XR Insiders Reflect on Apple Vision Pro Development and Industry Impact

The launch of Apple Vision Pro has prompted reflections on the XR industry and its impact. Voices of VR Podcast interviewed two XR insiders who have been part of the industry for over a decade each.


Former Apple Employee on Building Vision Pro

Bert Nepveu, an early XR pioneer and former Apple employee, spoke about his experience working on the Vision Pro headset. He discussed his start as the founder of VRvana, a startup focused on building a mixed reality headset. The company developed a unique physical control that allowed for a seamless transition between VR and AR views, which later became an integral part of Vision Pro after Apple acquired VRvana in 2017.

Nepveu described the culture at Apple as "very military" and shared that secrecy was a significant aspect of the company. He focused on "point-of-view correction" during his work on Vision Pro, ensuring that the passthrough view of the headset looked correct and felt comfortable. Nepveu also discussed the design decisions that led to Vision Pro's look and ergonomics, including Apple's decision to go for a 'ski goggle' aesthetic.

When Nepveu left Apple, he wasn't sure if Vision Pro would ever ship, but was pleasantly surprised when it was announced and shipped in 2023. He expressed his emotional reaction to finally seeing his work in the shipping headset and praised Apple's unique structure, saying that no other company could ship a product like Vision Pro.

Literally Inside Vision Pro

Ben Lang, the founder of Road to VR, was interviewed about the significance of Vision Pro and its capabilities. The interview was conducted using FaceTime on the headset, allowing Lang to experience the Persona avatars and discuss usability and Apple's ecosystem. They also noted that while Vision Pro has its strengths, its ergonomics could have been more innovative.

Lang and host Kent Bye talked about early reactions to the headset, how it compares to other XR headsets, and its potential impact on the industry. They also mentioned the compatibility of over one million iPad apps with Vision Pro, highlighting Apple's smart integration of its ecosystem.

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