Apple Vision Pro and its future in the business world

Jarrod Tredway, Beyond’s Head of Brand Strategy, demoed Apple’s first spatial computing device and makes some predictions about its role in the industry.

February 16, 2024
Jarrod, Head of Brand Strategy, has worked with leading brands on the adoption of emerging technologies.
5 min read
5 min read
February 16, 2024
Jarrod, Head of Brand Strategy, has worked with leading brands on the adoption of emerging technologies.

“Welcome to the era of spatial computing,” the Apple specialist said to me as my view of the world through Apple Vision Pro came into focus. It was a bold statement — echoing those that appear across Apple’s promotional materials for the device — particularly because over the course of my 30-minute demo, there was little focus on actual computing.

Apple is proud to show off the entertainment capabilities of the device, and they are undoubtedly impressive and wholly immersive: Panoramic photos feel like portals into other worlds. Spatial video is stunningly real. And Apple Immersive Videos —180-degree 3D 8K recordings shot specifically for the device — truly make you feel like you’re there.

Move beyond media, though, and apps are still apps, subtly changed here and there to take advantage of some of the more unique aspects of spatial computing (the term Apple prefers to Mixed Reality [MR] or any combination of Augmented Reality [AR] and Virtual Reality [VR]). This is particularly relevant when considering business applications for the Apple Vision Pro — especially given that, at its price point, it’s brands who are far more likely to be able to afford one than any given individual.

Apple’s initial pitch to businesses centers on the knowledge worker — the person tightly tethered to a computer in an office environment whose job it is to “think for a living.” Promotional videos show individuals in vaguely creative fields on video calls, preparing presentations, and dragging 2D app windows around in 3D space. The concept is novel, but perhaps not particularly compelling for the business world as a whole.

But the business world is not a monolith, and it’s because of that, in part, that I believe the future of spatial computing will rest with innovators inside a handful of specific industries where spatial computing is a unique value-add. Those who spot the opportunities for their specific use cases and explore them in concert with developers are those who stand to reap lasting competitive advantages as the technology matures.

The apple vision pro on an iPad screen

Killer apps, not a killer app

In initial reviews, much has been made of the need for a “killer app” for Apple Vision Pro — a singular application that will attract a critical mass of customers and get them to stick around. For business customers, I think a better way to view the potential of the device — and the power of spatial computing writ large in the near future — is to look at it through the lenses of industries and use cases. Beyond has deep experience with a few that are particularly ripe for innovation:

Healthcare + Medicine

Beyond’s multi-year work in health has allowed us to observe the rapidly changing nature of the industry up close, particularly amongst pharma companies. AI and other new technologies are further shaping the space, affording us a recent role in the redesign of Artrya Salix — an AI-aided diagnostic tool that presents 3D cardiovascular models in 2D for physicians to better help chest pain patients. Our designs helped to make the models and the UI clearer to a physician, but the idea that a physician would be able to see the models in actual space opens up an entirely new paradigm for interaction.

We can further imagine surgeons wearing the Apple Vision Pro in an operating theater with AI-driven overlays to inform their actions, sharing live video streams with specialists in other locations who can guide their processes, or sharing the device with patients to educate them about certain conditions or procedures, improving patient understanding and engagement.

Training + Education

For industries that require hands-on training, such as retail, manufacturing, or repair services, Apple Vision Pro can enhance learning experiences with spatially-aware tutorials and step-by-step guides, even live interactions with synthetic customers.

Beyond has built award-winning multi-modal learning experiences such as Mailchimp Academy, Google Retail Training, and Snap Focus, blending video content, interactive demos, and written content together to increase learning outcomes. Spatial computing effectively unlocks new learning modalities for kinesthetic and tactile learners who would otherwise be limited.

Homebuilding + Home Retail

Apps designed for the Vision Pro that allow for immersive planning, overlays, and real-world walkthroughs of floor plans and interiors could allow for a new, more intuitive way of starting a home build, bringing architects, interior designers, and engineers together in new ways in shared environments.

Large groups like D.R. Horton — responsible for an outsize portion of residential construction in the U.S. — could benefit significantly. Though, the potential extends to smaller design firms working with homeowners and home retailers like west elm, whom Beyond helped to reimagine visual shopping for a different era of maturing mobile technology.

The Apple Vision Pro headset

These use cases center on those where a business entity owns an Apple Vision Pro device and an employee or client operates it. It’s this type of use that I see as the most likely in the near future. 

Looking further down the line when the headset is more accessible and in more consumer hands, industry use cases open up even further:

Entertainment + Media

Virtual tickets for unique seats and vantage points viewed via Vision Pro could provide the means for a highly scalable entertainment product in situations where demand outstrips supply. Considering our work with brands like Paramount and the BBC, we’re staying attuned to how Vision Pro could shape live and on-demand media over time.

Banking + FinTech

Our work with Coinbase has us attuned to both the great potential and significant risk associated with cryptocurrencies and modern financial transactions. Apple Vision Pro includes security features such as Optic ID — a secure authentication system that uses the uniqueness of a wearer’s irises — and could be put to use for an additional layer of security in situations that involve virtual signing rooms.

Travel + Transportation

Beyond is partnering with Savanta to conduct research in this category, focusing first on the impact of AI, which is already reshaping travel industry planning dynamics and customer service. Spatial computing, together with AI, could further shape aspects of travel such as crew training, fleet maintenance, and augmented navigation.

Power in partnership

Apple places a lot of emphasis on their support of developers as the builders of their ecosystem, but not every business with a spatial computing use case to explore will have an engineering arm. Nor do they need one — there are plenty of service-based businesses with deep talent rosters making meaningful investments in emerging technologies. Beyond, itself, is investing £1M into AI alone to augment the team’s existing capabilities with Swift (the programming language for all Apple platforms, including Vision Pro).

This tees up a dynamic where businesses that spot spatial computing opportunities would do well to form lasting partnerships with design and technology teams to build the experiences that create value. For where spatial computing stands — at the early, early dawn of Apple’s heralded era — such a partnership is likely to last years, so industry experience matters just as much as technical capability. Those that take the first steps into spatial computing are those who stand to shape their market and encourage Apple, even as a consumer electronics manufacturer, to pay closer attention to the business use cases for Vision Pro that they haven’t yet dreamt.

Jarrod Tredway is Head of Brand Strategy at Beyond. He has worked with leading technology brands on strategies for the marketing and adoption of emergent technology, such as with Google on the company’s Connected Workspaces initiative.

If you would like to learn more about how Beyond can enhance your spatial computing strategy or partner on the development of an app for Apple Vision Pro, please get in touch.