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VisionOS ver.1.1 update: What’s new in the Apple Vision Pro

After launching the Vision Pro mixed-reality headset on the 2nd of February, Apple released the VisionOS 1.1 update to the gadget. Here's what's new

Vision Pro

Apple made its debut in the arena of “spatial computing” this year with its new Apple Vision Pro headset. The Vision Pro offers users an immersive experience by presenting high-resolution computer graphics within mere millimeters from user’s eyes. This display is complemented by intuitive controls, allowing users to navigate a desktop-like interface effortlessly using a combination of eye movements and subtle hand gestures.

Reactions from users who went from heralding the Vision Pro by stating that it is the future of computing, to returning the headset due to motion-sickness and the headset’s weight complaints, the future for this $3,499 headset (costing approximately $4,500 with addtional storage and accessories) seems narrow. While the price tag may be steep, enthusiasts and professionals recognise the value proposition inherent in the Vision Pro’s capabilities and potential in spatial computing

Amidst all the reactions from users and developers alike, Apple released a significant software update to the Vision Pro headset with the release of the visionOS version 1.1, marking one of its most substantial enhancements since its debut in the realm of mixed reality headsets. This update brings a host of improvements across various core features, notably shining a spotlight on Persona.

VisionOS 1.1 – Features

Persona, a central feature of the Vision Pro, serves as an animated digital representation of users during FaceTime calls or video conferences. However, initial reception of Persona was mixed too, with some users expressing reservations about its fidelity and realism. With visionOS 1.1, Apple aims to address these concerns by refining Persona’s appearance to achieve a more lifelike representation of users. While Persona remains in beta, the software update introduces enhancements designed to capture facial expressions and nuances more accurately, thus enhancing the immersive experience of virtual interactions.

One of the standout enhancements in visionOS 1.1 is the introduction of hands-free Persona capture. Previously, users were required to manually hold the Vision Pro in front of their faces during the capture process, which posed accessibility challenges for individuals with mobility issues. Now, with the latest update, users have the flexibility to place the headset on a flat surface at eye level or enlist the assistance of others to capture their Persona, making the process more inclusive and user-friendly.

Beyond Persona improvements, visionOS 1.1 offers additional refinements and features to enrich the user experience. Users now have the option to declutter their Home View by removing Apple’s native system apps, allowing for a more personalized and streamlined interface. Furthermore, the update introduces support for iMessage Contact Key Verification, enhancing the security and authenticity of communication within the platform.

Moreover, visionOS 1.1 brings enhancements to various aspects of the user interface and functionality, including improvements to closed captions, the virtual keyboard, Mac Virtual Display, and captive Wi-Fi networks. These refinements contribute to a smoother and more intuitive user experience, ensuring that Vision Pro users can fully leverage the capabilities of their devices.

While some users may still yearn for the inclusion of popular third-party apps such as Netflix and YouTube, the steady stream of software updates instills optimism for the future of the platform. Looking ahead, anticipation mounts for potential announcements at the upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference, where Apple may unveil visionOS 2 and introduce further enhancements and innovations to the Vision Pro ecosystem. As the platform continues to evolve, users can expect ongoing improvements and refinements to elevate their mixed reality experiences to new heights.

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