Avatars for Apple Vision Pro

Concept: avatars for the Apple Vision Pro that match the content you are watching on Disney+. Watching Captain America: Civil War? Have Spider-Man’s eyes appear in the external display while it’s playing.

cartoon-ish man with red blue 3d glasses

I’ve been reflecting on the announcement of the Apple Vision Pro. The vision videos of people watching entire movies with the headset on conjured memories of people wearing 3D glasses while watching movies. It got me thinking about how these accessories we use while consuming media become a part of how we represent ourselves to others – a piece of our identity.

The Tech

The Vision Pro is completely opaque, so Apple has created an outward lenticular display to project a virtual self to the outside world – others can see this in parallax. They went in detail to how this virtual self (also used in video calls) accurately reproduces your actual look. The larger feature set is called EyeSight – see some non-face output on the display here.

This brings us to the whole metaverse concept. Some people like to represent themselves with their exact look; however, there is a large faction that prefers to use an Avatar of someone/thing completely different. This is clearly a matter of preference but the platform’s design can very much enforce one or the other on its users.

DLC and skins have been a common monetization opportunity in video games for many years now. Whether it be an entire character or just clothing and accessories, people enjoy customizing their visage to the outside world.

The Market

The demise of the DVD left a vacuum where people were getting perceived value from DVD extras as part of curating their collections. Media companies wanted to continue generating revenue from movies and TV show purchases, so they saw offering extras as a way to differentiate from streaming services. My previous role exposed me to this as we created commerce/info layers on top of movies you purchase on your cable box.

Bringing this all together, the announcement of the Apple Vision Pro revealed Disney as a partner. While the initial release of the Pro is clearly a developer unit, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the eventual consumer release to be at a premium price point. This crowd should be able to afford extras/merch/DLC.

The concept

I envision DLC skins paired with Disney+ content. Apple seems to be pushing the concept of real-life avatars throughout the OS, but perhaps a media consumption app like Disney+ could be allowed to use an avatar instead. This could be just a bonus feature, or could be available as an add-on. They suggested that 3D movies would be available on the Vision Pro, so it could make sense to pair this as an incentive for the premium offering (over the standard Disney+ 2D movies).

This “mask” serves as an expression of self and status, while also a billboard for Disney’s innovation.

Apple Vision Pro skins for Disney+ and more (Spider-Man, Mickey Mouse, Terminator, red blue 3D glasses)
A new 'Shop' tab in the Disney+ app appears for the Ahsoka show

*** [Update 8/30] I noticed a new shop tab in the show navigation for Ashoka on Disney+ – it’s clear they have an interest in tying additional monetization directly to their streaming offerings.