Depth Thoughts About Vision

Yesterday David Weinberger posted his response to the Apple Vision Pro promo video (I mistyped ‘pormo video’, which suggests a very different sort of clip); he proposed reading the video as the product (‘the video is the actual product: it claims a new space for Apple.’)

David’s exactly right, I think, especially when he says ‘I was impressed by the video under-selling its 3D capabilities. That took a lot of marketing restraint.’ I’d argue, though, that David undersells the pivotal importance of this feature. A couple of years ago, I wrote that ‘the flatland of 2D screen interaction drains me of vitality. Zoom doesn’t afflict me with headaches, but stupefies me.’ If I understand the Apple video correctly, though, the headset actually processes (or ‘effectively simulates’) 3D vision as part of their FaceTime messaging/conferencing app; that would vastly heighten my interest in video communication, and although I’m not lining up to evacuate my retirement savings to buy this first iteration of the device, I suspect that this is the killer app for AR more than gaming, which has already been simulating dimensionality for more than two decades. The difference between ‘flat chat’ and 3D chat will be like the difference between 2D side-scrollers and FPS/MMRPG game worlds — and that’s a big, big difference.

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