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Apple’s Vision Pro is the pinnacle of stereoscopic tech, and it shows why holography is critical

June 6, 2023
min read
Apple’s Vision Pro is the pinnacle of stereoscopic tech, and it shows why holography is critical

Unless you’ve been incarcerated or working on a remote oil rig for the last 24 hours you’ll know that Apple just unveiled the Vision Pro mixed reality headset.

Based on what Apple shared during their WWDC keynote and some initial journalist hands-on reviews from The Verge, this could just be the best stereoscopic passthrough headset ever made. But, it represents the best you can get with stereoscopic technology. Apple, for all their financial and resourcing muscle, doesn’t have access to science that the rest of the world hasn’t already been limited by.

They do it in a far nicer package, but the Vision Pro represents the pinnacle of what you can do with a technology that was first developed in the 1840s. For example, you are limited to watching content that sits in front of you, virtual objects can’t be placed in accurate locations in the real world environment, and you can’t interact with anything within arms’ reach comfortably. Those limitations mean workarounds like eye gazing and gesture tracking, which aren’t always practical, as well as a limited range of exciting applications like just watching TV or displaying large photos.

What really got our attention during the keynote was how Apple and content partner Disney pitched a vision for how spatial computing was going to change the nature of entertainment. They showcased some amazing experiences where sport was augmented with additional detail, and where games allow you to interact with objects within arms’ reach. That exciting vision cannot be achieved with stereoscopic passthrough tech like the Vision Pro, because of vergence accommodation conflict (VAC) which causes nausea when the user can’t focus on things close-up.

Apple’s vision for how this technology changes computing is something we passionately agree with. But, if you want immersive, high quality visual experiences in a headset then there is only one viable route - computer-generated holography. Virtual objects can be displayed at any distance with the ability to naturally focus on each. Plus, you can interact with digital objects within the reach of your hands, rather than learning a new user interface.

Apple has hit the boundaries of current technology and they’ve created the perfect pitch for why holography and AR are the future.