“Despite the challenging environment, the market is determined to be conquered,” he told TechNewsWorld. “That’s the message behind the new product release today.”