Could the Apple Vision Pro become the new frontier of fashion?

Headlining Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2023, the Apple Vision Pro is the long-awaited first AR headset from the tech giant on a mission to create the most advanced mixed reality experience. immersive for a large number of consumers. “It’s the first Apple product you look at, and not on,” CEO Tim Cook proudly said of the product, which enters the market alongside AR headsets from Meta, Google and Magic Leap. Instead of the “metaverse” descriptor previously used by the aforementioned companies, Apple calls its new technology “spatial computing.” It runs on its own operating system, dubbed visionOS, with Apple’s M2 chips and newly launched R1 chips, and hosts a huge range of next-gen features that can be controlled by the eye and hand movements of users. users – all for the hefty price of US$3,499.

Now, across all categories, brands want in on the action. During its presentation, Apple showed how video game developers and entertainment companies will be able to use headset technology to create new content experiences for consumers. Likewise, the tech giant provided examples of how its native apps, like FaceTime and Safari, can be used through space computing, and detailed how its new device might be able to change the way which companies communicate. But, one industry that was left out was fashion. On the cusp of Apple’s highly anticipated headset, Vision Pro could offer designers plenty of opportunities to expand their brands’ digital presence through immersive interfaces and innovative, direct-to-consumer marketing strategies – but will- does it make its way?

Although the device marks a huge step forward with spatial computing, it is still far from effectively producing mixed reality experiences, such as placing digital clothing on a real subject. Although the implementation of this technology is not far away (we have already seen it on two-dimensional smartphone applications like ZERO10), the first generation of Vision Pro will probably provide fertile ground for experimentation in the three-dimensional environment. headphones for brands. . In fashion, in particular, forward-thinking designers are likely to first harness Apple’s spatial computing with futuristic presentations for new collections in immersive spaces, while innovation-focused brands will likely offer new shopping experiences, with photorealistic three-dimensional renderings of products. existing in digital storefronts, in the elementary introduction of technology, by Business in vogue.

Ultimately, though, it’s exciting to think about the possibilities: perhaps users could explore worlds inspired by seasonal campaigns, watch fashion shows through their headsets, or walk into shops, as avatars, to view products alongside a personal stylist. Here, fashion companies can – and must – let their imaginations run wild, as it will become increasingly important for their survival to imagine immersive strategies to exist in spatial computing domains. According Brightdigital fashion design agencies, including the London-based Institute of Digital Fashion and online-only fashion house The Manufacturer, are beginning to experiment with Apple’s developer platform Unity, so it won’t take not long before developers can truly transform brands. big ideas into realities, especially as the capabilities of Vision Pro continue to evolve.

Apple’s presentation devoted a significant portion of the time to its partnership with Disney, in which the technology company will work to leverage the entertainment giant’s films, series and products through immersive content on the operating system of the helmet. In the video, Apple showed examples of users exploring star wars-areas inspired and transformed into superheroes in an interactive Marvel game. Although far from trendy, Disney’s demo showed how brands – of all kinds – could use technology to create all-new experiences in partnership with Apple or third-party developers. Notably, Apple’s Unity engine allows apps to run directly on visionOS, so whatever developers build on the platform now can become immediately available once the headset launches next year.

Additionally, Apple has introduced an avatar creation feature, which uses AI to form photo-realistic versions of users. Here, designers could eventually create an entirely new market for digital wearables, where users could purchase branded items for their avatars or, alternatively, try on pieces from designer collections on an accurate replica of their own body before make a physical purchase. The technology goes well beyond that of Apple’s competitors, like Microsoft Teams and Meta, which previously offered consumers more cartoonish options. And while, at launch, the company will introduce functionality for users’ faces and hands to FaceTime, it’s likely that Vision Pro will soon be able to create accurate replicas of users’ full bodies, thanks to its “network advanced neural encoder-decoder”. ”, which has already been tested on a “diverse group of thousands of individuals”, according to The edge.

From a clothing point of view, the Vision Pro helmet is a fashion statement in its own right. And its market introduction raises questions about its success as a high-tech accessory. The device’s gargantuan price tag makes it a glaring signal of wealth, even if it sits stylistically well outside the bounds of the current ‘quiet luxury’ trend. However, the device appears to be intended for use in controlled environments, such as the home or office, as opposed to the streets. Aside from a clip showing a woman putting on the headset to watch a movie on an airplane, Apple’s presentation exclusively demonstrates the device’s capabilities in confined spaces.

These are the very early days of the Vision Pro, and it’s reasonable to assume that Apple will strive to create a lighter device that can be used more easily on the go for years to come. But for now, given its in-camera mentality, Vision Pro may be the high-priced piece of eyewear for stealth shoppers. It’s also worth noting that Apple previously partnered with Hermès and Nike for the Apple Watch, which included premium bands aligned with the respective labels’ codes, so it’s not far to assume Apple would appeal. to high-end fashion brands for design. -targeted Vision Pro collaborations in the future. Could a Schiaparelli version decorated with Daniel Roseberry’s all-gold eyes, ears and nose be coming down the line? We can dream.

All of this may sound far-fetched, but fashion companies have a habit of jumping on new technology right off the bat. Over a decade ago, Diane von Furstenberg collaborated with Google Glass to produce a full-fledged fashion show. And in recent years, brands like Burberry, Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Tommy Hilfiger, and Valentino have partnered with video games whose Blankos Block Party, Roblox And animal crossing on virtual collections and NFTs. Meanwhile, Balmain teamed up with Meta to create a limited-edition collection of co-branded Oculus VR headsets in 2018; GCDS launched its Spring 2021 collection in a digital fashion gallery, featuring CGI cartoons of models, famous front row attendees and the designer; Ray-Ban worked with the Instagram owner on a pair of sunglasses in 2021, and this year Coach has teamed up with ZERO10 to install highly realistic fitting mirrors in its stores.

The aforementioned accomplishments have marked milestones in the infiltration of fashion into both the digital realm and into wearable technology, but, overall, these types of crossovers are still striving to achieve widespread integration. Maybe those listed were ahead of their time, or maybe fashion companies are looking for something that feels more familiar to consumers to better transport them into this new era – and that could be Apple. The tech giant proved it could change the face of consumer tech with the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, and again with the Apple Watch in 2015. So maybe it could start to do so again, in 2024, with its unveiling of the Vision Pro.

The main factor holding the company back from achieving a universal takeover with its latest device is the exorbitant price. From a fashion perspective, however, luxury brands will likely see value in connecting with wealthy, fashion-forward consumers of Vision Pro technology when the device launches, but the vast majority of brands will proceed with caution, mainly due to the fact that their target audiences will not be using the device en masse.

As next-gen devices hit the market, older generations of Vision Pro will likely drop in price; and perhaps, over a much longer period of time, the helmet, in its many iterations, will become more mainstream. Until then, however, it’s up to the fashion industry’s pioneering developers to shape what the industry’s presence, across demographics, may look like in spatial computing in the years to come.

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