An allegedly leaked image taken from the set of an undisclosed Apple TV Plus set appears to show a 180-degree camera rig, which suggests that the content being filmed could be targeted at the Apple Vision Pro mixed reality headset.
A photo of the camera was posted by Twitter user David Altizer and flagged by Apple Insider, which suggested the rig’s protruding optics could have been used to capture footage for use with VR headsets.
RUMOR: Apple has been shooting all their AppleTV+ shows in 180 VR.Leaked photo of the 180-camera rig on set. pic.twitter.com/JKZ8mKizSRJuly 7, 2023
While there’s no telling if the capabilities of this camera were indeed used for filming 180-degree footage, it would make sense for Apple to capture video content with larger fields of vision, as it has championed the Vision Pro as a headset that’ll be great for viewing movies and premium shows on. And given Apple is working with Disney to bring Disney Plus to the Vision Pro, it’s likely that Cupertino is putting a good deal of focus on movies and shows that'll tap into the potential of its virtual and augmented reality headset.
As the Vision Pro has been designed with immersion in mind, shows and movies filmed at wider angles would likely better fill a wearer’s vision, rather than have black bars on either side. Add in features like Spatial Audio and the Vision Pro could potentially offer a more immersive viewing experience than even the best Dolby-rated cinemas.
Apple Vision Pro: A view to a thrill?
When Apple revealed the Vision Pro at WWDC 2023, it had a comprehensive segment on the entertainment potential of the headset; the one that stood out to me was the scope for immersive movie viewing when on a flight, ideal for blocking out other people and crying children.
One such feature championed was the Cinema Environments that can use AR and VR to turn a room into a personal movie theater. And reportedly there’ll be 13 virtual theater environments to choose from.
But while such features, along with the high-end tech in the Vision Pro headset like its Micro OLED display, are all well and good, they need optimized or custom content to take advantage of them. So it would be no surprise if all of the Apple TV Plus shows in production are bing made with the Vision Pro in mind; I’d go some way to assume that existing Apple TV Plus shows like Severance we’re also filmed with ultra-wide cameras so that they are ready for the launch of the Vision Pro.
Speaking of which, the Vision Pro is set to launch some time in early 2024 for a hefty $3,499. It's probably not going to be the mixed reality headset for the general consumers, rather being targeted at developers and enthusiastic early-adopters. But it’ll likely be a technology testbed for Apple, laying the foundations to develop more affordable headsets for the wider public if the Vision Pro is deemed a success by the Cupertino crew.
While some may feel like the Vision Pro is a step too far for Apple, especially with some unnerving features like superimposing digital versions of the wearer's eyes on the outside of the goggles, in our Apple Vision Pro hands-on time we came away impressed at the tech on offer.