Apple can accept Magic Leap, HoloLens and Varjo

Can Apple Vision Pro be a serious competitor in the enterprise AR market?

While the Vision Pro was announced at WWDC in June mainly as a consumer product, Apple also teased enterprise uses, including room-scale augmented reality applications.

Two of the enterprise apps mentioned at WWDC were PTC and JigSpace, and this week Apple released short interviews with the companies behind those apps and talked about their experience with Vision Pro.

PTC CAD software

PTC has been producing CAD (Computer Aided Design) software for over 30 years and remains a market leader.

Desktop workstations and tablets are still a great way to design complex engineering machines and components, but augmented reality and virtual reality are far superior to traditional screens for realistic visualization of what they look like in the real world.

PTC’s Vision Pro app even supports multiple headsets in the same space, viewing the same shared CAD models at true scale.

PTC has also created a real-time grid editing feature so that changes to CAD models in their iPad CAD app are instantly reflected in real-scale Vision Pro.

I’m almost too excited about VR. But when I had [Apple Vision Pro] “Walking around digital objects and interacting with others in real time is one thing that stops you in your tracks.”

Air flow visualization from JigSpace

JigSpace claims to currently have “the world’s top AR app” on the iPad. It allows you to import 3D models and customize and animate them into 3D presentations that can include images, audio, text labels, and more.

It’s an ideal application to come to Vision Pro, and the company partnered with Alfa Romeo to create a prototype ‘Jig’ that features a full-scale C43 Formula 1 car and visualizes the airflow on it.

One of our kids is a senior 3D artist, and he actually cried the first time he saw one of his models in space and walked around it freehand, JigSpace’s CTO told Apple.

Like PTC, JigSpcae supports simultaneous collaboration, with multiple headsets in the same room able to see virtual objects and even draw in 3D to circle points of interest and leave lasting notes in space.

Competition for Magic Leap, Microsoft, and Varjo?

Targeting consumers and enterprise applications puts Vision Pro in direct competition with a trio of enterprise augmented reality headsets: Magic Leap 2, Microsoft’s HoloLens 2, and Varjo’s XR-3 series.

The Magic Leap 2 and HoloLens 2 are priced similarly to the Vision Pro, but use clear optics with a much narrower field of view and have older, weaker processors. The Magic Leap 2’s battery lasts significantly longer, and it’s easier to use than the HoloLens 2.

Varjo’s XR-3 series has a somewhat comparable field of view and excellent resolution on the central foveal display, but each headset costs nearly twice as much and must be connected to an expensive Windows PC. This greatly expands the potential fidelity and range of software it can run, but limits its usefulness for large shared spaces.

Another dark horse in the enterprise AR space would of course be Meta’s Quest 3. While it offers a lower-quality streaming experience than the Vision Pro or Varjo, and features like dynamic occlusion aren’t yet available, its much lower price tag could tempt some organizations, in particular. Smaller companies where seven headsets are preferable to one.

One of Apple’s key advantages is that companies can relatively easily extend their existing iPad apps into augmented reality using Apple’s suite of developer tools they already use. This can reduce the cost, time and complexity of companies adopting headset-based augmented reality in a way that other companies affiliated with Unity and the Unreal engine cannot easily match.

Of course, the Vision Pro hasn’t launched yet, and we’ve only spent a short amount of time with it. But with the existing hardware platforms in this space, it would be unwise to underestimate the competition that Apple could soon create.

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