If you’re wondering what Apple‘s official Vision Pro controllers are going to look like, just imagine something that isn’t there. That’s because Apple is reportedly determined to make its AR/VR headset a controller-free zone.
The report comes via Apple watcher Mark Gurman, who wrote in a Bloomberg newsletter that Apple had experimented with a finger-based controller device. It also confirms that the company reportedly tried third-party VR controllers including models from HTC, but the decision has been made. For Apple, controlling the Vision Pro means hand and eye scanning and Siri voice controls, not the kind of hand controllers you get with headsets such as the HTC Vive Pro 2.
Apple had also reportedly experimented with a physical Bluetooth or Mac keyboard, but has decided instead to go with an in-air keyboard for those moments when you really have to type something, such as a password you haven’t already stored in your iCloud Keychain.
Does Vision Pro support third-party controllers?
Yes and no. According to Gurman, while Apple won’t make a physical controller for what’s expected to be the best VR headset, it will support PS5 and Xbox controllers for gaming.
However, Apple has no plans to make its own Vision Pro game controller, and it has no plans to support third-party VR accessories. Whether that’ll change with time and Apple will find a VR equivalent of the Made for iPhone certification scheme, something that’s been a nice little earner for Apple over the years, is unknown.
I don’t think the lack of third-party support or a hardware handheld controller is going to be a big deal, especially based on all the early verdicts so far. When we tried the Vision Pro, we found gesture and vision tracking to work very well after a brief setup routine: “if I looked at an app like Photos, I could then pinch together my thumb and index finger to open it. To scroll in a window, I would pinch, hold and drag my hand left or right or up or down.”
Once you get used to it, it’s very simple and straightforward. And there’s still many months left for Apple to refine it further, and many more before the average consumer is using an Apple headset.