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Apple ventures into virtual reality world, unveils VR headset

New York, Jun 5 (EFE).- Tech giant Apple on Monday announced the launch of Vision Pro, a virtual reality aural and visual headset whereby users will be able to have VR and augmented reality (AR), also known as mixed reality, experiences.

Hoping that it will be the most important product since the iPhone, Apple said that its new mixed reality tool will enable users to view apps projected onto the area around them, thus allowing those apps to be “freed from the confines of a display.”

This is Apple’s first introduction of a new product since the launching of its Apple Watch in 2015, and the firm called it the start of a new era at its Worldwide Developers’ Conference (WWDC) being held at its Cupertino, California, headquarters.

The headset initially will sell for $3,499 and will be available at the beginning of 2024 in the US, the firm said, that price being significantly higher than similar devices being marketed by its competitors.

Apple still has not provided details of its arrival and pricing in other countries.

Company CEO Tim Cook described the technology as a “revolutionary product” that “seems like magic.”

Cook said that Vision Pro is a new kind of computer that augments reality by “seamlessly (blending) the real world and the virtual world,” adding that the technology, which users can control by voice, eye-tracking and hand and finger gestures.

The Vision Pro comes with its own software – called VisionOS – which supports many of the same apps found on iPhones.

The VR and AR technology incorporated into the device will allow a user to be able to see other nearby users of the device on the internal viewing screen.

In addition, the users will be able to see the “eyes” of each other when they get close enough because the otherwise black viewing screen will vanish when users approach one another using high-tech AI to create a “digital persona” of your face in the screen to allow for more personalized interaction, albeit with a digital image.

Cook emphasized that some of the activities that users can undertake with the Vision Pro are to view films, programs and sports events, immerse themselves in games on a giant screen surrounded by special audio and to connect with other users as if they were sharing the same space.

Moreover, the headset, which looks like a pair of ski goggles, will be able to be used as an external Mac computer screen.

Apple, which has been working on this product for seven years, has created VR versions of some of its apps like Safari, FaceTime, Apple TV and Apple Books, among others.

Also taking the stage at the WWDC was Disney CEO Bob Iger, who announced that the two firms will partner up to make Disney+ available on Vision Pro on the very first day it goes on sale.

Last week, Meta announced its Meta Quest 3 headset, a new virtual reality device similar to Apple’s product, saying that it will be available to buyers in the autumn for $499.99.

The Vision Pro announcement overshadowed the launching of other products by the firm, including the new 15-inch MacBook Air only 11.5 mm (0.45 inch) thick, a feature that Apple said makes it the world’s thinnest such device. The product will become available next week at a price of $1,299.

The firm also launched the iOS 17 at the WWDC, a device that allows users to immediately transcribe voice messages, among other things.

After the first day of presentations at this year’s WWDC, which will run all week, Apple shares on the stock market fell more than 1 percent, after rising by 1.5 percent during the hours prior to the unveiling of the firm’s new products.

EFE syr/fjo/eat/bp

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