Apple enthusiasts, rejoice! With the recent release of iOS 17.2 Beta, the iPhone 15 Pro has just unlocked a groundbreaking feature – the ability to record 3D 'Spatial Video' that can be experienced in Apple Vision Pro. This exciting development marks a significant leap in the realm of immersive technology and promises to redefine how we capture and relive our most cherished moments.
Spatial Video: A Glimpse into the Future of Multimedia
The concept of Spatial Video was initially unveiled at Apple's WWDC event earlier this year when the tech giant introduced its revolutionary Apple Vision Pro headset. At the time, it was hinted that Vision Pro would be equipped to capture Spatial Videos, and Apple made waves by revealing that the iPhone 15 Pro would also gain this capability through an upcoming software update. Now, with the arrival of iOS 17.2 Public Beta, select testers can experience this innovative feature firsthand.
Demystifying Spatial Video
While Apple's initial marketing of Spatial Video left many intrigued but puzzled, the recent clarification sheds light on what this cutting-edge technology truly entails. Contrary to the earlier suggestions of an entirely new dimension of video, Spatial Video is essentially a form of 3D stereoscopic video. It combines two 1080p 30FPS captures into a single file, utilizing the new Apple MV-HEVC stereo video format.
When viewed on the Apple VisionOS, Spatial Videos are presented within a floating rounded rectangular container, with the edges extending based on the content, creating an immersive depth-enhancing effect. While it may not be the entirely new dimension some anticipated, the experience is undeniably captivating.
The Verdict from Early Testers
At a recent private Apple event, tech journalists had the opportunity to capture Spatial Videos on the iPhone 15 Pro and explore them using the Vision Pro headset. Scott Stein from CNET described the experience as "undeniably vivid," with 3D rendering that felt "compellingly realistic." However, he noted that he wished the capture resolution was 4K at 60FPS. In contrast, Lance Ulanoff from TechRadar appeared more enthusiastic, suggesting that Spatial Video could be Vision Pro's "killer app."
"In the bubble video, the bubbles appeared to be floating both in the scene and closer to my face; I had the impulse to reach out and touch them. The depth is interesting, and not overbearing or jarring. Instead, the scene looks exactly as I remember it, complete with that lifelike depth. That’s not possible with traditional videography," Ulanoff exclaimed.
Accessibility and Future Prospects
While the prospect of Spatial Video is undoubtedly exciting, it is important to note that, at present, it remains an expensive and niche endeavor. It requires an iPhone 15 Pro, which comes with a hefty price tag, for capture, and the Apple Vision Pro headset, which is priced at $3500, for playback. However, Apple's decision to publicly share the specifications for MV-HEVC opens the door for other companies to develop compatible players, potentially expanding access to this technology.
Furthermore, there are rumors that Apple will introduce Spatial Video support to its regular non-Pro iPhone 16 next year, making this immersive experience more accessible to a broader audience. Additionally, the company is said to be working on a more affordable non-Pro version of the Vision headset, which could further democratize the Spatial Video experience.
In conclusion, the introduction of Spatial Video on the iPhone 15 Pro is a remarkable step towards redefining how we capture and relive our memories. While it may currently be a premium offering, the potential for wider accessibility and future advancements in this technology make it an exciting development to watch. As the world of immersive multimedia continues to evolve, Apple's innovation continues to push boundaries and shape the future of technology.