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Will Apple's Vision Pro spur luxury's virtual reality breakthrough?

Fashion & StyleWill Apple's Vision Pro spur luxury's virtual reality breakthrough?

The Vision Pro headset was finally released to the public on February 2. With over a dozen cameras, augmented reality (AR) content, and artificial intelligence-powered eye and gesture tracking for navigation and control, the Wearable Rivals Meta's Quest headset with its technological capabilities. The virtual reality feature of the device is what tech enthusiasts are most interested in. The Digital Crown is a way to flip between the real and theimmersive by using a dial. The fashion, beauty and luxury industry is unconvinced that the tech will transform consumer experiences. Most of the luxury activations fail to move the needle, and there is a chasm between the technology and the style-conscious fashion enthusiasts. Dr Helen Papagiannis thinks the Vision Pro is the start of a new era for luxury and virtual reality. Papagianis says, "Apple Vision Pro has a unique offering with the ability to dial reality up and down, ranging from fully immersive environments to being able to interact with digital objects in your physical space." This gives luxury brands a broad playground to explore, and is something I am currently advising my clients on how they can best create experiences for their customers.

She says that, in the same way that virtual reality has gained traction, it is the next technology to be widely adopted by brands. The first iteration of the Vision Pro features over 600 different apps for users to browse, including a selection of shopping experiences from early adopters. MyTheresa has an exclusive hub where consumers can browse pieces from the sun-soaked setting of a Capri beach or the heart of luxury hotspot Paris. In Alo's realm, spatial audio is used to immerse shoppers in various meditation scenes. Papagianis is optimistic that virtual reality will bring about a completely new mode of shopping for consumers. She says this is the next frontier for brands.

What other ways can brands entice consumers to buy virtual reality products? In November of last year, the company invited a number of London's most elite fashion insiders to Mayfair to explore its "wellness Pod" in collaboration with beauty guru Dr Barbara Sturm. The 50-minute experience included breathing exercises, meditation, and full-body red light therapy. The top dogs are starting to test the water. The Champs Elysées store has a virtual reality experience called "Asnires Immersive", which allows customers to experience the history of the brand. Herms is a luxury brand that uses this technology in store with a virtual reality experience where you can fly on a winged horse.

Dr Barbara Sturm's virtual reality powered Pod appealed to fashion enthusiasts.

A lot depends on the Vision Pro's success. The company's share price dropped 3 percent in after-hours trading after Apple's latest projections caused the company to miss analysts' expectations. The rise of foldable phones across the mainland is said to be the reason for the declining sales of the iPhone in China. There was a spike in demand for Vision Pro headsets in China last month, with merchants in the US offering to ship the device to the mainland for over double the recommended retail price. China has an $81 billion gray market, and the next target for overseas distributors is the country's swelling appetite for virtual reality-enabled products. The launch of the Vision Pro looks to be the beginning of the technology breakthrough, with virtual reality becoming readily available both inside and outside of the home.

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