The worlds of design and construction are about to undergo a profound transformation with the arrival of new VR/AR headsets from tech giants Apple and Meta. As technology continues to advance at an unprecedented pace, these industry-leading companies are poised to revolutionize the way professionals in architecture, engineering, and construction approach their work. With immersive experiences, intuitive interfaces, and unprecedented levels of collaboration, these VR headsets are set to break down barriers and unlock a new era of creativity, efficiency, and innovation. In this blog, we will explore how the new Apple and Meta VR headsets will impact in AEC ( Architecture, Engineering & Construction) - examining how they can redefine workflows, improve communication, and accelerate project timelines. Before we dive into the impacts, let’s first quickly review the announcements from each company.
Announcements from Apple
Apple, known for its innovation and user-centric approach, has unveiled the launch of a VR headset called Apple Vision Pro. This cutting-edge device brings powerful, personal computing by changing the way users interact with their apps and promises to deliver immersive and seamless experiences tailored for professional use.
New Apple Vision Pro
Apple Vision Pro with 4K display aims to redefine all the standards the way professionals in the design and construction industry work together and collaborate. This advanced technology helps users to seamlessly navigate virtual spaces and interact with objects with utmost accuracy and natural movement.
The comfort of the user has been prioritized in the design of Vision Pro with adjustable straps and lightweight materials enabling the user to wear the headset comfortably for longer hours without any strain. What keeps Vision Pro lighter than other headsets is its tethered battery, i.e., the separation of the battery from the headset.
The Apple Vision Pro comes with a range of advanced applications that gives exceptional performance and immersive experience.
Operating System: The Vision Pro runs on a custom Operating system called VisionOS specifically designed to optimize performance and give a seamless experience.
Chipset: The Vision Pro comes with a dual-chip design for enhanced processing power. It combines the powerful M2 chip for high-performance computing and the R1 chip for graphics processing, resulting in smooth and realistic visuals.
Display Type: The headset features a Micro OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) display. OLED technology offers vibrant colors, deep blacks, and high contrast, resulting in a better immersive visual experience.
Display quality: The Vision Pro boasts a 4K resolution display, providing incredibly sharp and detailed images. This high-resolution display ensures that users can see minute details and textures in their virtual environments.
No. of pixels: The Vision Pro is estimated to have approximately 23 million pixels. With such a high pixel count it enhances realism.
Cameras & Sensors: Vision Pro typically includes twelve cameras, a TrueDepth sensor, a LiDAR sensor, and six microphones in the headset to accurately track the user’s position and movements.
Price & availability
This ultra high-end spatial computing headset is priced at $3.499 and will be available early next year, 2024 in the US online and offline Apple stores.
Apple says more countries will get Vision Pro later next year but the countries are yet to be disclosed.
"Vision Pro opens up entirely new possibilities for collaboration, enabling professionals to step into their designs and work together in a shared virtual space like never before." - Apple spokesperson in the announcement video
Announcement from Meta
Meta, the current market leader in the VR headsets category has announced the Meta Quest 3 to be released in Fall 2023. The next-generation Virtual Reality headset features high resolution, strong performance, better comfort, and a storage option for those who want some extra space.
This wireless headset lets you seamlessly blend your physical world with the virtual one by intelligently understanding and responding to objects in physical space and navigating that natural, intuitive space that was nearly impossible before.
Meta Quest 3 has been redesigned with more comfort and better touch plus controllers with a more streamlined and ergonomic form factor. Not only this but for a premium experience you can upgrade to fully self-tracked Meta Quest Touch pro controllers where you can explore outside the controllers with direct touch where you can use your hands to interact with virtual objects.
In addition to the new headset, Meta has made significant improvements to the performance of Quest 2 and made it more affordable at just $299 for 128 GB enabling more people to try high-quality VR.
A table of comparison between Quest 3, Quest 2, and Quest Pro
Meta Quest 3
Meta Quest 2
Meta Quest Pro
Next-gen Qualcomm Snapdragon/ Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 SoC
Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2
Mixed Reality Passthrough
Full color passthrough
Limited black and white passthrough
Full color passthrough
Enhanced ergonomics and comfort features
Field of view
Expanded field of view
Standard field of view
Expanded field of view
How new Apple & Meta VR Headsets will impact in AEC?
At SENTIO VR, we believe these announcements are going to impact the Architecture, Engineering & Construction ( AEC ) industry very positively. Here are the three main impact areas we foresee:
1) A Headset at Every Price Point
With the launch of these new headsets, high-quality VR will be available at multiple price points starting from $299 to $3499 USD - catering to professionals at different levels within the industry. This affordability will enable the widespread adoption of VR technology, empowering individuals, small and medium businesses, and enterprises to benefit from immersive technologies. In addition to the price points and choices available, both Meta and Apple are building robust platforms that will enable seamless and reliable deployment of devices in Enterprises - an important aspect for the AEC industry considering the need for protection of information when it comes to using technology.
2) Higher computing power for heavy models and improved resolution
For the Meta Quest 3 headset, the next-gen Snapdragon chipset delivers more than twice the graphical performance as the previous generation Snapdragon GPU in Quest 2. Additionally, Quest 2 and Pro will see an up-to 26% CPU performance increase with an up-to 19% GPU speed increase for Quest 2 and 11% for Quest Pro. For the Apple Vision Pro, the breakthrough ultra-high-resolution display system built on top of an Apple silicon chip, Vision Pro uses micro-OLED technology to pack 23 million pixels into two displays, each the size of a postage stamp, with wide color and high dynamic range.
For the Design & Construction industry, this means two key aspects of VR workflows are getting a significant boost: the ability to run complex models and the quality of resolution.
3) Shift toward Mixed Reality
The introduction of these powerful VR headsets opened the doors for the integration of mixed-reality experiences which means virtual elements blend seamlessly with the real world. Here are a few practical uses of Mixed Reality in AEC.
Collaborative Design Reviews in the Office: Instead of fully virtual walkthroughs, Mixed reality will enable users to be aware of their surroundings enabling a seamless shift from fully virtual design review walkthroughs and interaction with their current surroundings with full-color passthrough options
Bringing BIM Models to the Site: With VR headsets, architects, engineers, and contractors can overlay BIM models on construction sites ensuring accurate alignment of design with the physical environment improving coordination and reducing errors. This will enable a more seamless manner to bring detailed designs to the site for an immersive review and reduce rework.
Spatial computing has come a long way from PC-tethered headsets with limited computing and resolution to high-definition visualization and wireless headsets that can also enable mixed-reality use cases. While adoption will take its time as software and hardware improvements happen over the next few years, there has never been a better time to start exploring immersive collaboration tools for design reviews and client presentations in the Design & Construction industry.
If you already have a Quest 2 or Quest Pro and want to test one of your designs for an immersive experience, sign up for a free trial here .