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visionOS 2 adds spatial photos, new UI gestures and improved Mac mirroring

There are also new APIs for developers.


Apple has updated the operating software for the Apple Vision Pro, visionOS, and added a bunch of features. The company unveiled the changes at its live WWDC keynote and they look pretty useful.

The biggest news with visionOS 2 is the addition of spatial photos that provide depth to 2D images. When the Vision Pro released earlier this year, Apple had reserved this technology for videos. Spatial photos will allow users to peek beyond the frames of the photo by moving your head, giving people a bit more to see from the right and left sides of the original image.

A kid playing drums.
A kid playing drums. (Engadget)

There's a new way to share these spatial photos with friends and family. The SharePlay feature in the Photos app lets people simultaneously view content and discuss it in real-time by integrating the headset's avatar personas. Vacation photos just got a serious level up.

The operating system is also bringing updated gestural control options. You'll be able to hold your hand up and tap to open the home view and flip your hand over to bring up time and battery details. Another tap will bring up Control Center and quick access to notifications.

A hand using the AVP.
A hand using the AVP. (Engadget)

Later this year, visionOS 2 will offer some benefits to those who use the AVP for screen-mirroring. Resolution is getting an upgrade, and a forthcoming option for a wraparound ultrawide will be able to approximate two 4k monitors placed side by side.

Travel mode is even getting a little bit of an update here, with train support. In other words, the algorithm will be familiar with the usual bumps from a subway or long-distance train ride, so you can continue using the headset without any interruptions.

For developers, there are plenty of new APIs coming down the pike, like one for tabletop apps and another for advanced volumetric images. Finally, there's a lens coming for the Canon EOS R6 digital camera that will allow filmmakers to make immersive video experiences for the headset.

While not a game-changing software update, the addition of the aforementioned features should make strapping a computer to your head more of an attractive notion. The thing’s still $3,500 though.

Catch up here for all the news out of Apple's WWDC 2024.