(CNN) — Apple on Monday unveiled its most ambitious – and riskiest – new hardware product in years: a mixed reality headset called the Apple Vision Pro.
Apple CEO Tim Cook touted the Vision Pro, which combines virtual reality and augmented reality, as a “revolutionary product,” with the potential to change how users interact with technology, each other and the world around them.
The highly anticipated announcement came at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, where it also teased a long list of new features and updates to some of its most widely used products.
Here’s what you should know from the event:
Apple makes a risky bet on a headset
The new Apple Vision Pro looks like a pair of ski goggles and lets people overlay virtual images on live videos of the real world.
Cook, who has been talking up the potential of augmented reality for years, touted the headset as “the first product you look through, not at.”
According to Apple, once a user puts on the device, they’re able to see apps directly projected in front of them. At the event, Apple showed off a range of unique experiences with the product, including apps for medicine, productivity and entertainment. Disney CEO Bob Iger also joined the Apple event to discuss how Disney will create content for the new Vision Pro headset.
Unlike other headsets, the new mixed reality headset will display the eyes of its users on the outside, so “you’re never isolated from the people around you, you can see them and they can see you,” said Alan Dye, vice president of human interface.
But the product faces a number of challenges: Apple is diving into an unproven market littered with other tech companies who have tried and largely failed to find mainstream traction for their devices. Apple is also charging $3,499 for the device – more than had been rumored, and a hefty amount at a time of lingering economic uncertainty.
Apple unveils 15-inch MacBook Air
The first hardware product unveiled on Monday was a 15-inch MacBook Air with Apple’s custom-made M2 processor. Apple said the new MacBook Air is the world’s thinnest laptop, at just 11.5 mm. It also weighs just 3.3 pounds.
The new MacBook Air promises 18 hours of battery life, significantly faster performance than Intel-powered MacBook Airs and a six-speaker sound system.
It starts at $1,299, and $1,199 for education. Meanwhile, the older 13-inch MacBook Air with M2 is now $999.
In addition to the latest MacBook Air, Apple also introduced the M2 Max and M2 Ultra chips as updates to its Mac Studio. Developers can build new apps at immense speed, with up to 25x faster performance than the M1 Max.
New features for FaceTime, Messages and more
Apple also unveiled a slew of new updates coming to iOS 17 later this year, including new tools to make calling and messaging others more personalized and customized.
iOS 17 will now get contact “posters,” allowing iPhone users to design a custom image to appear when you call someone or receive their call. iPhone users will be able to personalize their contact card “poster” with a photo or “memoji” of choice, as well as text.
A new feature called Live Voicemail transcribes a caller’s message in real-time, so users can decide whether to ignore it or take the call.
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