Apple Vision Pro loses sky replacement feature before launch

Apple’s new spatial computing headset, Vision Pro, is expected to hit the stores in a few weeks, but it seems that not all the features announced at WWDC 2022 will be available at launch. According to a recent update on Apple’s website and YouTube channel, the Open Sky Environment feature has been removed from the product.

Open Sky Environment was one of the features showcased by Apple at WWDC 2022 as part of the Environments feature of visionOS, the operating system that powers Vision Pro. Environments allow users to transform their surroundings with immersive and realistic virtual scenes. Open Sky Environment was supposed to let users replace their ceiling with a clear, open sky, creating a relaxing and soothing experience.

Apple Vision Pro loses sky replacement feature before launch
Apple Vision Pro loses sky replacement feature before launch

Why did Apple remove it?

Apple has not given any official explanation for why the feature was removed, but some speculate that it may have been due to technical difficulties or performance issues. The feature may have been too demanding for the Vision Pro hardware, which consists of an M2 chip with a 10-core GPU and 16GB of RAM. Alternatively, the feature may have not met Apple’s quality standards or user expectations, and the company may have decided to scrap it or postpone it for a future update.

How did Apple remove it?

Apple quietly edited the “Introducing Apple Vision Pro” video on YouTube and its website, removing the clip that showed the Open Sky Environment feature. The video now shows only the Cinema Environment feature, which turns the user’s room into a personal movie theater. Apple also changed the text on the Vision Pro webpage, replacing the phrase “magically replace your ceiling with a clear, open sky” with “turn your room into a personal movie theater with the Cinema Environment.”

What does this mean for Vision Pro users?

The removal of the Open Sky Environment feature does not affect the availability or functionality of the Vision Pro headset, which is still scheduled to launch on February 2 in the United States and later this year in other countries. Vision Pro users will still be able to enjoy a variety of other features, such as spatial audio, hand tracking, eye tracking, face capture, and access to hundreds of apps and games designed for spatial computing. The removal of the feature also does not impact existing owners of an Apple Watch with pulse oximetry features, which measure blood oxygen levels.

Will Apple bring back the feature?

It is unclear whether Apple will bring back the Open Sky Environment feature in the future, or if it has been permanently abandoned. Apple may have been unable to finish the feature in time for the launch, or it may have never worked as expected. Apple may also have other plans for the Environments feature, such as adding more options or improving the existing ones. Apple is known for its innovation and creativity, so it is possible that the company will surprise us with something new and better in the future.

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