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The Future of Spatial Computing: Exploring the Potential of Apple’s Vision Pro

Apple launched its first headset on Friday, the Vision Pro, heralding what the company calls “the era of spatial computing.” The new product seeks to seamlessly blend digital content with your physical space, offering both Virtual and Augmented Reality capabilities.

Forum One picked up the device for our experts to explore whether mission-driven organizations need to pay attention to it or if it’s “a Neanderthal, an evolutionary dead end,” as NYU Marketing professor Scott Galloway has predicted.

What Our Team Is Saying About Apple’s Vision Pro

“While spatial augmentation isn’t a new concept, suddenly, I envision a world of possibilities. Perhaps it’s Apple’s marketing allure, but I genuinely believe that spatial computing is and will transform the way we perceive experience design. On one hand, I’m concerned about its impact on society—will people lose touch with reality? On the other hand, can we use it to bring people closer to a reality that broadens their perspectives and fosters empathy?” Corey Jones, Creative Director

“Apple has delivered the best amusement ride or 3D movie I’ve ever seen. I am concerned that this will contribute to the loneliness epidemic and political divide by decreasing time spent interacting with others in one’s community. However, I’m excited to have a new tool for building empathy by allowing someone to share an experience. I hope we’ll see the device used to create experiences like CARNE Y ARENA (Virtually present, Physically invisible) by Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu, which uses Virtual Reality to allow viewers to experience “in the immigrants’ feet, under their skin, and into their hearts” the journey across the U.S.-Mexico border.” Steven Bond, Vice President of Strategy

“Over the past two decades, some nonprofit arts and culture organizations have invested heavily in AR, VR, and mobile apps, with very limited success. Onsite AR mobile apps have performed better than headset experiences because, ultimately, people want to experience arts and culture communally (and AR only makes sense in situ). Also, audiences only want to pay for premium content, and creating experiences for Vision Pro worth paying for will be costly. This will be a major deterrent for arts and culture organizations. 

Outside of arts and culture organizations, people just don’t want to spend that much time wearing a bulky headset. I think we are about 20 years out from spatial computing taking off. That will come when it’s integrated into something that’s not isolating, as comfortable as wearing regular glasses, and can be experienced communally.”  Aaron Miller, Senior Account Manager

“I’m excited about the possibilities that this technology opens up, but we’ll have to be very focused in our application of it in the near term. At this price point, it’s going to be a niche market for a while, so we’re thinking about things like immersive storytelling to build empathy in policymakers on issues that they don’t have lived experience with, or deepening engagement in donors with work they’re not able to see in person. 

Longer term, Apple has a great track record of building markets in new categories, so the VisionPro may be as ubiquitous as the iPhone within 5 years. To prepare for rapid shifts in the technology landscape – whether it’s spatial computing or generative AI – we’re building more and more of our products with headless or composable architectures that allow us to craft seamless digital experiences across the full user journey, whatever established or emerging technologies are in the mix. We’re also spending a lot of time thinking about the social and ethical challenges that new technologies present at scale, and working with our clients on how to use them responsibly.” Elisabeth Bradley, Chief Executive Officer

“Vision Pro is a game changer. While still in its early stages and prohibitively expensive for most people, now is the time to prototype and experiment with its immersive storytelling capabilities. If you are trying to cultivate empathy and passion for your cause – the technology has arrived and now is your moment to curate something powerful. ” Beth Watson, Strategy Lead

“Spatial computing is a novel concept to many consumers, but if anyone can turn novel into the norm, it’s Apple. This new headset is the company’s first major launch since the Apple Watch and also a shot at its competition in the AR/VR space, Meta, which has been working to push VR adoption through its purchase of Oculus VR. 

The $3,500 price tag is no doubt limiting to most consumers, but this is hopefully the first iteration in Apple’s spatial computing journey, with headsets getting cheaper, lighter, and more accessible over time. I also think that Apple’s mixed reality approach will be more palatable to consumers than the full-immersion of VR headsets.” Nick Dotson, Digital Strategist

“This is just the beginning. It took Apple roughly ten years to go from the first version of iPhone to iPhone X, which arguably was the manifestation of the true vision of iPhone. Vision Pro will be no different. It will take time, but now is when you need to think about how spatial computing will impact you in the future. If not, you might be the only one with an unresponsive website when visitors expect something else. ” Jim Krol, Senior Account Executive

All in all, the introduction of spatial computing, exemplified by the VisionPro headset, shows interesting potential for the future. While currently limited in accessibility and price, these early stages provide an opportunity for experimentation and prototyping, particularly in immersive storytelling and cultivating empathy. As Apple continues to innovate in this space, we can anticipate advances that make spatial computing more affordable, lightweight, and consumer-friendly. 

With time, our guess is that spatial computing is poised to become a norm, revolutionizing our digital experiences and challenging us to consider its impact on various sectors. Organizations can already start exploring the possibilities and preparing for this transformative technology to stay ahead in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

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