If Apple adds this to Vision Pro, I might finally embrace it for good

Apple Vision Pro Disney+ Star Wars Environment
(Image credit: Future/Jacob Krol)

One of Apple Vision Pro’s best tricks is that it can layer elements over the world around you – whether placing myriad apps in your space, or overlaying a FaceTime call while you’re responding to emails and browsing the web. It’s very cool, with smart passthrough and a robust visual experience, but equally amazing when the Vision Pro can transport you somewhere else.

The best way to do just that is to engage an environment on Vision Pro. You select a space, then use the Digital Crown to go partially or fully immersive. It’s not just the vistas in ultra-high fidelity either, you also get an accompanying audio track, like wind whistling or birds chirping. You might also experience the absence of sound, with the Moon environment, for instance. 

Six of the 11 environments available on Vision Pro are real locations, while five are  color effects that get laid over your environment. There's a peaceful, high-up view from Haleakalā, a massive landscape in Yosemite and Joshua Tree, and you can also venture to White Sands, Mount Hood, or even the Moon, which includes an astronaut's view of Earth.

There are still two mystery locations billed as Coming Soon, and these have been a mystery since launch. Here's my point: we’re swiftly approaching Apple’s WWDC 2024 event – it’ll be a week-long developers conference, but all eyes are locked on the  opening keynote scheduled for 10 AM ET/1 PM PT on June 10, 2024. I want to see what those two environments are, and I have a request for Apple that I think most Vision Pro owners will agree with.

Open up the environments

Apple Vision Pro Environments screen

(Image credit: Future/Jacob Krol)

Developers like Disney and Warner Bros Discovery have been creating environments, but there is a problem here – well, maybe two problems.

First, these third-party environments are locked to use in their respective applications. You watch Avengers: Endgame from the roof of the Avengers tower. You screen The Empire Strikes Back from a land speeder on Tatooine within Disney Plus. How can you top that as a Star Wars fan? It transports you to a location that you used to only see on the silver screen. With the Max app, you can be transported to the iron throne room from Game of Thrones. Which brings me to my second problem: no environments for Curb Your Enthusiasm? Not even a deli?!

You can only access these environments within their respective applications, so you can’t do work from Avengers Tower, the Monsters Inc. Scare Floor, or a galaxy far, far away. When you close out of the application, it will simply go back to the regular old passthrough view, or an Apple-made environment. 

Apple Vision Pro Disney+ Marvel Environment

(Image credit: Future/Jacob Krol)

I hope that visionOS 2.0, rumored to be unveiled during Apple’s WWDC 2024, will fix this. More broadly, I hope it gives us more advanced features similar to what we saw  with the iPhone’s huge second-generation software update. 

An important Vision Pro update would only need to be about the little things, like opening up environments and letting you reorder applications on the home screen.

It would also be great to see Mac Virtual Display – the feature that casts your MacOS computer screen into the Vision Pro – handle more than one virtual screen. 

Similarly, why not open up more iPad apps to run natively on Vision Pro? Currently, it’s an opt-in system for developers, but when the iPad first launched, all of the iPhone apps were available for use with the simple window magnifier in the bottom corner. It may not be a perfect experience, but it would let folks do more with Vision Pro.

I’d also love to see some upgrades to Spatial Personas. Apple’s most recent update really did a magic trick that made it seem like I could hang out with my friends who also had a Vision Pro and navigate the same space with them. It was trippy at first, but it gets more natural, and I’d imagine Apple has some more improvements up its sleeve.

There is a long list of things we want to see come to Vision Pro, but I think expanding on what makes the device excel makes an awful lot of sense. I’d suggest reading TechRadar Editor-at-Large Lance Ulanoff’s one-year look back on Vision Pro; I agree with what he laid out and have equally high hopes.

At minimum, if we get some fresh, new environments and I can use existing environments in new places, I’ll be using the spatial computer a lot more. Who knows, I might write future stories from a land speeder on Tatooine.

Apple Vision Pro in use

(Image credit: Future/Jacob Krol)

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Jacob Krol
US Managing Editor News

Jacob Krol is the US Managing Editor, News for TechRadar. He’s been writing about technology since he was 14 when he started his own tech blog. Since then Jacob has worked for a plethora of publications including CNN Underscored, TheStreet, Parade, Men’s Journal, Mashable, CNET, and CNBC among others. 

He specializes in covering companies like Apple, Samsung, and Google and going hands-on with mobile devices, smart home gadgets, TVs, and wearables. In his spare time, you can find Jacob listening to Bruce Springsteen, building a Lego set, or binge-watching the latest from Disney, Marvel, or Star Wars.