New Apple patent suggests you’ll wear Vision Pro headset at NFL games


Apple Vision Pro demo at WWDC 2023

The patent confirms that Apple believes people will be willing to wear their Vision Pro headsets at public events like sporting games. 

Jason Hiner/ZDNET

Apple has been granted a patent to supplement watching sports games using the Apple Vision Pro mixed reality headset. The Vision Pro first appeared at this year’s WWDC and is poised to go on sale early next year.

Also: I tried Apple Vision Pro and it’s far ahead of where I expected

In the meantime, Apple is preparing to make the Vision Pro more palatable to sports fans, according to the patent filing first reported by Apple World Today. The patent covers systems, methods, and devices to augment sporting events visually.

Apple believes that because people frequently watch sports at home on TV, they are accustomed to watching sports while consuming related information about the game. 

This information could be a digital scoreboard in the bottom corner of the screen or the 1st and Ten graphics system that augments American football games. Both examples are digital graphic elements that help viewers understand the progression of a sports game.

Also: Inside VisionOS: 17 things developers need to know right now

However, these digital markers are absent during live sporting events. Apple thinks people miss these elements when attending in-person games and the company wants to incorporate them into Vision Pro.

Apple’s patent includes implementing one or more devices that use image sensors and microphones to gather and display sports data and audio during a live game. 

These sensors would obtain images of the field, detect moving objects on the field, gather data relevant to the current game, and transparently or translucently display the data on the field for the Vision Pro wearer.

Also: Apple releases VisionOS SDK, developers can apply for Vision Pro hardware kit

Images in the filed patent suggest the technology would also allow player stats to be displayed next to the corresponding player. 

This patent confirms that Apple’s Vision Pro headset is sticking to its mixed (not virtual) reality mission by encouraging users to blend digital elements into their reality. 

However, the patent also confirms that Apple believes people will be willing to wear their Vision Pro headsets at public social events like sporting games. Can innovation and ambitious technology overcome social norms? We’ll have to wait and see.

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