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Apple's Vision Pro VR headset is company's first new landmark product since 2014

Apple making a slew of announcements at its annual WWDC event, including a mixed reality headset called the "Vision Pro" and a new 15-inch MacBook Air. Yahoo Finance tech editor Dan Howley gives the rundown on the reveals.

Video transcript

SEANA SMITH: Apple holding its biggest product launch since 2014 with the showpiece being the brand new device the Apple Vision Pro, a VR and augmented reality headset. Yahoo Finance's Dan Howley is live in Cupertino. Dan, you just stepped out of the event. What did you make of this announcement as well as a number of other announcements that we got from the tech giant?

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah. Seana, a really, really interesting announcement here from Apple. We'll just go over the big one. That's the Vision Pro. It's the Apple Vision Pro. It's running on what they're calling the Vision OS operating system. It launches later next year for $3,499, so $3,499. It also will run on two different chips, the R1 and the M2 chip.

Now, when you look at the front of it, it basically has a display up front that will display your eyes. So Apple basically saying, this way, you don't feel so isolated from the rest of the world when you're wearing the headset. People who walk up to you can see your eyes and what you are doing.

Now, if you're in a more immersive app, if you're in fully VR mode-- they didn't mention VR, by the way, at all. But if you're in a fully VR kind of mode, the display will almost kind of look like bluish shimmering lights to just give the person who's near you a sense that, hey, I'm not paying attention to you right now. I'm watching a movie or something along those lines.

The big thing here is the display. They say the display has tens of millions of pixels in it. It's one of the most advanced displays that they have to offer. They're using micro LEDs. And essentially, what that means is, at least according to Apple, you won't be getting that kind of screen door effect that you would get with other headsets from manufacturers like Meta as well as HTC. In fact, they say that it will be essentially seamless.

Now, no one's been able to get their hands on one yet. They have them downstairs. This is the Steve Jobs Theater behind me. And they're basically just on display racks at this point. You got to imagine this, because it's not quite ready for consumption. One of the important pieces to point out is that it runs on battery power. You can plug it in and run it all day. But when it's on a battery pack, it's only going to run you two hours at a time. And the battery pack is separate, so it'll be in your pocket.

That's the big announcement for the Vision Pro. There's also, though, a number of announcements from iOS for getting new contacts, the new journaling app, the iPad is getting updates with iPadOS, new Health app, where they're getting a health app there as well as customizable lock screen. By the way, with iOS 17, you can use your iPhone 14 Pro as a smart display. And then there's Watch OS updates as well.

So a huge slew of announcements. I don't even get to mention the new MacBooks. There's them behind me the MacBook Air, 15 inches, as well as the new M2 Ultra chip. That's their newest high-end powered chip. That's going to be in the Mac Studio as well as the new Mac Pro desktop. So a huge number of announcements. But clearly, clearly, the Vision Pro is the biggest here.

AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah. We saw Intel stock get hit on the back of that announcement of the M2 chip. Dan, I'm going to put you on the spot here, because, over the years, we have talked a lot about VR headsets and why those just haven't taken off the way that some of the predicted. Today, we're talking about mixed reality with Apple. Yes, $3,500 is a high price point. But in your opinion, I mean, is this the one that gets it to the masses once the price starts to come down, I mean, in terms of the use case?

DAN HOWLEY: I mean, in terms of the use case, you know, they're adding the kind of Apple layer of software. But it's not very many use cases that are different from what you would do in the Meta Quest, right? It's the same idea-- games, some productivity, that has been pushing that heavily, entertainment, whether that's watching movies, getting in touch with friends and family. So there's no real individual use case here that's different than that. It's really the software that is different. It feels more, looks at least, more polished, what we saw from a polished presentation. But as far as usage, I can't say how it is yet.

I still am kind of not exactly sold on this area of AR and VR becoming a true consumer ecosystem, right? I mean, I think a lot of people are going to balk at that price. Apple recognizes that as is going to be a low-selling product for the time being. And then eventually, they'll likely lower the cost of that. But, you know, as far as VR, AR goes overall, this seems to be the one that's going to get people the most interest in. What Apple can do, though, is lean on developers. And that's why they're leaping the ability for developers to go and then create software for this.

I think what it comes down to is if people are going to buy apps, it's going to be Apple users, they're definitely the ones that buy more apps or are willing to spend more money compared to Android users. And that could be something that translates into the AR space. Maybe more Apple users will buy apps versus Meta users. And that would get developers to want to start to develop more and more interesting apps for the hardware. I think really the fact that Apple has something that they've put out, it's going to get developers a lot more energized. Maybe then we'll start to see the use case.

But it's worth pointing out that the Apple Watch very much launched at a time where people were saying, well, it really doesn't appeal to me. It went on to become the best-selling smartwatch out there, because Apple eventually honed the message of that to health. So I think that's what we might end up seeing here with the headset as well.

AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah. The first major product launch in roughly a decade. So we'll see how that goes. Dan Howley, great work out there in the field. Thanks so much for that.