Vision Pro controller could resemble an Apple Pencil, patent suggests

Hand-tracking is one of the Apple headset's standout features, but the extra precision of wearable controllers could be a boon for some professional applications.
Written by Sabrina Ortiz, Editor
Apple Vision Pro with orange background
Jason Hiner/ZDNET

One of the standout features of the Apple Vision Pro is its advanced hand-tracking, which allows users to forgo the controllers for a more immersive AR/VR experience. However, an Apple patent reveals that controllers may still be in the headset's future. 

Review: Apple Vision Pro: Fascinating, flawed, and needs to fix 5 things

As first spotted by The Mac Observer, Apple applied for a patent -- published on February 29 -- for Handheld Controllers with Charging and Storage Systems. In the patent, Apple shares that the controllers would work with a headset, and even includes a visual of the headset that resembles Apple Vision Pro, as seen below. 

Apple patent screenshot

According to the patent, the handheld controller would be used for "gathering information on controller motions such as swiping motions, waving motions, writing movements, drawing movements, shaking, motions, rotations, etc, and may include wireless communications circuitry for communicating with external equipment such as a head-mounted device." 

The patent also includes an image of the controller, which looks like an Apple Pencil and differs from the standard headset controllers currently on the market such as the Meta Quest 3's or the PlayStayion VR2's controllers. 

Apple patent screenshot

The benefit of using controllers is that they offer much more precision, which is especially needed for professionals relying on the headset for tasks such as 3D content creation and engineering. When Sony recently unveiled its XR headset, ZDNET's Editor-in-Chief Jason Hiner noted that the headset sported two things he wished the Apple Vision Pro had, including wearable controllers. 

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Even though the idea of a controller for the Apple Vision Pro sounds promising, don't get too excited just yet. Companies file many patents every year and only some of these ever see the light of day. There's a possibility that the controllers aren't going to be made at all or -- if they are -- it won't be anytime soon. 

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