Imagine flying economy class but with a giant screen with immersive surround sound. How about a calming meditation during the flight or while you wait to board at the gate? And what if you could preview the meals or know more about the safety features or your destination in augmented reality? That’s just the beginning of what Apple Vision Pro can mean when traveling.
Today, Apple announced a new device called Apple Vision Pro: it’s a mixed-reality headset, or a spatial computer, similar to other VR headsets you might be familiar with, yet totally different. While I was watching the keynote, I suddenly thought that all those futuristic movies I used to watch as a kid were no longer sci-fi.
But what does a device such as Apple Vision Pro mean for the travel industry, and how can it be used to improve the entire traveler’s experience? As VR headsets have become more advanced, many airlines and travel companies have started implementing them: to preview destinations at the airport, onboard, and for accessibility. But, so far, all those devices isolate you from reality instead of combining the real and virtual worlds.
So, let’s have a look at the possible use cases of Apple Vision Pro for travel, the kind of apps we might start seeing, and why it might transform the traveler’s experience forever.
Why do I care?
I worked creating digital twins of the real world for physical simulations, using Nvidia Omniverse and other platforms, so I’m familiar with the metaverse, what it enables, and its implications. Read more on my personal site.
Apple Vision Pro For Travel
What is Apple Vision Pro?
Apple Vision Pro is a revolutionary spatial computer that combines multiple elements such as a computer, high-resolution ultrasharp 4K screens, and a 3D camera into a mixed-reality headset that you can transport anywhere. Apple Vision Pro seamlessly blends digital content with the physical world while allowing you to stay present and connected to others.
Vision Pro creates an infinite canvas for apps that scales beyond the boundaries of a traditional display and introduces a fully three-dimensional user interface controlled by your eyes, hands, and voice.
The breakthrough design of Vision Pro features an ultra-high-resolution display system that packs 23 million pixels across two displays and custom Apple silicon in a unique dual-chip design to ensure every experience feels like it’s taking place in front of your eyes in real time. The device will be available in early 2024;
How can Apple Vision Pro improve the travel experience?
The use cases of a mixed-reality headset for travel are endless, but I’ll focus on two particular angles: how can it redefine the onboard experience (particularly in Economy Class), and how it can impact the traveler’s experience at the airport, during transit, or at the destination.
1. In-flight Entertainment
Perhaps the most predictable one. The Apple Vision Pro headset can provide immersive in-flight entertainment options. This can range from virtual movie theatres and interactive games to virtual tours of the destination they are traveling to. For those interested, the journey could be an opportunity to learn about the geography, culture, and history of the regions they are flying over.
2. Virtual space expansion
One of the main discomforts of economy class is the limited personal space. A device like Apple Vision Pro can create a sense of spatial expansion, making the user feel like they are in a much larger space, potentially reducing feelings of claustrophobia or discomfort. It might even be able to replace your economy-class seat for a more advanced or luxurious business-class seat or cabin.
3. Interactive Travel Information
Apple Vision Pro can provide flight information, time left to destination, layover details, gate changes, and more in a more interactive and accessible manner than traditional means. It could also give a live view of the outside from the pilot’s perspective or from cameras mounted on the plane.
At the airport, the device can be used to guide passengers, help them transit, or take international connecting flights step-by-step with the latest real-time information. Over 85% of passengers struggle with big airports when they are flying for the first time.
4. Language Translation
Have you ever flown on an airline where the crew doesn’t speak your language? I still remember my first time flying Air France; it was hard to communicate in English as a kid. Language barriers are one of the most common problems travelers face. Apple Vision Pro might be able to assist in translating in-flight announcements, conversations, or text into the user’s preferred language, helping to overcome language barriers.
5. Menu and meals
Travelers can preview the meal options in a 3D view, making it easier to choose meals and understand the components of each dish.
6. Meditative Experiences
This is a big one. Apple Vision Pro can provide relaxing virtual environments like a beach, forest, or serene landscape with calming soundscapes. This could help alleviate the stress or anxiety often associated with travel and potentially help passengers to sleep better on long flights.
7. Social Interaction
Mixed reality could enable passenger interaction, facilitating games, conversations, or networking opportunities without physical movement.
8. Physical Exercise
To combat the stiffness of sitting for long periods, mixed reality headsets could guide passengers through simple exercises or yoga poses that can be done from their seats.
9. Entertainment During Transit
Travel often involves long periods of waiting or transit. A mixed-reality headset can turn this idle time into an entertainment opportunity, allowing travelers to watch movies, play games, or even experience immersive content like virtual concerts.
10. Virtual Maps And Guides
At the destination, travelers can use an Apple Vision Pro headset to get a virtual guide and even improve their physical tour guide. This guide can take them through a city or attraction, providing detailed explanations and facts about each place.
The adapted versions of Google Maps, Yelp, and others for Apple Vision Pro can provide instant information about nearby locations, landmarks, restaurants, hotels, and attractions, including ratings, reviews, historical facts, or even a live feed of the current situation.
When can I get it?
Apple Vision Pro will be available in early 2024, starting at USD $3499. The device was announced on June 5th, 2023, at Apple’s WWDC event.
After 15 years, I feel this is yet another iPhone moment. One of those moments you see a real, concrete product being announced that has the potential to change everything. Yes, it’s expensive. Yes, it’s weird. Yes, there are many unanswered questions. But it is the first step and a huge leap in a direction where technology will be more immersive, feel more natural, enable more things, and be more helpful.
I get excited when I see these announcements because I start thinking about their real potential and endless possibilities. In the same way, we are currently transforming every industry with AI models and tools. I’m eager and really looking forward to testing out Apple Vision Pro. Even more, to see what developers can do with it.
Overall, kudos to Apple for bringing yet more technology to our hands!
Other posts you’ll love
- AI Travel Apps You Can Use Right Now (That Are Not ChatGPT)
- How To Use Google Bard To Book Flights
- How To Plan A Trip With ChatGPT And Save Money
*Images courtesy of Apple.