In the words of Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, the Apple Vision Pro is “tomorrow’s engineering, today.” This headset, packed to the brim with cutting-edge technology, is Apple’s daring vision for the future of personal computing. Having helped 24 companies figure out their hybrid work policies, I can tell you that the Vision Pro isn’t just a shiny new toy for the retail consumer – it’s a game-changer for companies. Its impact on hybrid and remote work is akin to swapping a bicycle for a rocket ship when it comes to connectivity and collaboration.
Picture this: you’re at home, yet you’re also in a business meeting, observing a product prototype, or brainstorming with your team as if you were in the same room. As Tim Cook explains, we can “connect with people as if we’re sharing the same space.” That’s the magic of the Vision Pro.
What is the Apple Vision Pro?
Imagine having the future at your fingertips, or rather, on your face, today. That’s the promise of the Vision Pro. It’s not a mere enhancement to our tech-saturated lives, but a transformative leap forward, pushing boundaries and shattering expectations.
This device, hailed by Apple as the “most advanced personal electronics device ever,” takes augmented reality (AR) and brings it down from the realm of science fiction into your living room. Cook rightly views AR as a profound technology and the Vision Pro as a “huge leap” in this next chapter of technological evolution. This isn’t just a step forward; it’s a quantum leap, ushering in a new era of connectivity and collaboration in remote settings.
The Vision Pro is designed as a headset that doesn’t require any physical controllers. Instead, it relies on a person’s body movements for input. The headset is equipped with 12 cameras, five sensors, and six microphones, allowing it to track a user’s hands, eyes, and voice. For instance, to select objects in an app, the user merely has to look at the object and then pinch their finger in the air. This is a departure from other headsets on the market, such as Meta’s Quest, which generally require a physical controller. Despite this, Apple’s demonstrations showed that hand-based control works well, and it is presumed that a Bluetooth-based gamepad could be used with the Vision Pro, as these are already supported on iOS1.
One important aspect to note is that, given its high price – $3,500 – the Vision Pro might initially be bought for use by executives and managers, rather than rank-and-file employees. However, Apple believes that this product could integrate into everyday life, similar to how the iPhone revolutionized the smartphone industry. It’s expected that the price will come down over time, making the Vision Pro more accessible to a broader audience.
Hybrid and Remote Work With the Apple Vision Pro
The influence of the Vision Pro extends beyond the realm of personal computing and entertainment, it also promises to reshape the world of work, particularly in hybrid and remote settings. The device turns immersive video calls, once a concept restricted to the realm of science fiction, into a tangible reality.
The Vision Pro employs front-facing cameras to scan a user’s face, leveraging machine learning algorithms to construct a 3D digital representation of the user. Internally positioned sensors detect and replicate the user’s facial movements onto this digital persona, effectively translating real-life expressions into the virtual realm. When both participants in a call are using the Vision Pro, they can view each other in complete 3D form. This creates a profound sense of presence and enhances communication, a feature that will prove invaluable in hybrid and remote work environments.
However, the Vision Pro’s capabilities are not limited to improving virtual communication. The device redefines remote collaboration, facilitating simultaneous tasking during calls within a shared virtual space. Whether it’s reviewing a project proposal with your team, brainstorming innovative ideas, or conducting a training session, the Vision Pro simulates the experience of physical proximity, eliminating the constraints of distance.
One of the notable challenges in remote work is managing distractions in the home environment. The Vision Pro addresses this issue head-on, enabling users to create a personalized work zone that blots out the chaos and clutter of their surroundings. The device’s proprietary “EyeSight” technology allows users to seamlessly transition between deep immersion in their work and awareness of their immediate environment with just a glance. According to Tim Cook, with the Vision Pro, users can “immerse themselves” in their work and “live in the future” today.
Ironically, Apple itself is at odds with flexibility. Tim Cook is threatening to discipline Apple employees who aren’t fully compliant with his demand that they come to the office three days a week. This inflexible, top-down approach is at odds with the vision of a flexible and dynamic future promised by Apple Vision Pro. It’s possible that the apparent contradictions will undermine both the narrative that Apple is using to drive Apple Vision Pro sales while also undermining employee engagement, who see it as hypocritical that Apple is offering products that facilitate flexibility while denying it to their employees.
The Apple Vision Pro stands at the forefront of AR technology and personal computing, but its influence goes far beyond these domains. This revolutionary device has the potential to fundamentally transform hybrid and remote work models, dismantling barriers, and fostering a new, immersive, and connected work experience. The Vision Pro not only serves as a window into the future of technology but also offers a glimpse into the future of work. It presents a solution to the pressing challenges posed by the new work norms, including improving communication, enhancing collaboration, and managing distractions.
As the device becomes more affordable and accessible over time, it is likely that its adoption will accelerate, and its impact will become more pronounced. In a world where the boundaries of workspaces are continually blurring, the Vision Pro promises a future where distance and location are no longer constraints. Indeed, with the Vision Pro, we are one step closer to a future where everyone can experience the freedom and flexibility of working from anywhere, yet feeling as connected and productive as if they were in a traditional office setting. In essence, the Apple Vision Pro offers more than just a technological leap. It provides a fresh perspective on the concept of work, enabling us to envision a future where technology and human potential harmoniously intertwine to create an engaging and efficient work environment, irrespective of physical location.
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Originally published in Disaster Avoidance Experts on April 8, 2023