July 12, 2024
Apple Vision Pro’s Persona feature gets collaborative

Much like the headset for which they were designed, Apple’s Personas are very much a work in progress. The original version of the beta avatars were — is “nightmarish” too strong a word? A subsequent update has made them more palatable and truer to life, and Apple says it’s continuing to work on the 3D captures.

The company on Tuesday debuted “spatial” Personas for Vision Pro headsets running visionOS 1.1 or later. Whereas the feature was previously limited to chat platforms like FaceTime and Zoom, the new version is designed to bring an added sense of collaboration to the headset.

The spatial aspect still starts with FaceTime, but Apple’s proprietary videoconferencing platform now serves as a gateway to other apps when combined with SharePlay. From there, users can select the spatial persona option, which utilizes the Vision Pro’s on-board sensors to place the Persona in the room with them.

Spatial audio, meanwhile, further places them at a specific point in space relative to the Vision Pro user.

In the video example shared by Apple, two Personas flank a window showcasing Freeform. Taken together, this approximates the sense of people collaborating on a project across an office conference table. In this case, however, that conference table is the user’s desk at home.

Is the effect neat? Yes. Is it creepy? Also, yes. Vision Pro users will continue doing business in the uncanny valley for the foreseeable future. That just comes with the territory of being an early adopter.

In addition to work collaborations, the feature can be used to watch movies and play games together. It supports up to five users at once.

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