Forget the Apple Vision Pro release date, its killer app is here

Apple Vision Pro release date spatial apps
Image: Apple.

Among all the chaos of CES 2024, Apple sneakily announced the release date of its much-hyped Vision Pro headset. The catch? It’s only coming to the US, for now. But that doesn’t matter – the real reason to try one out is on the horizon. Although my tongue may be firmly planted in my cheek while writing this, my excitement is genuine.

Set for an overseas release date of 2 February 2024, the Apple Vision Pro will mark the tech company’s first new device category in years. Many who have tried the headset consider the technology impressive. Although it is very much a different flavour of a mixed-reality device, Apple is very keen for developers to use the “spatial computing” phrase coined by the brand.

So, if the Apple Vision Pro has no Australian release date, why get excited? Amidst the details shared recently, it’s the promise of “spatial games” that has me intrigued. Specifically, one zany Apple Arcade title filled with charm: What the Golf?

Time to get silly: spatial computing edition

Ahead of the device’s US launch, Apple shared more details about what to expect. Its Apple Arcade subscription game service got a mention, but it was the mention of “spatial games” that stood out. Apple claims that spatial games like Game Room, What the Golf?, and Super Fruit Ninja will “transform the space around players”, offering a non-conventional experience.

For a couple of years, I co-hosted Mobile Arcade Club, a podcast reviewing Apple Arcade games. One of my all-time favourites was What the Golf?, a surreal, absurd comedy game by Triband, a Denmark-based studio. Despite its name, the game has very little to do with golf. In fact, it’s billed as a “golf game for people who hate golf“, which I find slightly misleading – I happen to like both.

What the Golf spatial gaming
What the Golf? is extremely silly and extremely fun. Image: Triband.

Filled with silly slapstick humour, it subverts expectations of both gaming and the sport of golf at every turn. It’s utterly delightful. I’m eager to eventually see what the spatial treatment adds to the experience. Although forking out US$3,499 for an Apple Vision Pro just to play a funny little game is unwise, the heart wants what it wants, right?

No Apple Vision Pro release date for Australia, yet

While we’re no closer to knowing when – or even if – Apple’s newest device is coming to local shores, we do know a bit more about it. One of the big selling points so far is how the Apple Vision Pro functions as a huge personal screen. You’ll be able to watch videos, use apps, and play games in a space resembling a private cinema.

Adding to this, a recent iPhone update added the ability to record spatial videos using the iPhone 15 Pro models. These three-dimensional videos will be viewable on the Vision Pro, enabling you to experience more depth than on a traditional flat screen. More than 150 movies will be watchable in 3D when the headset launches, including Dune, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and The Super Mario Bros Movie.

There are already impressive examples of mixed-reality technology available, like the Meta Quest 3. Competitors’ lower prices also make the Apple Vision Pro a hard sell, albeit Apple is promising a more expansive ecosystem than other devices. At least we’ll soon have an idea of what to expect as the anticipated headset arrives in American homes.

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