While Apple imagines users wearing its Vision Pro headset to do a variety of things, like watch movies, capture videos, and multitask, it still hasn’t mentioned one pretty major application: fitness. But now, a report from The Information suggests that Apple had been planning workout apps for the mixed reality headset, but they just weren’t ready in time for its June reveal.
Former Apple employees tell The Information that staff members explored partnering with Nike to create workouts for the Vision Pro and also looked into creating face cushions designed for “sweaty, high-intensity workouts.” Apple employees even reportedly weighed the idea of letting Vision Pro wearers interact with content while on a stationary bike.
Although Apple let some of its Worldwide Developers Conference attendees try out a meditation app with the Vision Pro earlier this month, The Information reports that Apple had some other wellness apps in the works. That includes a yoga app that utilizes the device’s cameras to measure a user’s breathing “by observing a user’s chest and torso,” as well as a tai chi app.
It wouldn’t be all too surprising if Apple is still developing these rumored applications, as fitness experiences — like Supernatural — are one of the core use cases for mixed reality headsets. But former employees tell The Information that Apple might’ve been hesitant to reveal the tech because the Vision Pro comes with a clunky external battery pack and its “front-facing glass screen could be too fragile to survive a bump from furniture or a wall.” Other limitations, like less accurate hand tracking, could be why Apple didn’t reveal any mixed reality-specific games for the headset either, The Information reports.
Those aren’t the only applications that Apple could have in the pipeline, however. The Information also suggests that Apple was reportedly looking to create a “co-presence” feature, which uses body tracking to create a virtual version of the person a user is talking with through the headset. Apple showed off a similar feature during WWDC that creates a digital “persona” of the user when making a call on FaceTime, but it doesn’t incorporate their full body. While Google is also working on a telepresence feature, called Project Starline, which uses AI to create a realistic, digital version of someone you’re talking to remotely, it requires far more hardware than just a mixed-reality headset.
With the Vision Pro set to launch in early 2024, Apple still has several months to fill out the $3,499 headset with more features and apps. The company is already arming developers with the tools they need to create apps for the system and will automatically transfer over iOS and iPadOS apps to the device, which almost guarantees a full range of content at launch.