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Apple’s Vision Pro needs AI like ChatGPT as soon as possible

Published Jun 5th, 2023 9:22PM EDT
Vision Pro AR/VR headset : Side view.
Image: Apple Inc.

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Apple finally unveiled the Vision Pro mixed reality headset at WWDC 2023. The device will retail for $3,499 when it’s released next year, but the price might be warranted considering the high-end design and specs of Apple’s first AR/VR wearable. This isn’t your average VR headset geared solely at gaming. The Vision Pro represents Apple’s first building block toward designing the future of computing. And to get there, the Vision Pro needs one more thing: A generative AI service comparable to ChatGPT.

There’s no future of computing without artificial intelligence. AI can interpret what you say in your current context and deliver actions accordingly. It can also surface relevant answers to complex online searches or help with chores.

You’ll be able to run ChatGPT on Vision Pro via OpenAI’s app or a different third-party choice. But it’ll still lack a first-party option. Apple’s Siri is improving, and Apple is looking to build its own generative AI products. But right now, Siri is nowhere close to being on par with ChatGPT.

Front-facing camera system on Vision Pro.
Front-facing camera system on Vision Pro. Image source: Apple Inc.

Considering what the Vision Pro hardware can do, there’s no doubt that Apple is working on specific AI features for its new wearable. The AR/VR headset supports eye- and hand-tracking thanks to more than a dozen cameras pointing inwards and outwards. It also takes commands via Siri, just like any Apple gadget. But regular Siri isn’t good enough in a world that has products like ChatGPT and Google Bard.

Running the show is a processor equivalent to the M2 System-on-Chip (SoC) Apple uses for various Macs, including the new 15-inch MacBook Air that Apple also unveiled during its WWDC keynote. Paired with enough RAM, that chip will let Apple run AI features on-device for increased privacy. A ChatGPT-like AI product for the Vision Pro will need a connection to the internet. And maybe a link to Apple’s servers for some complex tasks.

The battery is easily the worst thing about Apple’s AR/VR headset, but it’s a compromise Apple needs right now. You must keep the Vision Pro’s battery in your pocket, but at least the headset isn’t tethered to a computer. The battery is good for only a couple of hours of use. And no, Apple won’t let you use third-party battery packs for the Vision Pro.

Vision Pro home screen view.
Vision Pro home screen view. Image source: Apple Inc.

What I’m getting at is the future of computing will be great. But we’ll need compromises to get there. Right now, we have a great design with powerful hardware that will be hamstrung by battery life. And I absolutely don’t want to be tethered when using the device. Also, first-gen software will always be first-gen software.

Generative AI like ChatGPT is an easy fix for making the most of that terrific hardware and limited battery life. Rather than Siri or any other type of input mechanism, an Apple version of ChatGPT would take the Vision Pro to the next level.

You could just talk to the AI and tell it what you need from your immediate AR/VR experience rather than using your eyes and hands to navigate menus. You could run queries as you use Vision Pro to get work done or for fun. The faster AI produces the answers you need, the more time you’ll spend doing what you want to do on the gadget instead of opening apps and navigating menus.

Siri on the Vision Pro headset.
Siri on the Vision Pro headset. Image source: Apple Inc.

Also, since Apple is so big on privacy, the generative AI experience you’ll get from the Vision Pro could be unique and personal. This will come in handy much further down the road when all your Apple devices can run the same ChatGPT-like AI. That includes the futuristic Apple AR Glasses I’m expecting the company to eventually release.

Finally, I’ll note an exciting rumor from a few months ago. Apple supposedly wants to help you code apps using Siri voice commands in the future. Once Siri gets to that sort of sophistication, it’s likely the Vision Pro will run a true ChatGPT competitor from Apple.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.