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Apple Vision Pro safety concerns limit 'fully immersive' apps

An example of a fully immersive Vision Pro app. (Source: Apple)

Developers can create Apple Vision Pro apps that take over a user's whole vision, but if that user moves a certain distance, Apple will switch off the app.

Apple doesn't tend to talk about fully Virtual Reality (VR) in regards to its Vision Pro headset, but the device is capable of it. What it's more likely to be used for, though, is what Apple calls a "fully immersive experience."

That's when nothing of the outside world is visible to the wearer at all, and absolutely everything they see is generated by the headset. That might, for instance, include certain games, or perhaps even movies could entirely fill a user's view.

Whatever such a fully immersive app does, Apple has provided guidelines for how developers use it — and specifically how to best launch or quit the experience. Among the details in this new developer documentation, though, there is one warning.

When you start a fully immersive experience, visionOS defines a system boundary that extends 1.5 meters from the initial position of the person's head. If their head moves outside of that zone, the system automatically stops the immersive experience and turns on the external video again. This feature is an assistant to help prevent someone from colliding with objects.

That's got to be adequate for any use of Vision Pro where the wearer is sitting down. It's likely to be adequate for practically any app that Vision Pro users can work with.

Plus Apple does say that it switches off the app when the person's head moves 1.5 meters from the initial position. That means the app can operate as a fully immersive one within a circle with a radius of 1.5 meters.

What's more, this is solely for these fully immersive apps. When using AR, where digital objects are shown in the real world, there is no issue about people bumping into things. And therefore, there's no Apple-imposed limit.

But for fully immersive apps, it is a specific limit that is outside developers' control. And it does mean that developers can't make room-sized VR environments using Vision Pro.