When Apple announced the Vision Pro headset during an event on June 5 last year as part of the wider WWDC fun, it showed off a range of new features that it will have to offer. Some of those features were more impressive than others, but the EyeSight one is definitely a feature that got plenty of attention. It allows people to see a representation of the Vision Pro wearer's eyes via an external display, and it's sure to be an interesting one to see in real life. But it now appears that the user's eyes weren't the only things that Apple had in mind, at least originally.
A new patent has cropped up that appears to point to some additional features for that external display, which Apple hasn't announced but could return to in a future software update. The new features are all shown in a patent that has former chief designer Jony Ive's name on it, suggesting that this may well be one of the last devices that had his input — if not the last one.
The patent itself doesn't specifically mention the Vision Pro headset or the EyeSight feature, but it's clear that Apple's examples could be part of a future Vision Pro implementation, whether that requires a new hardware release or a simple software update.
Vision Pro possibilities
The patent, which was first spotted by Patently Apple, includes a number of drawings that depict various things that the Vision Pro headset's external display could show at different times. The drawings include some weird and wonderful things including the weather, what appears to be a stock price chart, and more. More usefully, a "DO NOT DISTURB" sign is one example, something that could come in handy whenever the Vision Pro's wearer is working or simply doesn't want to be bothered while in an augmented reality world.
However, as is always the case, it's important to remember that patents don't necessarily equate to shipping products or even features. It's notable that this patent has Jony Ive's name on it of course, but we have to imagine that these features would have been shown off in June of last year if they were going to be part of the finished product.
As for that product, recent rumors suggest that we might see the Vision Pro finally go on sale as soon as the end of January. However, the as-yet untested source of that information means that we will have to wait for more information before we can say with any certainty that January 27 will indeed be the big day.
The Vision Pro headset is set to cost $3,499 and will only be available via physical Apple Stores to allow retail workers to correctly configure it. It's said that an incorrect headset fit will negatively impact the way the Vision Pro performs, something that Apple will want to avoid for such an important device. The Vision Pro headset is Apple's first entry into a new product category in some time — the last was the arrival of the Apple Watch in 2014. Apple will no doubt be more than happy if the AR/VR headset can garner even a portion of the Apple Watch's success.
That might only happen if and when the rumored cheaper Vision Pro headset goes on sale — something that could see the $3,499 asking price slashed considerably in an attempt to turn the premium product into something more suited to mainstream buyers.
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Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.