Mixed reality is magic

ARbra cadARbra

Welcome to Lowpass! This week: What I learned from trying a bunch of mixed reality apps, and what kind of apps are coming to the Vision Pro.

Why mixed reality is here to stay

With the release of Apple’s Vision Pro this week, a lot of people are starting to revisit the word salad that is used to describe the technologies and experiences provided by modern-day headsets and wearables. You know, augmented reality, virtual reality, mixed reality, spatial computing and the likes.

Industry insiders tend to use VR for fully immersive devices and experiences, while AR is being used for glasses (and phones) that add virtual elements to the real world. Mixed reality is generally seen as a combination of the two, and more technically minded folks use the term for headsets like the Vision Pro that use outward-facing cameras to relay a video feed of the real world to its users that can then be augmented with VR. The general thinking is that these headsets are transitional devices, and that pass-through is a way to achieve the kinds of experiences that future AR glasses will offer with far less weight on your face.

I haven’t had  a chance to review the Vision Pro yet (if anyone at Apple is reading this 👋), but I’ve tried a bunch of mixed reality experiences with a review unit of Meta’s Quest 3 in recent weeks, which also uses video pass-through. And while I still view that broad definition of mixed reality as helpful, I’m starting to come around to the idea that mixed reality may be a medium in its own right. Not just a transitional technology that shows us what AR glasses will offer in the future, but a new class of immersive experiences. And all semantics aside, trying a range of mixed reality games and experiences has led me to firmly believe that mixed reality is magic.

Here are a few of the things I have tried, and the lessons I took away from it:

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