A new patent granted to Apple details how the company is thinking of using the Vision Pro’s external display to show what the wearer is looking at inside the device.
The patent, which includes Jony Ive as an inventor, details ways an outside screen on a generic head-mounted display could be used to indicate what the wearer is seeing to people around them. While the patent isn’t specifically about the Vision Pro and its “EyeSight” display feature, it’s clear that some of the ideas here informed the features in the final headset.
For example, Apple has talked publicly about how the outer screen on the Vision Pro can let outsiders see the eyes of the person wearing the headset or display a colorful pattern that indicates the wearer is fully immersed in VR. But pictures in the patent detail how an external display could be used for a few sillier-looking applications, like displaying the weather, sunglasses on your face, a DO NOT DISTURB sign, or even replacing the wearer’s eyes with Zoom icons.
As fun as these are, Apple being granted a patent doesn’t necessarily mean that these ideas will show up in the Vision Pro or other Apple headsets. I sincerely doubt, for example, that the Vision Pro will actually replace your eyes with Zoom icons while you’re on an important work meeting. (That seems like nightmare fuel for anyone who happens to look at you and your headset while you’re on the call.)
But with the EyeSight display, Apple is entering uncharted territory. We don’t actually know if the display will be a useful way to interact with someone wearing a Vision Pro headset or if it will just be weird. And since Apple hasn’t demoed EyeSight for press yet, it’s unclear if it will even work well at all. Will we all adapt to looking at an array of dots to tell what somebody is doing on their headset?
Apple is reportedly very close to actually launching the Vision Pro, so we probably won’t have to wait too much longer to get an idea if that’s the future. I’m guessing it won’t be, and I especially hope that Zoom eyes won’t actually have to be a thing.
You can check out the full patent below.