That Apple is a company that is capable of keeping its projects secret is more than clear. That it has been keeping a project secret for 16 years is another matter entirely. 16 years takes us back to the time when the iPhone did not yet exist. When it was introduced, in fact.
The news comes from a recently published patent document, as reported by Patently Apple, which reveals a very futuristic and ambitious vision that the company has had since 2007. It is the Apple Vision Pro, in fact, a device that at the time might seem like something out of a science fiction novel, but will soon become a reality with its arrival on the market in 2024.
A device that was pure science fiction
The patent document, dated 2007, does not chronicle the full capabilities of the Apple Vision Pro as we know it today, but it is an early testament to Apple’s interest in the field of virtual reality and augmented reality immersion. What it describes is a personal viewing system that is intended to transport the user into a completely different environment, such as a movie theater or sports stadium.
The patent details how this personal display system, using optical and digital components, would be able to adjust the displayed content to incorporate elements of, for example, a movie theater. In this way, the user, when using the device, would have the impression of actually being in a movie theater, experiencing all that that implies.
Already at that time, Apple was not thinking of this device as just a simple viewfinder. From those first sketches, the company had in mind that the device would respond to the movements of the user’s head, eyes or even hands. This interactivity, envisioned almost two decades ago, reveals the long-term vision Apple had for an immersive user experience.
Film experiences were just the beginning
If that wasn’t enough, the device wasn’t just designed for cinematic experiences. Apple also imagined what it would be like to use the Vision Pro to relive a baseball game as if we were in the stadium. In fact, the device could modify the way a sporting event was displayed depending on the virtual seat from which the user chose to experience it.
In the same vein, and a highlight of this patent, is the reference to sound. The device would not only offer an immersive visual experience, but would also adjust the sound output depending on the user’s virtual position and head movements. The patent, therefore, imagines hearing the sound coming from the direction you are facing or changing as you move, adding another layer of realism to the experience.
Reading the patent, it is impossible not to think of the AirPods’ head tracking, the Vision Pro’s immersive mode, and so many other bits of technology that Apple has been adding to different products. With them, as if it were a puzzle, the vision – never better said – of the Vision Pro is being shaped.
Yet what was once an unfeasible idea in 2007 is now on the verge of materializing in 2024. The announcement of the Vision Pro has caused quite a stir in the tech world. It is not the first device of its kind on the market, but it bears the Apple stamp in its hardware specifications and also in the software design. The fact that they have been working on this concept for so long only adds to the excitement and anticipation of its release.
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