After years of rumors, Apple finally unveiled its augmented reality headset on Monday, an impressive 12-camera device costing a whopping $4,699.

The headset, dubbed “Apple Vision Pro,” is “the most advanced personal device ever,” Mike Rockwell, who is considered Apple’s lead on the new product, said bluntly at the opening of WWDC23. Developer’s Annual Report. The design incorporated no less than 5000 patents to deliver what has been described as an entirely new platform, “spatial computing”.

“Vision Pro will change the way we communicate, collaborate, work and entertain,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook.

The bet is gigantic for Apple, which is far from being the first company to launch into this unloved market of virtual reality for a decade. Samsung notably halted the marketing of its Gear VR, Meta’s Quest Pro was a commercial failure and Google Glass was wiped from the map.

The Vision Pro is a clever mix of virtual and augmented reality, a little more discreet in size than its predecessors, but still as visible as a diving mask. The OLED screen includes some 23 million pixels for each eye and has the particularity of simulating transparency when its owner is looking at another person.

The standalone device has an M2 chip, the one found in some MacBook and iPad models, as well as a new adapted in-house chip called R1. This paraphernalia would reduce latency, which can make some users nauseous, to less than 12 milliseconds. It also includes five sensors, including a lidar that allows it to map its environment in 3D, six microphones and two speakers.

All control is done by hand gestures, gaze direction or voice. However, you can add accessories, keyboard or touchpad, in Bluetooth.

“Each major Apple platform brought an innovative entry model,” said Alan Dye, vice president of design. The Mac with the mouse, the iPod with the clicking wheel, the iPhone with the multitouch. The Apple Vision Pro relies only on eyes, hands and voice. »

The presentation notably allowed users to see users completely erase their environment to watch a movie, play a game on Apple Arcade or attend a videoconference. We pinch or swipe the elements with our fingers, we activate them by looking at a menu or we call out to Siri. Rather amazing detail, the owner of the Vision Pro is replaced in the videoconference by an avatar which reproduces his expressions and gestures.

The user can keep their environment visible or erase it, to varying degrees with a haptic wheel, to replace it with outdoor settings. Regarding movie content, Disney has announced that its movies will be available on the Vision Pro from day 1.

It is also the first Apple device capable of filming in 3D and reproducing the result in relief. Authentication is done by reading the retina, a novelty called Optic ID. The featured apps were made by Apple, but it was announced that a new virtual store would be dedicated to the new headset, which would go on sale “early next year” for US$3,499.

The Vision Pro, introduced by Tim Cook in the classic “One More Thing” phrase Steve Jobs used to introduce the iPhone, concluded a series of upgraded product announcements from Apple. The 15-inch MacBook Air with an M2 chip, 11.5mm thick and weighing 3.3 pounds, has been described without false modesty as “the best 15-inch laptop in the world”.

The new MacStudio will integrate another chip with stratospheric performance, according to Apple’s claims, the M2 Ultra twice as powerful as the M2 Max. This computer can handle up to 192 GB of Unified Memory, an Apple-promoted combination of RAM and hard drive.

We also presented the new features of the new iOS 17 operating system, which will be available to the general public in the fall. Among the most striking are the ability to send an automated message upon arrival home, display a full photo of a calling contact, use an iPhone horizontally on its charger as a Nest Hub or an Echo Show, and activate AirDrop simply by bringing two devices close together. The AirPods Pro will have a technology already present in other headphones, adaptive audio, which allows you to lower the music when you are challenged or to vary the noise cancellation depending on the source.