Apple yesterday released the first ever beta of visionOS and the SDK that will allow developers to create apps for the Apple Vision Pro headset. visionOS can only be explored through Xcode right now, but we thought we’d take a hands-on look to see what we can glean about the headset experience from the operating system.
Testing out visionOS is as simple as getting the latest Xcode 15 beta and the visionOS 1.0 simulator, but to be honest, there’s not a whole lot to see that Apple didn’t already tell us about.
You can only see the operating system on the screen of your Mac, so it’s not what the headset will really be like, and you can’t experience the same level of immersion. That said, you can see what visionOS will look like, including the Home View and app windows, plus you can see how 2D iPad and iPhone apps will look.
Webpages can be loaded into a visionOS version of Safari so website developers can see what their webpages will look like and what needs to be tweaked. Everything looks a lot like iOS, but if iOS were in your living room or kitchen.
There’s a Control Center with customizable options for things like light and dark mode, and there’s a Guest Mode, which is how you’ll be able to let curious people try out the headset without access to your sensitive data. Spotlight is available for searches, and you can set up a range of “Environments” that block out the world around you.
From the visionOS Xcode experience and visionOS code we know there are over a dozen Environments you can select, such as Joshua Tree, Yosemite, Mount Hood, and even the moon. There’s a Visual Search feature that will be able to identify items around you, copy printed text from the real world, translate languages in real time, and more, plus Apple has designed a Travel Mode that can be activated when you’re on an airplane.
Travel Mode ensures that you’re stationary while you’re wearing the Vision Pro, and it blocks out distractions around you. Certain sensors are turned off, perhaps for the privacy of other passengers or because close proximity to a number of other people can cause the sensors to malfunction.
Apple will provide Vision Pro testing labs to developers in several locations worldwide starting next month, plus the company is going to open up applications for a hardware-based Vision Pro developer kit that will allow developers to test their apps right on the Vision Pro itself.
Make sure to watch our full video to get a closer look at the early stages of visionOS.