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Issue 21.4 ('ChatGPT')
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Future Vision

Thoughts on Apple's Vision Pro

Issue: 21.4 (July/August 2023)
Author: Marc Zeedar
Author Bio: Marc taught himself programming in high school when he bought his first computer but had no money for software. He's had fun learning ever since.
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 16,890
Starting Page Number: 12
Article Number: 21402
Related Link(s): None

Excerpt of article text...

After years of incremental improvements in tech, in the past few months we've been given glimpses into two directions of the future.

At XDC in London in April, in the panel on Fake—I mean Artificial—Intelligence, Yousaf Shah had a fascinating outlook on how large-language models (LLM, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Large_language_model) could replace user interfaces and change programming forever. (We'll keep the less realistic idea that bots will write all our software for us out of the discussion for now.)

Since creating and managing the UI takes up 80% or more of the time in creating programs, being able to just speak to a device and have it do what we want is pretty incredible and could make programming vastly easier. Such an interface also opens the doors to accessibility, providing more access to more people—of different languages, technical abilities, and levels of education—who otherwise wouldn't be able to use your complicated software.

Now this June, Apple unveils not a mere VR headset (see Figure 1), but a new interface model they call spatial computing (see the "What Is Apple's Vision Pro?" sidebar for more details on the system). Just like the Mac popularized the Graphical User Interface and the iPhone brought the world multi-touch, Apple's Vision Pro headset allows three-dimensional computing (see Figure 2).

I'll confess I wasn't expecting that. While the concept isn't novel—it's been a part of science fiction for decades—there's a huge leap between the idea and something functional and practical. Apple's device gets close to the line on the latter: not only are there many questions about the viability of wearing a headset for long periods, using such a device around others, and whether spatial computing will actually be more productive over traditional systems, but the $3500 price isn't exactly mainstream.

That said, Apple has clearly been working and thinking about this for a long time. What they announced is obviously the bare bones of a platform. That in itself is fantastic and interesting, and while it may take a while for mass adoption, if anyone has the resources to promote and stick with a product for the long-term, it's Apple.

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