Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.


Meet Apple's AR/VR Vision Pro headset: Price, features, release date, and everything else to know

The company announced its AR/VR headset at WWDC 2023, with key features and an eye-popping price tag in tow.
Written by Sabrina Ortiz, Editor on
Apple Vision Pro demo at WWDC 2023
Jason Hiner/ZDNET

An Apple VR/AR headset has been rumored for over six years, and it is finally here. At WWDC 2023, the tech giant announced the Vision Pro, a headset that is meant to take mixed reality experiences to the next level, despite it not being as much of a mainstream product as you'd expect. 

Also: Every hardware product Apple announced at WWDC today

During the keynote, Apple announced several features that differentiate the Vision Pro headset from the rest of the market including eye and hand tracking, a pocket battery pack, and a new VisionOS operating system powering the unit. 

Apple went as far as claiming that the Vision Pro is the "most advanced personal electronic device ever." 

Also: Apple just announced a ton of software features at WWDC. Here's everything new

Apple will sell the headset for $3,499, which begs the question: Is it worth it? Here is everything you need to know about the company's newest product.

Apple Vision Pro headset with battery

Apple Vision Pro with the tethered battery pack 

Jason Hiner/ZDNET

How does it look and feel? 

The design of the Vision Pro is different from a lot of existing AR/VR headsets in that it has an external battery pack that resembles the size of an iPhone and connects to the headset via a cable. 

Therefore, a user would have to place the battery in their pocket and deal with a dangling cable when using the Vision Pro.

Also: All the Mac news from WWDC 2023: Mac Pro, Mac Studio, and M2 Ultra

By having a tethered battery system, Apple was able to reduce the weight of the Vision Pro headset to make it noticeably lighter than the competition. This, according to Apple, should solve one of the biggest issues with VR headsets: Discomfort after extended use. 

The look of the Vision Pro itself resembles ski goggles and its curved front has an external screen that allows the wearer's eyes to be seen when approached by others through a feature called EyeSight. 

Apple Vision Pro demo at WWDC 2023
Jason Hiner/ZDNET

The front of the headset is made from three-dimensionally formed, laminated glass that connects to a custom aluminum alloy frame. The Light Seal, made of soft textile, and the three-dimensionally knitted HeadBand come in a range of sizes to provide maximum comfort. 

The device features two OLED displays that together pack a total of 23 million pixels, more than a 4K TV for each eye, Apple's M2 chip, 12 cameras, five senors, six microphones and the popular voice assistant, Siri. It also features a brand new chip, R1, which runs in parallel with M2 to ensure that there is no lag.

The headset has two individually amplified drivers inside each audio pad to power its Personalized Spatial Audio, which personalizes audio for a user based on their head and geometry. 

To switch between AR and VR, the headset will have a crown similar to the one found on the Apple Watch. There is also a knob that will allow users to easily customize the fit, and a button on top of the headset to take photos.  

Also: Best VR headsets of 2023: For gaming and the metaverse 

Users will be able to control the headset with eye and hand tracking, a feature that's slowly being adopted by other headsets on the market, as well as voice commands. For example, users will be able to pinch to select and flick to scroll.

Vision Pro runs on a new Apple operating system, VisionOS, which resembles the iPadOS interface, bringing the continuity of Apple's apps and services ecosystem to the headset. This operating system was created to support spatial computing. 

What can you do with the headset?

The headset is capable of running popular Apple applications including Books, Camera, Contacts, Facetime, Mail, Maps, Messages, Music, Notes, Photos, Safari, and more in mixed reality -- a blend of both AR and VR. 

According to Apple, the apps will feel like they are in your natural space and environment. As a result, moving apps is a similar experience to moving actual items around you. 

Also: What could Apple's VR headset possibly do to justify its $3,000 price tag?

Immersive video is one of the biggest selling points of the device, allowing users to feel as if they were physically present in the space a video is taking place. For example, with the headset, you can stream a movie and watch it as if it was playing on a giant screen in another environment such as the beach with immersive spatial audio. 

Apple Vision Pro demo at WWDC 2023
Jason Hiner/ZDNET

The Vision Pro headset will also be compatible with existing third-party content to ease the continuity between your favorite applications and the headset. For example, Disney Plus will be available on the headset from day one. 

With its WWDC pitch, Apple hopes that more developers will begin to create apps and services for VisionOS, so that third-party support expands further, much like how it's already done on the App Store.

Still, the Vision Pro will be able to run hundreds of thousands of iPad apps from the App Store as well as top-tier existing gaming titles from third-party developers. Vision Pro will also have its own unique app store for applications designed specifically for the headset. 

Also: How to update every Apple device (iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac, more) 

If you are interested in potentially using the headset for work purposes, you are in luck. The headset will be able to double as a 4K external monitor for a connected Mac by mirroring what's on your Mac onto the AR interface. 

In addition, Facetime for Vision Pro will allow for videoconferencing in a collaborative environment which you can use to work with your coworkers on projects at the same time. 

The tiles of people on the call will be "life-sized" and each person's audio will be coming from the individual's tile position, allowing for more natural conversation. 

Also: You can now FaceTime from your Apple TV

People on the call will see the Vision Pro wearer's "digital persona", which uses Apple's advanced machine learning technology to reflect the wearer's face and hand movements in real-time, according to Apple.

Vision Pro model

A digital persona

Screenshot by Christina Darby/ZDNET

To create your persona, the headset scans your face, and then creates a realistic model of you that has depth and moves with you to represent you on Facetime calls. 

VisionPro scans face

Vision Pro scanning a user 

Screenshot by Christina Darby/ZDNET  

How much does the Vision Pro cost? 

The Vision Pro has a hefty price tag of $3,499, setting its own premium category from the likes of Meta, HTC, and other manufacturers who have played in the sub-$1,000 range. 

Also: Apple reveals video voicemails for FaceTime users

We can assume that included in the price is the headset itself, the battery pack and the USB-C charging cable. 

When is it available?

Despite being unveiled at WWDC, the Vision Pro headset won't be shipping until early next year. You can't preorder the wearable at Apple.com yet either. 

Also: New iPhone 'Contact Posters' feature lets you set your photo when calling other iPhone users

When it is available, Apple says you will be able to visit the Apple Store to get a demo and even personalize your fit. 

Editorial standards