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Visionary Thinking

FINGER CLICKING GOOD! – Apple’s new Vision Pro introduces the era of ‘spatial computing’ and is controlled by gestures. Some leading industry experts believe it will revolutionise retailing.

“Today marks the beginning of a new era for computing,” Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook

Look around you. Now imagine giant app icons appearing in front of your eyes, which – simply by using minimal hand gestures – can be effortlessly controlled.

Another flick of your fingers and a cinema screen appears. One that you can make as big or small as you wish. Then, a FaceTime call. A finger flick to take it. The caller magically materialising in front of your eyes. Again, the screen any size.

Welcome to Apple Vision Pro and the world of “spatial computing.”

Which is, according to PCMag, “a technology that enables computers to blend in with the physical world in a natural way.”

In 2024, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, is making a sizable bet on “spatial” being the next big thing. “Today marks the beginning of a new era for computing,” said Cook at the Vision Pro’s glitzy introductory launch.

Which, although ambitious, is a claim to be taken seriously. Apple is, after all, the company that brought us the Mac and the iPhone.

Apple call visionOS, which powers the Vision Pro, “the world’s first spatial operating system,” adding it “lets users interact with digital content in a way that feels like it is physically present in their space.”

Oxford University researchers have already identified what they believe is the Vision Pro’s winning feature – “Apple’s game-changing USP is perhaps the outward-facing lens, which projects the headset wearer’s eyes to the outside world, enabling greater interaction with those ‘outside’ the virtual world.”

In other words, instead of separating you from this world while you spend time in another, Vision Pro lets you interact with both the real and the virtual at exactly the same time. Some leading experts already believe the headset will revolutionise retailing. Forbes suggest, “The XR (Extended Reality) market has finally marched beyond the experimentation phase, entering a phase of significant investments and impactful business opportunities.”

And Forbes continue, “leveraging Vision Pro's advanced sensors, brands can empower users to engage actively with branded content through gestures, voice commands or physical movements. This immersive experience could cultivate stronger brand connections than those currently available on TV, desktop or mobile.”

Chain Store Age has also been quick to spot the possibilities for omnichannel commerce. “Retailers could create a mobile app experience closer to that of a brick-and-mortar store, where customers visually search aisles and signage,” says the leading source of news for US retail executives.

And CSA go on, “In addition, the issues that limited visual space cause for mobile and even online shopping would largely disappear as the digital interface is as big as the user’s frame of vision.”

The next stage of the retail revolution? Just click your fingers and you’ll find it’s already here.

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