As AR Insider readers well know, Apple has unveiled its long-anticipated entrance into XR hardware. Going with the phrasing we often use for the XR spectrum – spatial computing – Apple has built something that has elements of VR (fully-contained form factor) and AR (passthrough cameras and world-immersive content). Apple has not provided an exact release date for Apple Vision Pro but said people in the United States could expect to get it early next year.
Even so, tech pundits are already speculating how the device could impact education. It’s too early to predict the specific ways educators and students might use it, but some clues are beginning to point the way. Let’s examine a few…
1. Providing More Ways to Interact With Content
Apple’s spatial computer concept lets people break free from the restrictions of having to sit in front of a computer and keyboard or stare down at smartphone screens when looking at content. Instead, the Apple Vision Pro is heavily gesture-oriented, letting people look at apps to choose one, then tap a finger to select it. The gadget also responds to dictation and allows people to flick their wrists to scroll.
It’s easy to imagine how this technology could open new opportunities to people with disabilities, or those who otherwise have trouble using mice and keyboards while looking at content. Also, since Apple’s product has eye-tracking technology, people may find their overall experiences while enjoying content are more seamless and intuitive.
From an education standpoint, these characteristics could make it easier for people to focus on content in ways that help them retain the material long-term. Plus, when controlling the gadget feels as natural as possible, it’ll be easier for people to focus on what’s happening in the classroom rather than getting too swept up in trying to make the headset do what they want.
2. Transforming the Classroom Into a More Purposeful Space
Classrooms are made for learning, but the Apple Vision Pro might make them even more helpful. For example, it allows you to make a room’s ceiling look like a blue sky or turn the surrounding environment into a landscape scene.
What if educators could teach astronomy more interactively as students use the Apple Vision Pro to turn the classroom ceiling into a recreated night sky view? They might also do something similar to plan anatomy lessons that don’t require cadavers or dissections.
These possibilities also apply to options that allow teachers to show students things rather than just describe them. One curriculum’s content uses primary sources from a collection of 26 million artifacts highlighting innovations throughout history. Using the Apple Vision Pro to engage students with an assortment like that could help bring the content to life. Then, learners are more likely to feel like the objects they’re studying are physically in front of them.
3. Taking Presentations to the Next Level
The Apple Vision Pro means people can go beyond using slide projectors and similar equipment when presenting different materials. This product can turn the whole room into a person’s screen, letting them use gestures to switch between apps or other content.
It’s also helpful that people can use an external battery or wall outlet to power the Apple Vision Pro. Those options give it more flexibility than competing products with only internal batteries.
Apple’s built-in and all-new R1 chip takes only 12 milliseconds to send new images to the headset’s displays. All that input comes from 12 cameras, six microphones, and five sensors. People can then give presentations or other class assignments with rich video and audio content. The absence of lag will make that media all the more exciting for viewers and the person presenting it.
4. Creating Early Options for the Education Industry
Apple has yet to announce any specific apps for the Vision Pro. However, applications that work on the company’s other devices should also have compatibility with this new offering.
Spain’s IE University may provide early glimpses of what the Apple Vision Pro can and will do for the education industry. The institution will develop native education apps for the device.
IE is in a great position to become a pioneer in this space since it already uses VR and AR in many class curriculums. In one academic year, 6,000 students from 140 nations had AR and VR experiences while earning degrees. That suggests IE will have an excellent testing ground and can get near-real-time feedback from students, professors, and others involved in the organization.
Can AVP Revolutionize XR Adoption?
Apple’s representatives are careful never to categorize the Vision Pro as an AR or VR product in media releases. However, based on what people know about how it works, there are clearly some similarities to products in those groups. For example, people wear it like a VR headset, but many of the outcomes they get are akin to AR experiences because they change parts of a real-world environment.
The Apple Vision Pro’s retail price is one of the negative aspects brought up most often. It will sell for $3,499, making it too expensive for widespread use in every classroom. However, it’s worth pointing out that Apple is a well-established tech brand. If people are curious about AR and VR technology — in education or otherwise — many might trust Apple enough to provide a device that shows them what’s possible.