April 16, 2024

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Apple's first new 3D Vision Pro video since launch is only a few minutes long

Apple's first new 3D Vision Pro video since launch is only a few minutes long

Tonight, Apple will debut some new immersive video content for the Vision Pro headset, the first sports content for the device. It doesn't seem like much after two months of no new content.

Starting at 6pm PT/9pm ET, Vision Pro users will be able to watch sports film captured in the platform's proprietary universal video format. The video will be a series of highlights from last year's MLS playoffs, and according to Six colors, it will only run for five minutes. It will be free for all Vision Pro users.

On February 2, Apple released what appears to be the first episodes of three immersive video series: Adventure, Prehistoric planetAnd Wildlife. Each debuted alongside the launch of Vision Pro with a single episode titled “Episode One” of “Season One”.

However, it's been nearly two months, and none of these series have gotten new episodes. The only other piece of extensive video content available is Alicia Keyes' performance video which also premiered on February 2. Most of these videos were only a few minutes long.

That means this short football video depicting sporting moments from 2023 will be the only new piece of immersive video content Apple has rolled out since the device launched at the beginning of February.

When I reviewed the Vision Pro as an entertainment device, I praised its movie-watching and 2D video capabilities, but I also talked a little about its 3D video capabilities. I said that the first portions of Apple's original 3D content look promising and that I'm looking forward to future episodes. Since it's categorized just like the Apple TV+ series in the TV app, I assumed it would hit a weekly cadence. More episodes are yet to come.

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Notably, Apple has not included a first-party app for playing 3D videos downloaded from the web with Vision Pro, although an independent developer has filled that gap with an app called Reality Player. There are a few 3D video streaming or downloading services in the VisionOS app store, but the selection is very poor compared to what you can access with other headsets.

Apple didn't call the Vision Pro a VR headset, instead choosing the term “spatial computing” — which is understandable because it does much more than most VR headsets.

But if you're looking for new examples of the types of passive display content you can enjoy on other headsets, the Vision Pro is still far behind the competition after a couple of months.

The device can display a significant amount of 2D video content, but that underscores the initial impression that the Vision Pro is intended for displaying flat 2D content as windows into 3D space. The situation isn't quite as bad with apps and games, with a few new spatial apps rolling out in those categories in recent weeks.

Most apps work just like iPad apps, with 2D viewports in the content; You can place these display ports wherever you want in the room around you. Most video content is also 2D.

There are situations where it would be nice to do this, but it's surprising that Apple hasn't invested more in actual 3D content yet. As far as new stuff goes, this short football video showing tonight is all we've got for now.

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Listing photo by Samuel Axon