We finally got our first look at Apple’s highly anticipated mixed reality headset at today’s WWDC event, including a sneak peek at a new immersive way to watch your favorite Disney sports, shows, and movies. While most of the hype surrounding it has focused on productivity and VR gaming, Disney CEO Bob Iger took to the stage to showcase immersive experiences for the Apple Vision Pro that will be available via the Disney Plus streaming service when the headset launches next year.
The Vision Pro headset provides users with a way to watch Disney content while being immersed in a thematic virtual reality environment. Rather than watching a physical TV in a real, very messy lounge, users can virtually transport themselves to a new location, such as floating in the sky or surrounded by dunes in a sandy desert, in which to watch their favorite content. A notable example included in the Disney teaser demonstrated an episode of The Mandalorian being streamed from what appears to be Tatooine (an alien planet from the Star Wars franchise), fully immersing you in the environment of the content you’re watching.
The video also teases that Disney Plus users will be able to use the Vision Pro headset to watch sports games in VR, a feature that prominent Apple leaker Mark Gurman mentioned in his Power On newsletter in April. This is demonstrated in a few ways, the first of which features a regular 2D football game surrounded by useful information in widget-like boxes, such as the score, win probability, and player stats. Another example involves a 3D top-down view of a basketball game projected onto a coffee table in the user’s lounge, allowing them to see a courtview replay of the match from every angle.
Aside from watchable content, the teaser also suggests that Disney Plus will add some interactive VR experiences to its platform that can be accessed via the Vision Pro headset, such as the ability to “travel via a National Geographic adventure from your couch.” Judging by the turtle that swam across the presentation, this might be something akin to the Jurassic World walkthrough experience on the Meta Quest more than an actual video game.
A partnership with Disney is huge for a new device like this. The virtual reality experiences teased in Iger’s Disney Plus showcase are exactly the kind of premium content Meta hasn’t been able to get for its own Quest VR headsets, and its metaverse project isn’t exactly looking very hot these days. That said, take Disney’s “demonstration” with a pinch of salt — we have no way of knowing how accurately it will actually reflect on the Vision Pro’s capabilities when it arrives sometime next year.