VisionOS 2 Hands-On: New Wrist Gestures And More For Apple Vision Pro

apple vision pro wrist
Apple recently held its yearly WWDC Developer conference with a host of new software updates. Its emphasis on the forward-looking Apple Intelligence coming later this year was a highlight of the event. One of its most futuristic devices to take advantage of software innovations is currently the Vision Pro, which has received a mixed reaction since its initial release. With the Vision Pro now launching in more countries on June 28th, Apple will have a much larger user base to draw insight from. 

At this week's event, Apple unveiled VisionOS 2, which is currently available as a developer beta. As an owner of the Vision Pro, I have been patiently awaiting any new tidbit of novelty to awaken the current experience of using the product. While the technology is great, the lack of new immersive content and a limited use case makes it tough to recommend. Together with its steep price, it surely feels more like a developer beta product than anything else released by Apple. 

Regardless, VisionOS 2 brings with it some notable changes. First is the addition of a wrist gesture to pull up the battery life and time on the device. This may seem like a minor feature, but as a user of the Vision Pro, it is much appreciated. Previously, I had to look up in order to check the time or battery life, which was highly awkward. This brings it to a more natural, comfortable position making it easier to check this vital information. 

You can now also pinch to raise and lower the volume, depending less on eye movement to find the volume dial. Another useful feature is pulling up your app screen with a hand gesture, using a flipping hand movement.

spatial photos

When Apple included spatial photos in the original VisionOS, it was limited to just the device itself and lost its novelty quickly. With VisionOS 2, you can now turn any regular photo into a spatial photo. SharePlay will also allow you to share these photos, broadening its use case. 

Other notable features that are coming to Vision OS 2 will be the ability to have ultra wide and large virtual monitors when connected to a Mac. Together with new mouse support, this larger monitor environment will be similar to two 4K displays side by side. A much requested feature for those who use Vison Pro for productivity, 

These updates are great, but they demonstrate that Vision Pro is a major work in progress with features slowly being added. This is why I believe this device will only reach popularity during a future iteration that can drop its starting price for mass consumption. Together with the improvements to VisionOS over time, it has the potential to be more than it is today. Apple Intelligence will also augment the experience as it is integrated over time with Vision Pro. 

Looking at iPadOS, which still limits the powerful iPad Pro, it is not a given that VisionOS will blossom Vision Pro into an ideal device. New improvements should increase its usability, since the underlying technology has merit.