Guest writer: Yangos Hadjiyannis
The highly anticipated Apple headset is on the horizon, marking a significant moment for myself and our company, Kreis Immersive. It sets the stage for what could become a mainstream spatial device that sets a paradigm on how we experience mixed reality.
Here I will share my thoughts and expectations, not to predict the future, but to ignite meaningful discussions and explore the possibilities with fellow XR professionals.
Let’s delve into the potential characteristics that could shape the landscape of creators and the XR industry as a whole. Beyond sleek hardware, let’s focus on the transformative experiences that this device could enable.
When it comes to technology, I always seek out the stories that describe the experiences and the inspired future potentials they bring. Just like Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone with three words, I’d like to offer my own three verbs to capture some potential foundations for this device and ones that should be coming in the future:
Here are 10 paradigm shifts that we might witness:
1.Transforming the way we work: Envision a scalable and expansive multi-screen setup, where multiple iOS and macOS applications coexist seamlessly with a physical keyboard. Picture Apple’s trademark smooth animations as you navigate workspaces or effortlessly transfer data between screens. Meta has been exploring similar concepts, but I anticipate Apple taking it further, reimagining the spatial workspace through its elegant lens. Moreover, I expect this ecosystem to seamlessly integrate with gestures, voice, and even act as a co-pilot for other Apple devices. (Perhaps they will even let PC users get a taste of it.)
Discussion point: How will Apple strike a balance between attention and navigation within a multi-screen environment, and how might they anchor different screen setups to physical office spaces?
2.Revolutionizing navigation and spatial experiences: Imagine wearing a headset that contextualizes and redefines your surroundings through advanced mapping and persistent digital elements. Bid farewell to frequent guardian adjustments and embrace a world where digital experiences seamlessly blend with physical spaces. Think beyond surface personalization and decoration—what new experiences could we create in this persistent and contextualized realm? Personalized mind-palaces or walkable gardens of memories brought to life, perhaps?
Discussion point: How can we utilize these experiences beyond surface-level personalization, in a persistent, contextualized world? Let’s explore the potential of immersive, personalized environments.
3.Redefining perception through accessibility features: Apple has been a champion of accessibility, and now they can apply those principles in the realm of 3D space. Imagine audio sources generating visual trails and objects while spaces come alive with audio descriptives. Accessibility features could empower all of us, enhancing human abilities and expanding the possibilities of spatial experiences. Take inspiration from AirPods, which serve as hearing enhancers iOS. Apple’s commitment to enhancing human potential with their “bicycle of the mind” allegory, aligns perfectly with this philosophy.
Discussion point: How can we leverage these accessibility features to enhance our entertainment experiences? Let's explore the potential applications in gaming and interactive narratives.
1.Materializing goods and services: Current headsets lack on-headset authentication for purchases and more. Imagine a seamless on-headset authentication, akin to Face ID on steroids, allowing you to access and purchase items of interest, whether they’re virtual or physical. This would revolutionize the way we engage with immersive content, enabling digital ownership and taking physical purchasing to new heights.
Discussion point: How can we envision retail spaces creating meaningful cross-reality experiences that entice customers to visit physically while offering unique perks and branding experiences? Let’s explore the possibilities of immersive commerce.
2. Seamless reality transitions: Rumors suggest that the Apple headset will feature an Apple Watch-like dial for transitioning between augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Building upon Apple’s penchant for sleek animations, we can anticipate a smooth reality transition, gradually shifting from a private and immersive environment to a full-color pass-through mode. Just imagine the possibilities of fluidly traversing different realities.
Discussion point: How can we create cross-reality experiences seamlessly transitioning from one mode to another? Let’s envision scenarios that blend the best of AR and VR, blurring the boundaries of our digital and physical worlds.
[fun example: Imagine watching an immersive movie, and a character of the movie at the end lands on your office lamp and turns it on].
3. Dream incubation: Picture a Star Trek-like experience where you can materialize objects and settings using voice commands and simple gestures. Manifesting 3D, spatially relevant objects could allow us to share ideas , concepts, and moments like never before. Collaboratively manipulating 3D objects in real-time, powered by intuitive voice commands and advanced AI, would inspire us to create powerful experiences from education to entertainment. For us at Kreis, software like ShapesXR and Gravity Sketch has changed our workflow and communication dramatically!
Discussion point: How can we leverage instant 3D modeling to enhance training, language learning, and entertainment experiences? Let’s explore the potential of intuitive 3D creation tools.
4. Animating inanimate objects: Through contextual understanding, object recognition, and visual anchoring, we can envision everyday items or purchased goods coming to life, through unique hybrid consumer experiences. Imagine shoes that emit flames, toys that start to animate and interactively speak, and plant habitats for our virtual pets. Peridot from Niantic has created clever ways to identify the surfaces your pet can harvest resources from that produce unique outcomes and offer special items (it can identify tree trunks, pets, humans and flowers).
Discussion point: how do we enliven our world without simultaneously polluting it with virtual garbage?
1.Together-ed Experiences: At Kreis Immersive, we genuinely believe in the power of together-ed experiences and the importance of combating the feeling of loneliness in extended reality (XR). It’s fascinating to speculate that Apple might spearhead the development of more social XR experiences, starting with small groups engaging in shared social viewing of immersive movies and living environments. Imagine real-time processed aquariums, exotic landscapes, and more, all enjoyed by remote families, together.
Discussion point: What type of content would you like to surround yourself with in a mixed-reality environment? And how can we enhance and gamify social moments appropriately?
2. Virtual/Social Telepresence & TeleHealth: The ability to telepresence and express ourselves through avatars has been an ongoing exploration. Picture a combination of virtual emoji characters that “pop off” the screen in a 3D reconstruction of their body during FaceTime sessions, allowing us to share environments, objects, and screens. It opens up new possibilities for communication and self-expression. Telepresence could also expand with virtual trainers & mental health professionals appearing as if they are “there” amplifying the sense of presence and accountability in one’s health journey.
Discussion point: When it comes to avatars in virtual worlds, should we pick from predefined anthropomorphic identities, similar to Apple emojis we can switch between, or should we have complete freedom to fully customize and express ourselves, even as a cabbage? Different companies may have varied philosophies on this matter. What are your thoughts?
3. Corny Connections: There’s an intriguing rumor surrounding Apple’s potential implementation of “emoji eyes” on their XR devices. This could directly address the issue of isolation and the lack of emotional connection often experienced by users in current-generation headsets. If Apple manages to map expressions through eye tracking and translate them into believable emoji eyes, it would instantly make their headsets distinguishable in the market. Initial reactions might be divided, but Apple is accustomed to such situations, as we’ve seen with previous internet rumblings on new features like the notch, or even with the initial introduction of the iPhone.
Discussion point: Other than emoji eyes, what content could we display on the exterior facing screens of XR devices?
Feel free to share your thoughts and join the conversation. Together, we can shape the future of immersive experiences, responsibly and manifest moments of awe for everyone.
*** Thank you to Petar Janeski, Julia Read, Patrick Pennefather and Jody Rideout for their help and conversations in writing this.
Photos from article are created on Adobe Firefly Beta . The article published by Techvangart is the intellectual property of the author ©Yangos Hadjiyannis and may be used only with the consent of the author.