The Apple Immersive Video format sounds like it will deliver 180-degree video with high quality.
180-degree (and 360-degree) video content was a major focus for Facebook in the early Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Go era of modern consumer VR, being particularly suited to those headsets because they lacked positional tracking and positionally tracked controllers. When Oculus Quest arrived Facebook's content focus shifted to more interactive content and games, but with Apple Vision Pro immersive video looks set to make a comeback.
Apple this week detailed "a sneak peek at a curated selection" of the first-party 180-degree video content that will be available on Vision Pro at launch, including one from Jon Favreau, and revealed its new video format powering them.
Called Apple Immersive Video, the format includes 8K resolution, stereoscopic 3D, and spatial audio.
Some Apple Immersive Video content was shown during Apple's press demo at WWDC. My colleague Ian reported that it "looks great", while Apple commentator John Gruber described it as "incredible", and CBS correspondent David Pogue said it was "unforgettable". These impressions suggest high-quality footage with high bitrate, and may be a result of Apple's acquisition of NextVR.
In comparison, the majority of immersive video content on the Meta Quest TV app looks blocky and low quality, though it's unclear how much of this is a result of the videos themselves or Meta's streaming tech. Predownloaded apps with immersive video content such as the Felix & Paul Studios collection offer much higher quality. Apple says its immersive videos will be available to stream, not requiring download.
Apple's first-party immersive video content won't be free, however. It's being offered as part of the $10/month Apple TV+ subscription service, which also grants you access to dozens of traditional TV shows and movies, including Ted Lasso, For All Mankind, and Killers of the Flower Moon, on both Vision Pro and traditional devices.
Here's the "curated selection" of Apple Immersive Video content that Apple announced will be available on Vision Pro at launch:
Prehistoric Planet Immersive
Prehistoric Planet Immersive is a documentary film from award-winning director Jon Favreau, and is based on his existing traditional Apple TV+ series Prehistoric Planet.
"Prehistoric Planet Immersive is a new film that whisks viewers along a rugged ocean coast where a pterosaur colony settles in for an afternoon nap — one that proves to be anything but restful. Viewers will transport into the daily lives of dinosaurs, experiencing T-Rex teens crashing a quiet colony of pterosaurs on the beach until mama shows up to break up their party, and an intense battle between raptors and a pride of Triceratops in the forest."
Adventure is a series that follows extreme sports athletes on various challenges around the world. The first episode focuses on highlining.
"Join pioneering athletes as they face extraordinary challenges in some of the world’s most spectacular locations.
Hailing from Atlantic Productions and produced by Apple Immersive Video, the first episode, titled “Highlining,” will offer an escape into thin air with highliner Faith Dickey as she takes on her highest challenge yet: a daring traverse 3,000 feet above Norway’s breathtaking fjords."
The Wild Life series brings you right next to some of the most unique animals on Earth, narrated by experts. The first episode focuses on Rhinos.
"Get up close and personal with some of the most charismatic creatures on the planet — and uncover what makes them unique with the experts who know them best.
The first episode brings viewers into the world's largest rhino sanctuary where a former police captain has dedicated her life to rescuing, raising and rewilding these gentle giants."
Alicia Keys: Rehearsal Room
Alicia Keys: Rehearsal Room is a short documentary film offering a behind-the-scenes look at an Alicia Keys rehearsal session.
"Alicia Keys: Rehearsal Room is an intimate, short film that offers viewers a rare glimpse into the Grammy winner’s creative process, including a rehearsal session featuring renditions of her hits No One, If I Ain’t Got You and You Don’t Know My Name."