The Apple Vision Pro won’t be available for some time, so we still have several months of rumors ahead of us before its release window of early 2024. And today we just got a couple more leaks that help paint a more complete picture of Apple’s spatial computer.
The biggest news? We’ve finally seen what the VR headset’s virtual keyboard could look like in visionOS. Software developer Atilla Taşkıran sent out a tweet that claims to show off the Vision Pro’s virtual keyboard. And while there’s nothing earth-shattering in this reveal, the keyboard shown off in the video looks incredibly slick thanks to a few design choices.
First, when your finger hovers over a key, the key will light up. The Vision Pro is a controller-less experience by default, but because of this, it comes with an impressive 12 cameras, six microphones and five sensors to facilitate eye-tracking and hand-tracking. In this instance, the hand-tracking appears to be incredibly precise thanks to this combination of hardware.
Attention to details is crucial, especially when it comes to interactions.👇🏼Here's a little breakdown of the keyboard interaction and visual feedback in visionOS.1. Look at how the keys get highlighted when hovering with the fingers over them. ❤️2. Pressing a key pushes it… pic.twitter.com/07Yy81swCgJune 11, 2023
Then when you press on the key, it actually moves — pushing the key downward on the z-axis. And when you depress the key, it gives off a little pulse of light. Given that the virtual keyboard will lack any sort of physical feedback, this level of visual immersion may make the keyboard feel more comfortable to use.
Of course, Apple Vision Pro isn’t the only mixed reality headset to get a virtual keyboard. The Meta Quest Pro features one as well. However, the Quest Pro’s keyboard is not nearly as aesthically pleasing or frankly as natural in appearance. So productivity users may prefer Apple’s approach. The Vision Pro also allows for dictation with voice commands or support for Apple’s Magic Keyboard if you prefer to avoid the virtual keyboard altogether.
Apple Vision Pro’s three displays could stop you from getting the headset anytime soon
Unfortunately, you may not get to test out the virtual keyboard anytime soon. Because while it looks gorgeous on the twin 4K Micro OLED displays inside the Vision Pro, those displays could be causing Apple some problems.
According to a report from Business Korea (h/t OLED-info), the total production cost of the Apple Vision Pro is $1,519, close to the $1,509 figure we reported. And nearly 50% of that cost could be coming from the displays alone. Business Korea says that each of the 4K Micro OLED displays costs $350 and the front OLED display that shows of the headset’s EyeSight feature costs $30. That puts the display cost for each Vision Pro at $730 — which is more than the retail price of the newly announced Meta Quest 3.
And it looks like these displays are a major supply bottleneck. A report from The Elec says that Sony, who makes the Micro OLED displays for Apple, can only produce 100,000 to 200,000 displays per quarter.
That means, at best, Apple can only manufacture 400,000 headsets per year if this rumor is true. So make sure to keep an eye on our pre-order guide to make sure you’re first in line once the headsets are available.