spatial-persona-vision-pro

When Apple announced the Vision Pro headset last year, it was described as the world’s first spatial computer.

Part of this is the ability to interact with traditional computing applications the virtual and augmented environment. You can look to your left and be browsing the web through Safari, or look to the right to watch videos via Apple TV.

However, there’s a deeper level to this, which Apple is hoping to explore through something called Spatial Personas, which launches as a feature for Vision Pro owners today.

Here’s what you need to know.

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What are Spatial Avatars?

Spatial Personas are effectively virtual avatars that enable users to joined by friends or colleagues via a FaceTime call in the virtual environment.

So, instead of just seeing the FaceTime tile, the Spatial Persona feature will lift the caller out of the interface and whatever’s in their background, and into the eyeline, appearing as something approaching a physical representation.

It can work for up to five people, so it can appear as if all of the participants are sitting around the same table in the same room provided they’re all rocking Vision Pro headsets.

Apple says it’ll help the interactions feel a little more real due to the ability to make eye contact or move around. It could add a little authenticity to the interactions compared to Meta’s more cartoony avatars within its Metaverse for example. Plus audio is directional too, so you’ll hear a person’s voice based upon where they exist in that virtual space.

Users will be able to watch videos, play games and work together using the various apps. For example, by collaborating in the Apple Freeform app as shown in the image below.

Vision Pro Spatial Avatars
Image credit: Apple (via Inverse)

Apple explained how it works during a WWDC session for developers last year. Here’s what the company said last June (via 9to5Mac):

In a SharePlay session, Spatial Personas let you feel present with others in a way technology has never enabled before. You can look your friends in the eye, express yourself naturally with movement and body language, and best of all, enjoy a shared activity together using your app.

These shared activities are a key part of what makes this an exciting new computing platform and people will expect your app to fully support the features I’m going to talk about today. Shared activities in FaceTime build on the existing foundation of SharePlay, which is already a great way for groups of people to enjoy content together while apart.

Apple

There’s a really great write up by Inverse’s Raymond Wong who got to try out the feature courtesy of Apple. The company says it is coming to Vision Pro headsets running visionOS 1.1 from today. The video below is worth a watch too.

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