Spatial Computing’s Promise Is Fulfilled


The Apple Vision Pro launched on Friday, and I was the first person in part of the DC area to get a demo and buy the device.

As someone who has been working in the XR industry for a long time, I know this day was years in the making and will be a catalyst for future experiences to come.

Apple Vision Pro Demo

After being quickly seated at the Apple store near me, I received the first demo of the day.

The demo wrapped with an immersive video montage that included hot air balloons in Turkey and above a soccer field somewhere in the African continent where kids played soccer in a field and rhinos hung out in the periphery. The video included footage of a woman petting a baby rhino and ended with a video of a grizzly bear in a river.

At that point, I started to cry—really didn’t think I would get emotional as I’ve worn many devices and had experienced the Apple Vision Pro before, but that moment made me reflect. Like hundreds of other professionals, I have believed in the promise of spatial computing and have worked in the XR industry for almost a decade.

This was a moment many of us have been working towards and had hoped for, and here it was. As I stared at that bear in the water, probably the closest I will ever want to be to a grizzly bear, it hit me, once again, how powerful this technology will be in changing not only human-computer interaction, but also human-to-human communications.

I took the device off and shed some tears. So many men and women have been working to make this moment a reality and it felt like the culmination of all the work, but also the beginning of a new computing era that is just about to take off.

After finishing my demo and getting all my gear, I walked off feeling reassured that the career path I had chosen many years ago was the right one for me. Folks in the store knew how excited I was and they clapped as I walked out with the first Apple Vision Pro that store had ever sold.

It felt so meaningful because this is my personal Apple Vision Pro.

Apple Vision Pro At-Home Setup

I came home and took the Apple Vision Pro out of the box. Showed it to my daughter and our nanny. Then, we decided to be silly and take some photos with the device. I took several, one of them sitting on the couch hanging out with my dog. We just wanted to have fun.

After enjoying some downtime with the family, I started the at-home setup of my device. I took it out, connected the battery, and we went to the races. I set up Optic ID and also Apple Pay. I decided to set up my Persona later because I knew I would want to do that when I had good lighting and could sit still for a while. I want to try to get the least uncanny version of myself possible so that when I show up on Facetime or Zoom as a persona, it’s the best possible persona version of myself. I followed the setup menu, watched a demo and started to download apps.

I downloaded a gaming app called Loona, as well as Super Fruit Ninja, a favorite of mine. Then I downloaded Lowe’s app, the PGA’s app, Warner’s Max App, also Zillow Immersive, the MyTheresa Luxury Shopping app and also J. Crew’s Virtual closet app and a few more.

In the first hour after setup, I played spatial games and had a blast.

I browsed multi-million dollar homes in Zillow; watched spatial video of my family’s holiday vacation and then decided to wrap things up with some retail therapy. I browsed a gorgeous Balmain sequin dress that I might buy, and decided to shop in the J Crew app. To buy some cute black platform shoes, I selected my size, added to my cart and bought via Apple Pay. It was super easy and fun.

Spatial Retail: A Few Thoughts On Shopping In Spatial Computing

My first impression of shopping experiences on the Vision Pro is that there will lots of experimentation happening in translating the retail experience into spatial computing.

As with anything, there will be hits and misses.

Some apps will provide an early glimpse into engaging shopping experiences of tomorrow, while some other will only replicate or port what they have been doing in the web into the Apple Vision Pro, thus not leveraging this evolving 3D-centric form of computing.

The way we shop in person is not stati, like it can often be in the confines of our mobile devices. The brands that understand this and work with those that understand this will eventually help prove the value of spatial retail experiences and in the next couple of years will eventually translate into actual sales of physical and virtual fashion.

We will see a lot of experimentation using high-fidelity assets in shopping experiences that can fluctuate between fully immersive environments that can be more fantastical and mixed reality environments where virtual objects must respond to the physical world. I’m particularly excited about the use of Apple’s SharePlay in spatial shopping and later down the line the use of Apple Personas for a more immersive and bespoke shopping experience.

Brands like H&M and Moschino experimented with spatial computing and shopping experiences in the Magic Leap in the late 2010s. Now, we will see brands set up Apple Vision Pro pop-ups that will only exist for a limited time or be tied to a specific event or runway show.

I feel we’re about to see spatial computing hit the runway during fashion month.

With spatial computing, the world becomes a catwalk or a canvas, and innovative fashion incumbents will lean in and leverage the technologies that enable spatial computing, like AI, computer vision, and XR, while nimble and innovative up-and-coming players will also leverage the tech and get ahead of some incumbents, just like what happened with mobile.

Fashion is in a constant state of evolution, and the transition from mobile computing to spatial computing will change the game once again.

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