By Tylar Bloch

Apple certainly delivered on their commitment to surprising and delighting consumers when they introduced the Vision Pro earlier this month. The Vision Pro was presented as their first “spatial computer”, which overlays the user interface onto the physical world, and aims to populate our field of vision with greater amounts of content that can be navigated more dynamically. The Apple ecosystem will now include Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) capabilities for consumers and businesses.

This movement towards more immersive digital experiences is certainly not new. As trends in the TV market indicate, consumers have continued to favor larger and sharper displays over time, something that has become a higher priority with people spending more time at home. Apple’s new Vision Pro represents an important milestone in screen engagement by combining the physical and the digital to deliver a hyperreal experience in a way that far exceeds the limits imposed by phone and laptop screens. Apple celebrates the fact that with this new technology, any space can be transformed into a “personal movie theater” or an “infinite canvas”.

Though Apple is clearly optimistic about the possibilities in entertainment and productivity that this new technology brings, questions about its social implications remain. Concerns about social isolation have already been raised in the context of smartphones, and even surfaced in the Surgeon General’s recent advisory on social media. And while some studies suggest that immersive-reality experiences can help curb social isolation, the reality is that as more people don headsets to consume digital content, they can become closed off in new ways, exacerbating these concerns about in-person interactions. Even with new features like EyeSight that aim to humanize the experience of using the Vision Pro, it is unclear to what extent widespread use of the device in the future will impact the way people interact with each other.

What is clear, however, is that the future of spatial computing makes these questions about the importance of offline socialization all the more relevant. And it starts with reexamining the way that our current devices make us feel, which can help us to begin understanding the kind of relationship we want with technology—and what we might want out of Apple’s new Vision Pro.

Conversation Starters

  1. How have smartphones changed the way that you socialize with others?
  2. Do you think that online interactions are more, less, or equally fulfilling to in-person interactions?
  3. What excites you most about the possibility of having more immersive digital experiences?
  4. In what ways does the Apple Vision Pro make you think differently about your current devices?
  5. How might you feel if you were the only person in a room who was not wearing and using an Apple Vision Pro headset?


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