Apple CEO Tim Cook lauded its long-trailed entry into the AR headset space, claiming the newly-unveiled Vision Pro device is unique and years ahead of anything else, with the so-called spatial computer set to be priced at $3,499 on its US release early in 2024.

The headset was unveiled at the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference and is being promoted on familiar extended reality features including the ability to blend digital content with the physical world.

Among the elements the company describes as “breakthrough” are a dual-chip design and eye displays able to showcase 23 million pixels across both lenses. These factors, Apple asserts, gives a user the impression experiences are happening in real time and can make it appear like media is being watched on a screen measuring 100 feet wide, in 4K.

Cook said the device “marks the beginning of a new era for computing”, adding “just as the Mac introduced us to personal computing, and iPhone introduced us to mobile computing, Apple Vision Pro introduces us to spatial computing”.

“Built upon decades of Apple innovation, Vision Pro is years ahead and unlike anything created before, with a revolutionary new input system and thousands of groundbreaking innovations,” he added, noting opportunities for its developers based on the system.

Apple describes the design as a “compact wearable form factor” though didn’t provide full weight and size specifications.

The device runs custom operating system visionOS and can be used with the company’s various other produts including its Apple Mac keyboard and trackpad.

Vision Pro can access Apple Arcade and more than 100 compatible games.

The device is designed to use gesture controls but can also be connected to standard games controllers and other peripherals.

Other features include a 3D camera, access to images on iCloud, FaceTime compatibility for video calls, a dedicated app store and a feature which can show a user’s eyes on the outside of the device to provide those around them with “visual cues”.

Along with the headset, Apple previewed its forthcoming iOS 17 operating system and upgrades to its Watch, Mac and software for AirPods.

Click here to view Mobile World Live’s highlights of the event, including footage of the device.