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Apple considered a finger-worn controller for the Vision Pro

Apple considered a finger-worn controller for the Vision Pro


In the end, the company decided eye- and- hand-motion-based control was the better solution.

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The Apple Vision Pro headset on display at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino.
The Vision Pro almost had a dedicated controller.
Image: Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Apple’s new Vision Pro headset, which is coming later this year, will use hand-tracking and eye-tracking for control, but at one time, Apple considered a finger-worn input device, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman in today’s Power On newsletter.

Gurman said that early in the Vision Pro’s development cycle, Apple tested third-party virtual reality controllers from companies like HTC. Later, it looked into the finger-worn device — indeed, in 2015 a smart ring patent from the company emerged, though at the time seemed more intended as a general wearable device, not something specific to a mixed reality headset.

Apple Vision Pro first look.

In the end, Gurman says, the company decided that using eye-tracking and hand motions to control the Vision Pro was the “more elegant solution.” When our own Nilay Patel tested the headset, calling it the “best headset demo ever,” he thought the eye tracking was solid, and confirmed that you can keep your hands down at your sides or in your lap, tapping your thumb and forefinger together to make selections — no waving your hands in the air or pointing at things here.

Of course, Apple said at WWDC 2023 that the Vision Pro will still have support for external input devices, including third-party game controllers and keyboards, so you’ll still have the option to skip the hand controls for certain types of input.