visionOS
Home View in visionOS
DeveloperApple Inc.
OS familyUnix-like, based on Darwin (BSD), iOS, iPadOS
Working stateCurrent
Initial releaseFebruary 2, 2024
Latest release1.1.1[1] [±]
Marketing targetMixed reality headsets, Apple Vision Pro
PlatformsARMv8-A
Kernel typeHybrid (XNU)
LicenseProprietary software with open-source components
Official websitedeveloper.apple.com/visionos/
Support status
Supported

visionOS is a mixed reality operating system derived primarily from iOS core frameworks (including UIKit, SwiftUI, ARKit and RealityKit), and MR-specific frameworks for foveated rendering and real-time interaction.[2][3] It was developed by Apple Inc. exclusively for its Apple Vision Pro mixed reality headset. It was unveiled on June 5, 2023, at Apple's WWDC23 event alongside the reveal of the Apple Vision Pro. The software released on February 2, 2024, shipping with the Apple Vision Pro.

History

Apple has reportedly been working on and conceptualizing visionOS throughout the 2010s and early 2020s.[4] Internally codenamed Borealis,[5] it was officially revealed to the public at Apple's WWDC23 event alongside the Vision Pro. Apple stated the two would release in early 2024.[6]

During the event, The Walt Disney Company announced plans to develop spatial computing apps for visionOS;[7] Disney+ will offer features such as streaming of selected titles in stereoscopic 3D, and 3D environments based on the El Capitan Theatre and locations from Disney-owned franchises.[8]

The operating system was initially planned to be released as xrOS before the name was changed reportedly days before the release, after the WWDC23 keynote and developer sessions had already been filmed.[9] On January 8, 2024, Apple announced that the Vision Pro with visionOS would be available in the US on February 2, 2024, with pre-orders beginning on January 19.[10]

Developer tools

From June 5–12 2023, Apple released 35 free virtual sessions covering visionOS development as part of WWDC23. On June 21, 2023, Apple released Xcode 15 Beta 2, which was the first Xcode beta to include a software development kit for visionOS and Reality Composer Pro, a tool to create 3D content for visionOS.[11] Xcode 15 launched without these features, which were eventually added in Xcode 15.2 on January 8, 2024,[12][13] the same day that Apple started accepting submissions for the visionOS App Store.[13]

During the WWDC23 keynote, Apple revealed it was working with Unity Technologies to support the Unity engine on visionOS,[14][15] and that Unity would be releasing development tools for 3D games on Vision Pro, which launched in beta on July 19, 2023.[16]

Features

visionOS uses a 3D user interface navigated via finger tracking, eye tracking, and speech recognition. For example, the user can click an element by looking at it and pinching two fingers together, move the element by moving their pinched fingers, and scroll by flicking their wrist. Apps are displayed in floating windows that can be arranged in 3D space. visionOS supports a virtual keyboard for text input, the Siri virtual assistant, and external Bluetooth peripherals including Magic Keyboard, Magic Trackpad, and gamepads.[17][18]

During visionOS setup, a user can create a digital persona by taking off the headset and scanning their face with it. Users can use this persona during FaceTime calls, and see other participants' personas if they are using visionOS.[19]

The Photos app supports presenting spatial video, depth-mapped 3D video recorded on Vision Pro or iPhone 15 Pro, by adapting the video's depth to the user's head movements.[20]

At launch, visionOS shipped with 13 pre-installed 3D 360° background animated environments with accompanying ambient sounds, including optional day and night scenes of Yosemite National Park, Haleakalā National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, Mount Hood National Forest, Lake Vrangla near Drammen, Norway, and the Moon.[21]

The Apple TV app offers 3D films; the company announced that over 150 films would be available in 3D at launch, at no additional charge to users that rent or purchase the films on iTunes Store.[22]

WebXR, an API for mixed reality experiences through web browsers, is supported in Safari.[23]

visionOS users can also access their Mac with a resizable 4K virtual display that appears after looking at the computer.[24][25][26][27]

Supported apps

visionOS is backwards compatible with existing iOS and iPadOS apps, which are rendered in windows within the user environment and are automatically compatible with visionOS' input system.[10][28] The developers of iOS and iPadOS apps have the option to opt out of visionOS compatibility. Apple claims that over 1 million apps from iOS and iPadOS are available on visionOS.[10] In addition to iPadOS and iOS apps, over 600 native visionOS apps have been developed specifically for the platform, according to Apple.[29] Apple also claims 100 Apple Arcade games will be compatible with visionOS at launch, the majority of which can make use of visionOS' gamepad compatibility.[18][30][31]

Many popular productivity apps have released fully-optimized visionOS versions, including Microsoft 365 apps (Teams, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, etc.), Adobe Lightroom, Slack, Zoom, and Webex.[32] Many streaming apps are also optimized for the platform, such as Max, Disney+, Prime Video, Paramount+, and ESPN.[33]

Some of the most popular entertainment apps for iOS and iPadOS including Netflix, Spotify, and YouTube have not made their iOS or iPadOS apps available to run on visionOS, recommending users instead use their respective websites on Safari.[34] YouTube has announced that a visionOS app is "on [the] roadmap."[35]

Apple-made apps that come preinstalled on visionOS include Mail, Messages, Mindfulness, Apple Music, Apple TV, Notes, Photos, and Freeform.

Reception

Pre-launch

Before the February 2024 launch, Apple gave controlled demos of the Apple Vision Pro to many technology journalists, some of whom have praised its multitasking capabilities and input methods, while lamenting that the software is only available on expensive hardware.[36] Other reviewers have focused on the software's spatial videos feature and high resolution, while questioning what the software's main use case will be.[37] Speculation from journalists noted ongoing disputes from the developers of popular apps regarding the commissions charged by Apple for in-app purchases through apps distributed on the App Store as a potential cause for many not developing visionOS-native versions.[38]

Release

Many reviews praised visionOS even while criticizing the hardware. Some reviews even mentioned features more advanced than the Apple Vision Pro hardware, such as eye and hand tracking.[39] Almost all key reviews praised the window mechanics and experience.[40][39]

Release history

Previous release Current release Current beta release
Release history
Version Build Release date Features
1.0[41] 21N307 Initial release Initial release on Apple Vision Pro.
  • 3D user interface
  • Window placement and management
  • Interact with eye tracking and hand gestures
1.0.1[42] 21N311 January 23, 2024 Minor bug fixes
1.0.2[43] 21N323 January 31, 2024 Patches WebKit flaw that could be exploited, leading to arbitrary code execution[44]
1.0.3[45] 21N333 February 12, 2024 Bug fixes and adds an option to reset device if passcode is forgotten
1.1[46] 21O211 March 7, 2024
  • Allows users to get closer to objects in 3D space before it fades out
  • Enterprise device management support
  • Appearance updates to Personas, prompting users to recapture theirs after installing the update[47][48]
1.1.1[49] 21O224 March 21, 2024 Bug fixes and security updates[50]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Apple Releases visionOS 1.1.1 With Bug Fixes". MacRumors. 2024-03-21. Retrieved 2024-03-24.
  2. ^ Wiggers, Kyle (June 5, 2023). "visionOS is Apple's latest operating system". TechCrunch. Retrieved June 7, 2023.
  3. ^ "WWDC 2023 Biggest Reveals: Vision Pro Headset, iOS 17, MacBook Air and More". CNET. Retrieved June 7, 2023.
  4. ^ Mickle, Tripp (2024-01-19). "Apple Takes a Humble Approach to Launching Its Newest Device". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2024-01-20.
  5. ^ "Apple Will Talk Up Its Mixed-Reality Headset in 2023 But Not Much Else". Bloomberg.com. 2023-01-08. Retrieved 2024-01-27.
  6. ^ Robertson, Adi (2023-06-05). "Apple Vision Pro is Apple's new $3,499 AR headset". The Verge. Retrieved 2024-01-20.
  7. ^ Weatherbed, Jess (June 5, 2023). "Disney Plus is coming to Apple's Vision Pro headset". The Verge. Archived from the original on June 5, 2023. Retrieved June 5, 2023.
  8. ^ Goldsmith, Jill (2024-01-16). "Apple Vision Pro Unveils Disney+ Features, More Streaming Apps & 3D Movies As Bob Iger Calls Mixed Reality Headset "A Revolutionary Platform"". Deadline. Retrieved 2024-01-16.
  9. ^ "Apple visionOS was called 'xrOS' before last-minute change, WWDC23 keynote and developer sessions confirm it". The Apple Post. June 9, 2023. Retrieved October 13, 2023.
  10. ^ a b c "Apple Vision Pro available in the U.S. on February 2". Apple Newsroom. Retrieved 2024-01-20.
  11. ^ "visionOS SDK now available - Latest News - Apple Developer". developer.apple.com. Retrieved 2024-01-20.
  12. ^ "Apple releases Xcode 15.2". AppleInsider. 2024-01-08. Retrieved 2024-01-20.
  13. ^ a b "Apple Releases New Versions of TestFlight and Xcode With Vision Pro Support, Starts Accepting visionOS Apps". MacRumors. 2024-01-08. Retrieved 2024-01-20.
  14. ^ Novet, Jordan (June 5, 2023). "Unity stock jumps 17% on Apple Vision Pro partnership". CNBC. Retrieved June 7, 2023.
  15. ^ Warren, Tom (June 5, 2023). "Microsoft Word, Excel, and Teams are all coming to Apple's new Vision Pro headset". The Verge. Archived from the original on June 5, 2023. Retrieved June 5, 2023.
  16. ^ "What you need to know about Unity PolySpatial and visionOS". Unity Blog. Retrieved 2024-01-20.
  17. ^ Goode, Lauren (June 5, 2023). "Apple's Mixed-Reality Headset, Vision Pro, Is Here". Wired. Retrieved June 5, 2023.
  18. ^ a b Peters, Jay (June 5, 2023). "Apple announces visionOS, the operating system for its Vision Pro headset". The Verge. Archived from the original on June 5, 2023. Retrieved June 5, 2023.
  19. ^ Axon, Samuel (June 6, 2023). "Hands-on with Apple Vision Pro: This is not a VR headset". Ars Technica. Retrieved June 7, 2023.
  20. ^ Peters, Jay (2023-09-12). "The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max will let you film spatial video you can watch on the Vision Pro". The Verge. Retrieved 2024-01-20.
  21. ^ "Apple's first visionOS beta outlines 13 VR 'Environments,' app limitations". Macworld. Retrieved 2024-02-05.
  22. ^ Spangler, Todd (2024-01-16). "Apple Vision Pro Will Feature 150-Plus 3D Movies at Launch, Immersive Originals, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video and More". Variety. Retrieved 2024-01-26.
  23. ^ Lang, Ben (June 20, 2023). "Apple Vision Pro Will Support WebXR for Fully Immersive Experiences in the Browser". Road to VR. Retrieved June 24, 2023.
  24. ^ "Your Mac and Apple Vision Pro: What You Can Do (and What You Can't)". MacRumors. 2024-01-11. Retrieved 2024-01-22.
  25. ^ "Mac Virtual Display is limited in Vision Pro – but there's a workaround". 9To5Mac. 2023-06-07. Retrieved 2024-01-22.
  26. ^ "How Apple Vision Pro Works With the Mac". MacRumors. 2023-06-06. Retrieved 2024-01-22.
  27. ^ ">With Mac Virtual Display, users can even bring the powerful capabilities of the... | Hacker News". news.ycombinator.com. Retrieved 2024-01-22.
  28. ^ Roth, Emma (June 10, 2023). "The Vision Pro's biggest advantage isn't Apple's hardware". The Verge. Retrieved August 27, 2023.
  29. ^ "Apple announces more than 600 new apps built for Apple Vision Pro". Apple Newsroom. Retrieved 2024-02-03.
  30. ^ Peters, Jay (June 5, 2023). "Apple announces visionOS, the operating system for its Vision Pro headset". The Verge. Retrieved June 7, 2023.
  31. ^ Parrish, Ash (June 5, 2023). "Apple's new VR headset will feature over 100 Apple Arcade games at launch". The Verge. Archived from the original on June 5, 2023. Retrieved June 5, 2023.
  32. ^ updated, James Bentley last (2024-01-08). "Every Apple Vision Pro app we've heard about so far". iMore. Retrieved 2024-01-20.
  33. ^ "Apple Announces Streaming Services and Sports Apps Available on Vision Pro at Launch". MacRumors. 2024-01-16. Retrieved 2024-01-20.
  34. ^ Gurman, Mark (2024-01-18). "Bloomberg - YouTube and Spotify Won't Launch Apple Vision Pro Apps, Joining Netflix". www.bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2024-01-20.
  35. ^ Patel, Nilay (2024-02-05). "YouTube says a Vision Pro app is 'on the roadmap'". The Verge. Retrieved 2024-02-06.
  36. ^ "I've Worn Apple's Vision Pro Headset 4 Times. Here's What You Need to Know Before Buying". CNET. Retrieved 2024-01-20.
  37. ^ Song, Victoria (2024-01-16). "Apple Vision Pro hands-on, again, for the first time". The Verge. Retrieved 2024-01-20.
  38. ^ Pierce, David (2024-01-20). "The Vision Pro's first killer app is the web, whether Apple likes it or not". The Verge. Retrieved 2024-01-24.
  39. ^ a b Patel, Nilay (2024-01-30). "Apple Vision Pro review: magic, until it's not". The Verge. Retrieved 2024-02-05.
  40. ^ "Apple Vision Pro Review: A Mind-Blowing Look at an Unfinished Future". CNET. Retrieved 2024-02-05.
  41. ^ "About visionOS 1 Updates". Apple Support. 2024-02-02. Retrieved 2024-02-11.
  42. ^ "Apple Releases visionOS 1.0.1 Ahead of Vision Pro Launch". MacRumors. 2024-01-23. Retrieved 2024-02-11.
  43. ^ Michael, Simon. "Vision Pro isn't out yet but Apple has already patched a serious zero-day flaw". Macworld. Retrieved 2024-02-11.
  44. ^ "About visionOS 1 Updates". Apple Support. 2024-02-02. Retrieved 2024-02-11.
  45. ^ "Apple Releases visionOS 1.0.3 With Reset Option for Forgotten Passcode". MacRumors. 2024-02-12. Retrieved 2024-02-12.
  46. ^ Hall, Zac (2024-03-07). "visionOS 1.1 update for Apple Vision Pro now available with MDM support, improved Persona, more". 9to5Mac. Retrieved 2024-03-07.
  47. ^ "Apple Starts Improving Vision Pro Personas in visionOS 1.1 Beta". MacRumors. 2024-02-06. Retrieved 2024-02-11.
  48. ^ "visionOS 1.1 Beta 3 Release Notes". Apple Developer Documentation. Retrieved 2024-02-25.
  49. ^ "Apple Releases visionOS 1.1.1 With Bug Fixes". MacRumors. 2024-03-21. Retrieved 2024-03-24.
  50. ^ "About the security content of visionOS 1.1.1". Apple Support. 2024-03-25. Retrieved 2024-03-28.