Ed3 Weekly Issue #60: I Can See Clearly Now
Breaking down the influx of VisionPro analyses from Apple's recent announcement
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Unless you’ve been living under a rock you heard Appleʻs big announcement at WWDC 23 about their new spatial computer hardware the VisionPro. This has spurred an abundance of articles, reviews, and videos full of opinionated hot takes.
What’s an educator to do?
It’s summertime, we’re ready to relax, and now you’re telling me I have to process what a cell phone strapped to my face means for my teaching and learning.
That’s what I am here for.
I am dedicating this entire issue to helping you better understand what this technology means for you as an educator. Peeling away the layers I want to take you to the heart of how the VisionPro may be shaping our future(s).
I want to do this with no basis, no agenda, and no desire to sway you toward a particular outcome. I have done the work and have combed through a number of resources and bring you five that I feel address the full range of issues we need to be thinking about.
This is not meant to be comprehensive. I just want to make sure you are reflecting on the right things. There is a lot being said about what will and won’t be happening with the VisionPro. With these resources, I am hopeful that you can walk away feeling more knowledgeable about your own relationship to these spatial computing devices.
Here is a summary of the resources I have prepared for you:
🤿 The Verge shares about the power of spatial computer apps in the app store
🤿 This article dives into the potential for the VisionPro to be a consumption and productivity device
🤿 Apparently CNN thinks the VisionPro will “change the world”
🤿 Coindesk on why we are transitioning into a 3D future
🤿 Yeah it’s cool, but NY Times asks if you’d actually wear this thing
Looking back, we can now recognize the immense influence of the app store in shaping Apple's hardware advancements. Despite lukewarm initial reception, the app store's remarkable $1 trillion in developer billings and sales in 2022 reveals its true impact. The Verge makes sure to reference this in its review of the VisionPro.
Understanding the significance of the app store is crucial to grasp the potential of Apple's upcoming spatial computing device. The partnership between Apple and game engine developer Unity, which grants full access to VisionOS features, caused Unity's stock to surge by over 25%. Beyond market capitalization, it's important to focus on how the VisionPro will empower developers and coders, even if some may mock its ski goggle appearance.
Image from Stratechery
In the midst of all the buzz surrounding Apple's hardware devices, it can be challenging to discern the underlying trends. This article by technologist Ben Thompson provides a valuable analysis, particularly regarding the integration of VR and AR into a single device. The author draws a parallel between Apple Vision and the transition from traditional cameras to mirrorless cameras, emphasizing the seamless fusion of digital experiences with the real world.
Furthermore, the article delves into the dichotomy of Apple devices, exploring whether they are primarily consumption or productivity-oriented. What makes this analysis intriguing is the author's suggestion that the VisionPro has the potential to fulfill both roles. However, it also raises the important consideration of determining the practical applications and usefulness of Apple Vision, given its high price point and the need for a compelling use case.
I appreciate the author's balanced and focused approach. As we explore in the next article, many analysts are quick to embrace the "life-changing" narrative. While I believe this possibility exists, it will take time for the VisionPro to establish its true position in the hardware market.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
You knew an article proclaiming that the VisionPro will change the world was inevitable. While this is an opinion piece, it's not surprising that CNN published it. I'm not referring to any political bias, but rather acknowledging CNN's role in the mass media market. Some individuals want and expect this device to have a larger-than-life impact.
I genuinely believe that the VisionPro is a game changer. Spatial computing is the future, and as beings existing in a multidimensional world, it's the next logical step in our interaction with computing devices. However, I'm not quite prepared to declare that “a wearable computing platform that is always with you and can create displays of any size in real time could eventually replace desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones.” So although I'm poking some fun at this article, it does offer nuanced analysis in the midst of its over-the-top proclamations.
Apple Vision Pro headset (Apple)
Speaking of a multi-dimensional future, this article in Coinbase really captures the essence of it. They have done an excellent job of connecting the different narratives put forth by Apple with the release of this device. It's crucial to recognize the progress of our immersive digital future, Apple's substantial and dedicated customer base, and a new paradigm for shaping the way we build in Web3.
Apple intentionally avoided using terms like “metaverse,” “blockchain,” or “Web3.” These concepts still remain elusive to the general public. Let's recall that 15-20 years ago, people believed the pinnacle of mobile phones was the Blackberry. The iPhone blew that idea out of the water. Could the VisionPro be the device that brings together all these forward-thinking technologies and concepts? It is important for us to keep a close watch on how this will ultimately shape our future.
Jim Wilson/The New York Times
Alright, New York Times asks the million-dollar question: Will people actually wear these? Apart from the exorbitant cost, the answer is... it depends. In the comfort of your own home or office, the appearance may not matter much if you're engrossed in a fully immersive spatial computing experience.
However, wearing it at places like Starbucks or on a plane might take some getting used to. Notice that Tim Cook didn’t actually put the VisionPro on while he was there to promote it. But we shouldn't underestimate people's willingness to embrace a somewhat peculiar appearance in order to signal their wealth. We've seen numerous examples of this already. I see you “Big Red Boots.”
Ultimately, if the device proves to be impressive enough, people won't care about its appearance. Moreover, I believe that in 5 years, we'll look back and laugh at this initial version. Just think about the first-generation iPod, iPhone, iPad, or iWatch. Apple excels at delivering consumer-ready products and swiftly iterating on its designs to make them better. I expect the same to happen with the VisionPro.
Thank you for stopping by for another issue of my web3🤝education newsletter. If you’re on LinkedIn you can check out a version of this newsletter on my LinkedIn page and give me a follow. You can also link to all my work by checking out my blog or give me a follow on Twitter.