Apple’s new product, the Vision Pro mixed reality headset, is set to begin pre-orders on January 19. Although Apple positions the Vision Pro as a consumer device for gaming, video, and communication, recent media reviews suggest its most suitable application might be for video consumption. However, Apple seems to have broader plans.
According to recent statements from Apple executives, the company envisions future workplace applications for this device, including its use in surgeries and educational training.
Exploring New Applications: Surgery and Training
In a video sent to employees this week, Apple’s Vice President responsible for the Vision Pro product line, Mike Rockwell, and Alan Dye discussed potential growth areas for the product.
When asked about “cool” uses for Vision Pro, Rockwell mentioned key areas such as healthcare, training, and education.
“Typically, surgeons have a hard time seeing displays during surgery where the information is scattered,” Rockwell said. “Apple Vision Pro can bring all of that together, potentially improving patient outcomes.”
Rockwell also mentioned that technicians or aircraft mechanics could receive “high-quality training they’ve never experienced before” through Vision Pro. He added that he is “very excited about what we can do in learning and education because it’s another superpower of Apple Vision Pro.”
To Be a Tool, Not a Toy
Rockwell’s two deputies, Dave Scott and Yaniv Gur, are researching new application scenarios for Vision Pro. Scott was formerly an executive in Apple’s car team and later briefly left to run a mobile magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) company. Gur previously led the engineering design of Apple’s productivity applications and is now exploring the device’s potential in training and education.
Rockwell stated, “We’re working to make the product a tool, not a toy. To produce a product for productivity or high-end entertainment, the display must be outstanding. So, we invested a lot of money to create a new, uncompromising high-resolution display system.”
In fact, this idea from Apple executives is not a sudden revelation. In July of last year, PhDs from top universities such as the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford jointly published an article on the academic exchange platform ResearchGate titled “Apple Vision Pro: Advances in Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Technologies Drive the Future of Surgery.” The article stated:
“Vision Pro has enormous potential in the medical and surgical fields. It allows users to interact with devices through eye tracking, gestures, cameras, and sensors, eliminating the need for keyboards or touchscreens. In summary, Vision Pro provides exciting opportunities for the future of surgery in various ways, from allowing real-time access to medical records during surgery to helping assess the capabilities of surgeons and improving surgical training.”
However, the future application scenarios for Vision Pro will largely depend on third-party developers. Currently, despite Apple’s collaboration with major entertainment providers, including Walt Disney Company, other companies are hesitant to support this new device.
According to recent reports, Netflix Inc., Spotify Technology SA, and YouTube under Google have no plans to provide Vision Pro applications for their services.
For Apple, realizing applications in surgery, training, and other scenarios will heavily rely on the cooperation of application developers. There may be a long road ahead for Apple in the future.