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Apple Vision Pro and visionOS: Features, Release Date, and Developer Insights

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Announced at WWDC 2023, visionOS is the operating system for Apple’s inaugural spatial computer, Vision Pro. Initially speculated as xrOS, the official name change, likely for marketing reasons, was revealed during the keynote. 

Apple has long been at the forefront of innovation regarding operating systems, and its latest offering, VisionOS, is no exception. visionOS is a groundbreaking operating system that aims to revolutionize our interaction with our devices. In this blog post, we will look closer at the features of visionOS, its beta version, the release date, and the exciting Apple Vision Pro.

Apple Vision Pro and VisionOS

What is VisionOS

Rather than opting for a singular VR headset for immersive escapades or a limited set of AR glasses for overlaying apps on reality, Apple took a hybrid approach. Apple’s first visionOS is primarily a mixed reality operating system, offering adaptability to users’ preferences, whether seeking complete isolation or socially interactive augmented computing.

Early glimpses of visionOS reveal a fusion of 2D and 3D elements, aligning with Apple’s established operating system design. Transparent windows, dimensioned icons, and shadow-casting objects aim to integrate the digital and physical realms seamlessly.

VisionOS: A Comprehensive Guide

As the pioneer operating system and device in mobile computing, distinguishing features becomes challenging, with visionOS laying the foundation for Apple’s initial spatial computer and forthcoming updates. Explore the key features as revealed by Apple.


Established applications such as Safari will manifest as a floating 2D window in the air, a presentation style shared by iPad and iPhone apps within the operating system. The Home Screen adopts a blend of tvOS and watchOS aesthetics, featuring round icons arranged in a grid with a 2.5D effect that becomes apparent during interaction or observation.

The integrated cameras capture the user’s surroundings, projecting an accurate representation onto the internal displays within the headset. This enables users to perceive their environment with precise field of view and depth.

Objects and windows create a tangible presence through placement anchors, shadows, and transparency. While ARKit contributes to the overall experience, the construction of 3D scenes relies on a combination of SwiftUI and RealityKit.

Control and Gestures

Manipulating software is facilitated through hand gestures, eye tracking, and voice controls, eliminating the need for additional hardware. While a virtual keyboard is available, users can opt for enhanced interactions with Bluetooth keyboards and other input devices. Eye tracking enables users to interact with objects by gazing at them, and selecting or grabbing items is achieved through a finger-pinching motion.

For text input, users can look at a text field and use voice commands for precision or opt for a virtual keyboard. Objects in the virtual space can sense the user’s hand gestures, allowing for nuanced interactions such as a virtual butterfly landing on an outstretched finger.

Users can simultaneously hold down the Digital Crown and Top Button to force quit apps. Calibration is possible by pressing the Top Button four times if the tracking seems off. Apple introduces a familiar gesture on the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, where a pinching motion activates the active button when performed twice. Like the Double Tap on Apple Vision Pro, this feature utilizes advanced algorithms and the S9 SiP for interpreting sensor signals. However, the Apple Watch may introduce additional elements to enhance control features.


FaceTime videos on visionOS present life-size images, seamlessly expanding as more participants join the call within your environment. Collaborative app usage within FaceTime enables simultaneous document collaboration.

Wearing the Apple vision Pro generates a digital Persona, offering others a dynamic and natural representation of the wearer’s face and hand movements. SharePlay functionality ensures the continued visibility of all participants in large video tiles while sharing an app experience.

Spatial Photos and Videos

visionOS introduces a novel approach to viewing captured photos and videos. Utilizing the Apple Vision Pro, users can capture spatial videos and photos, delivering content with remarkable depth and providing an immersive experience akin to stepping into the captured moment. These spatial media files are accessible through the Photos app, allowing users to enhance their size for an even more immersive experience.

Beginning with iOS 17.2, owners of the iPhone 15 Pro can shoot spatial videos compatible with viewing on the Apple Vision Pro. For further details on iOS 17, refer to additional information available here.

Spatial Photos And Videos

VisionOS: Mac Integration

The Mac is poised to assume a crucial role with visionOS and the Apple Vision Pro. There are two integration methods for Mac computers with the new operating system:

  1. Employ Mac Virtual Display to seamlessly incorporate your Mac wirelessly into Vision Pro. This allows flexible placement in space, transforming Vision Pro into a large, private, and portable 4K display.
  2. Leverage the Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad as Bluetooth accessories compatible with the Vision Pro.

The VisionOS Beta: What to Expect

On June 21, Apple initiated the rollout of the inaugural visionOS beta. The company provides the software development kit (SDK) on its developer page, featuring guidance on app creation for the Vision Pro. Utilizing SwiftUI, RealityKit, ARKit, and Accessibility, developers must employ Xcode, Reality Composer Pro, and Unity to bring their apps to fruition.

Despite the absence of the Vision Pro spatial computer for testing, registered developers can access and download the visionOS SDK, allowing them to work on apps using Xcode and design interfaces with Figma. The visionOS beta, currently undergoing testing by Apple, is gradually introducing new features, including FaceTime’s Personas and critical apps like the App Store, Mindfulness, and TestFlight.

Apple Vision Pro: The headset

Unveiled on June 5, 2023, during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, the Apple Vision Pro represents a groundbreaking mixed-reality headset Apple Vision Pro. This revolutionary device takes full advantage of the capabilities of VisionOS. 

Anticipated for release in the United States in early 2024, followed by an international rollout later that year, this standalone wearable introduces a unique dual-chip design with custom Apple silicon, delivering an immersive experience with its ultra-high-resolution display system boasting 23 million pixels across two screens.

Serving as Apple’s inaugural product in a significant category since the Apple Watch in 2015, the Apple Vision Pro is versatile, catering to both augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) experiences. It operates independently without additional devices, offering controller-free navigation through gaze, taps, and voice commands. Including a dial enables seamless switching between AR and VR modes, ensuring a dynamic and user-friendly interaction.

Apple Vision Pro

The Anticipated Release Date

Launching with the Apple Vision Pro, visionOS is set to debut when the spatial computer enters the US market in early 2024, anticipated between January and April. According to the reports, the potential release for the Apple Vision Pro and visionOS aligns with a projected launch in March 2024.

Developer’s Corner: Vision Pro Developer Kit and More

Introducing the Apple Vision Pro, a groundbreaking device optimized for the advanced capabilities of visionOS. 

How the Program Operates

Apple is offering developers a Vision Pro developer kit on loan to facilitate app preparation for the imminent launch of the new App Store dedicated to this product.

In addition, you will benefit from:

  1. Assistance in setting up the device and onboarding.
  2. Regular check-ins with Apple experts for guidance on UI design, development, and app refinement.
  3. Two extra code-level support requests for troubleshooting any coding issues.

This development device, owned by Apple, must be returned upon request.

Application Process

Submit a concise application for an Apple Vision Pro developer kit. As the Account Holder in the Apple Developer Program or Apple Developer Enterprise Program, provide details about your team’s development skills and existing apps, and agree to the terms and conditions. Applications will be reviewed, prioritizing those creating apps that leverage visionOS features. If selected, Apple will contact you.

End Note

VisionOS represents Apple’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of innovation and providing users with a genuinely immersive and personalized experience. With its advanced features, seamless integration with machine learning, and the upcoming release of the Apple Vision Pro, VisionOS is set to redefine how we interact with our devices. Apple’s dedication to creating products that seamlessly blend technology and user experience is evident in VisionOS and the Apple Vision Pro.


Q: What is visionOS?

A: VisionOS is Apple’s latest operating system that offers a revolutionary interface and features designed to enhance the user experience.

Q: What are the main features of visionOS?

A: VisionOS includes new display options, audio enhancements, and improved navigation features to make user interaction seamless and comfortable.

Q: Where can I find the latest news about visionOS?

A: You can find the latest news about VisionOS on tech news websites, Apple’s official announcements, and via trusted tech journalists like Mark Gurman from 9to5Mac.

Q: How can I take advantage of the new features in visionOS?

A: You can access and utilize the new features of VisionOS by navigating through the updated interface and customizing settings according to your preference.

Q: Is visionOS compatible with all Apple devices?

A:  It is recommended to check the compatibility list before installing the latest beta version.

Q: What are the new gaming and entertainment features in visionOS?

A: VisionOS offers improved gaming performance, added entertainment options such as movie integration, and the ability to navigate through applications more comfortably for an enhanced user experience.

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