Microsoft has announced that it will bring some of its popular productivity apps to the Apple Vision Pro AR headset, which was unveiled at WWDC 2023 yesterday. The apps include Word, Excel and Teams, which will allow users to create and edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations, as well as collaborate and communicate with others in mixed reality.
The apps will leverage the Vision Pro's features such as hand tracking, eye tracking and voice input, which enable users to interact with the virtual content without any controllers. Users will also be able to see their own eyes on the outer display of the headset, which helps create a more natural and immersive experience.
Microsoft said that the apps will be available for download from the App Store when the Vision Pro launches in early 2024. The Vision Pro is Apple's first AR and VR headset, which combines digital and physical worlds in a seamless way.
The Vision Pro is a headset that can switch between augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) modes, depending on the user's preference and the content they are viewing. AR mode allows users to see digital elements overlaid on their real environment, while VR mode blocks out the real world and transports users to a fully virtual one.
Bringing Productivity to Mixed Reality
The Vision Pro is powered by visionOS, a new operating system that is based on iOS but optimized for mixed reality. Users can access a variety of apps and features on the device, including games, movies, music, social media, productivity tools, and more. They can also browse the web using Safari and access other Apple services such as iCloud, Apple Music, Apple TV+, and Apple Arcade.
The Vision Pro uses two chipsets to power its mixed reality capabilities: an M2 chip and a new R1 chip. The M2 chip is the same one that powers some of the best MacBooks and Macs, and handles the traditional apps and features on the device. The R1 chip is a new co-processor that deals with the mixed-reality and sensor elements, such as tracking the user's head, eyes, hands, and voice.
Of course, Microsoft has its own HoloLens 2 headset which is a direct competitor to the Vision Pro. However, HoloLens has remained enterprise-focused since it launched seven years ago. Either way, it seems Microsoft understands allowing Office apps on the Vision Pro has more benefits for the company than the benefits of making the apps exclusive to HoloLens.