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Apple unveils visionOS 2 with 3D photo conversion and ultra-wide Mac displays

Apple unveils visionOS 2 with 3D photo conversion and ultra-wide Mac displays


Apple has announced the second version of its Vision Pros operating system, visionOS 2. Releasing in the fall, the update is set to introduce some long-awaited changes, including a vastly improved virtual display experience, updated home screen and hand gestures, and new Photos app features.

First, Apple is introducing some long-awaited improvements to the visionOS interface. For example, it finally adds the ability to rearrange apps on your home screen, which will include apps on your iPad and iPhone. But it also adds new gestures for bringing up the home screen, bringing up the Control Center, and even checking your battery level and the time (with a very clever wrist rotation, not unlike looking at a watch). And if you have family or friends who want to share your headset, Apple says it will store guest user hand and eye data for 30 days, which should make sharing your Vision Pro that much easier.

The Vision Pro home screen just got better. GIF: Apple

The most important update for anyone focused on productivity is the new ultrawide virtual display feature. According to Apple, in visionOS 2, you'll be able to connect a Vision Pro to your Mac to generate two 4K-equivalent curved ultrawide displays. Currently, the virtual display feature can only generate a single display up to 5K.

The company also plans to add mouse support to Vision Pro at launch. While the headset works with trackpads like those on a MacBook Air or the standalone Magic Trackpad 2, it oddly omits mouse support. You'll be able to use a mouse within Vision Pro's mirrored display, but not outside of the screen, like on an iPad or in the Vision Pro app. And if you love working in a fully immersive space and are tired of fumbling around trying to find your keyboard, there's great news: the company says Vision Pro will now reveal the user's physical keyboard.

Soon, you'll be able to use Spatial Personas to share photos with friends on SharePlay. GIF: Apple

According to Apple, the new update will allow users to turn any image in the Photos app into a spatial image. The company also says it will add SharePlay to the Photos app on visionOS, which means you'll be able to share the app with other Vision Pro owners using Spatial Personas. Spatial Personas is a feature Apple introduced in April that lets you place ghostly busts of your Vision Pro-owning friends in your room. It's a surprisingly impressive feature, and you can even view things and edit documents together in real 3D space.

Apple also mentioned Bora Bora, a new environment, a virtual space you can dial in to with the Digital Crown. Since the launch of Vision Pro, two environments have been listed as coming soon, so it's good to have some indication of more to come.

Apple also said it will make its web video player available for viewing independent of the Safari browser. The company specifically mentioned YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon, three companies that haven't released native Vision Pro versions of their apps. It also announced that Apple TV now supports up to five simultaneous streams in multi-view, which will be a delight for sports fans, and it also added the ability to stream content from iPhones, iPads, and Macs via AirPlay.

One of the best things about Vision Pro is the Apple Immersive videos, but they're few and short, so you might binge watch them on the first day you got your headset. New content is still being rolled out in small increments, with more to come: Red Bull is producing a new immersive sports series, and Apple says it has its first scripted immersive feature in the works.

The company also showed off some third-party announcements, including Blackmagic Design announcing the first commercially available camera system and an update to DaVinci Resolve Studio that supports Immersive Video. Apple also said Canon will release a new spatial lens for the EOS R7 designed specifically for Vision Pro content creation.

Finally, the company will be rolling out the Vision Pro internationally: Apple will start accepting preorders in China, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore from 6pm PST on June 13, with the headset launching in those countries on June 28. In Australia, Canada, France, Germany and the UK, preorders will start at 5am PST on June 28, with the headset officially launching on July 12.

Though flashy, the Vision Pro is still just a first-generation product, but it's clear the company is serious about improving it. Apple is pitching it as a productivity device and enterprise tool. (The company loves to talk about its use by doctors.) With the new curved virtual display, the product is starting to feel a lot closer to that.





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