Apple’s Vision Pro headset comes to the UK on Friday

Apple’s Vision Pro headset, which blends the real world with digital content in front of the wearer’s eyes, goes on sale in the UK for the first time on Friday.

The “spatial computing” device starts at £3,499 and is controlled by the user’s eyes, hands and voice.

It was first released in the US early in the year before mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore at the end of June, and is a major new product line for the technology giant – its first venture into mixed reality headsets.

The Vision Pro is in essence a wearable computer that overlays apps and other content on top of the real world – with Apple highlighting the device’s potential as a personal large screen cinema or gallery for looking through photos and videos.

The headset features built-in speakers and attaches using an adjustable headband, while a wire leads from the device to a battery pack which sits in the user’s pocket, enabling users to move around while wearing it.

Apple says it is designed to offer more immersive experiences in entertainment and gaming, as well as a new platform from which users can work and interact with others.

When the wider international rollout of the device was confirmed last month, Apple boss Tim Cook said: “The enthusiasm for Apple Vision Pro has been extraordinary, and we are thrilled to introduce the magic of spatial computing to more customers around the world.

“We can’t wait for more people to see the impossible become possible, whether working and collaborating with an infinite canvas for apps, reliving treasured memories in three dimensions, watching TV shows and movies in a one-of-a-kind personal cinema, or enjoying brand-new spatial experiences that defy imagination.”

However, virtual, mixed or augmented reality headsets are still to truly catch on with the general public, and industry experts have said Apple’s first move into the space is not guaranteed to change that.

Leo Gebbie, principal analyst at CCS Insight, told the PA news agency: “The Apple Vision Pro is undoubtedly a headline draw in the world of virtual and augmented reality, but it’s fair to say that its expansion into other geographies comes with less fanfare than expected.

“After a wave of early enthusiasm for the spatial computing device, sales for the Vision Pro appeared to dampen down, and it feels as though Apple is struggling to clearly articulate the value of the device to buyers – especially given the £3,500 price tag.

“The Vision Pro remains a stunning piece of design and is easily one of the most impressive pieces of technology I’ve ever used.

“There’s also no doubt that Apple’s presence provides a halo effect for the spatial computing industry, and with Samsung also committed to launching a headset there’s strong momentum in the segment.

“But Apple is running into the same fundamental problem that has vexed rivals in the world of virtual reality, which is providing a strong pipeline of use cases and applications.

“Until buyers on the high street are given a clear reason why they might want to put on a headset on a daily basis, it’s a tricky sell.”