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How Long Has Apple Been Working On Its Vision Pro Headset?

Apple Vision Pro Headset User

How Long Has Apple Been Working On Its Vision Pro Headset?

How Long Has Apple Been Working On Its Vision Pro Headset?

August 29, 2023

If you have followed Apple for some time, you know that Apple has a very long development cycle for its products. During the years Mike Spindler and Gil Amelio were Apple CEOs, Apple often previewed for me products in development that were concepts or prototypes. I can’t share what those were due to NDA issues, but some took five to six years before they became official Apple products. Many also died on the vine.

But recently, a patent that showed that one product Apple submitted for patent review and was just accepted by the Patent Office dates back to 2007.

According to Patently Apple-

“Today, Apple was granted an HMD [head-mounted display] related patent that actually dated back to 2007, way before the Oculus headset or anything from Samsung. The patent covers a personal display system with which a user may adjust the configuration of displayed media is provided. The personal display system may include an electronic device operative to provide media to a personal display device operative to display the received media. Using one or more optical and digital components, the personal display device may adjust displayed media to overlay features of a theater, stadium or concert facility thus giving the user of the personal display device the impression of being in the facility.

In some embodiments, the personal display device may detect the user’s movements using one or more sensors and may adjust the displayed image based on the user’s movements. For example, the device may detect a user’s head movement and cause the portion of media displayed to reflect the head movement. This eventually led to “Head and Eye-Tracking” systems…”

Given these facts, the concept of the Vision Pro headset has been in development for at least 16 years. Steve Jobs and Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007. This means that Jobs was alive when these patent applications were submitted, and he was aware of this idea or concept.

Steve Jobs passed away in 2011 and was quite sick from 2009 until his death. While he most likely was aware of this project, he was much more focused on the iPhone and the iPad, which launched in 2010. His passing shifted the burden to nurture the development of what is now the Apple Vision Pro to Tim Cook and his engineers.

In 2017, Apple took a significant step in this direction by introducing AR Kit. While others like Oculus Rift had already begun shipping VR hardware, Apple was thinking about a more advanced headset, knowing that they already had a patent in the works for one that would be of more outstanding quality and capabilities than any on the market then or even in the near future.

A critical differentiator for the Vision Pro and why it took so long to develop is that 50% of the technology in this headset Apple had to invent itself. That is a big deal that only Apple could pull off due to its ownership of the CPU, GPU and proprietary chips like the Vision Pro’s R1. That also includes proprietary hand tracking and optics and specialized 3D cameras that are all homegrown.

This article has been shortened based on Tim Bajarin’s column on August 29, 2023.

Click here to read the full article.

Click here to read more articles in the XR/Metaverse Resource Center written by Tim Bajarin.



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