Apple's visionOS: The Game-Changer Set to Revolutionize 3D Development and Collaboration

July 3rd, 2023
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In its history-making announcement on June 5, 2023, Apple released the Vision Pro, a monumental step towards fully integrating our digital and physical worlds. The Vision Pro, Apple’s first spatial computer, promises to alter our interactions with digital content by employing a groundbreaking three-dimensional interface. As users navigate their digital experiences through eye, hand, and voice inputs, the 3D interface transcends the boundaries of traditional displays, crafting an immersive experience that seems part of the user's physical space. 

From an industry perspective, this introduction of spatial computing signals a considerable shift in software development trends. The advent of Vision Pro will necessitate a significant increase in 3D developers and animators, given the new demand for apps and content designed for a 3D interface. Collaboration in 3D will no longer be a specialty; instead, it will become a necessity, driving growth and innovation in this field like never before. 

A Surge in 3D Development 

The Vision Pro comes loaded with the world's first spatial operating system, visionOS, designed to support low-latency requirements of spatial computing. The development and maintenance of such a system will require a specialized set of skills that, until now, have not been as prevalent in the computing industry. As visionOS creates a three-dimensional interface that interacts dynamically with natural light and casts shadows, new types of developers with an understanding of physics, light, and dimension will be in high demand. 

Traditional two-dimensional apps, whether for productivity, entertainment, or communication, will need to adapt to the spatial interface offered by the Vision Pro. As a result, current app developers will have to adjust and expand their skill sets to incorporate 3D spatial elements, creating job opportunities and a higher demand for 3D developers and animators. 

3D Development in visionOS SDK

The visionOS SDK by Apple is a new platform that allows developers worldwide to design, build, and test apps for Apple Vision Pro. This includes developers with varying levels of experience in 3D design and development. The platform provides many familiar frameworks found in other Apple platforms such as SwiftUI, UIKit, RealityKit, and ARKit. Thus, most developers with iOS or iPadOS apps can immediately start working with the new platform by simply adding the visionOS destination to their existing project. 

The SDK offers a consistent experience even for developers who are new to Apple platforms. Once onboarded, developers can start exploring their ideas immediately with the help of the new Simulator provided in the Xcode 15 beta, which also supports visionOS. The visionOS simulator allows developers to preview apps and interactions on Vision Pro, test their appearance and interactions, and also simulate different background and lighting scenarios. 

An innovative addition to the SDK is the Reality Composer Pro, a new development tool that enables developers to preview and prepare 3D content for their visionOS apps and games. Developers can import and organize assets, add materials and particle effects, and integrate them back into Xcode seamlessly. This functionality allows developers to iterate quickly, thus shortening the feedback loop in the development process.

The SDK also introduces new Instruments, like RealityKit Trace, to help developers optimize the performance of their spatial computing apps. These tools are valuable even for developers with little prior experience in 3D modelling and shaders. 

In summary, visionOS SDK is a powerful development toolkit that caters to a wide range of developers and supports the creation of diverse apps for Apple Vision Pro. The SDK integrates familiar Apple frameworks, provides a seamless onboarding experience, supports quick prototyping and iterative development with its Simulator and Reality Composer Pro, and introduces new tools to aid in the performance optimization of apps. Its introduction represents a significant step forward in 3D app development.

The Rise of 3D Animators 

3D animation will take a central role in the Vision Pro user experience. Beyond merely enhancing visuals, it will become instrumental in creating user interfaces, simulations, and gameplay for the new spatial computing platform. Given the Vision Pro’s focus on physically interacting with digital content in three-dimensional space, 3D animators will play a vital role in designing these experiences. 

The Vision Pro has also opened the door for 3D films and games that can provide fully immersive experiences, again necessitating the skills of 3D animators. As users can now enjoy content on a screen that feels 100 feet wide and access 180-degree high-resolution recordings with Spatial Audio, developers will need to produce 3D content on a scale previously not required for home use. 

Current State and Future of 3D Collaboration

The present state of 3D collaboration has been substantially influenced by advancements in technology, the evolution of remote work environments, and the increased use of virtual and augmented reality platforms.

Current 3D collaboration tools allow for real-time interaction, modification, and visualisation of 3D models across diverse industries such as architecture, gaming, film, healthcare, and manufacturing. Software like Autodesk's BIM 360, Sketchfab, Unity's Reflect, or VR platforms like Spatial, allows multiple users to collaborate on the same 3D project simultaneously, from different geographical locations.

However, these 3D collaboration tools are not without their challenges. For instance, there can be difficulties with version control, differences in software compatibility, and barriers in communication. Additionally, the need for powerful hardware and high-speed internet connection for smooth real-time 3D collaboration can also be a hindrance for some users.

Looking towards the future, 3D collaboration is poised to evolve significantly, leveraging emerging technologies and adapting to changing work trends. Here are a few potential directions:

  1. Improved Accessibility: As cloud computing and 5G technology continue to advance, we can expect an increase in the accessibility and efficiency of 3D collaboration tools. This may enable smoother real-time collaboration, even on less powerful hardware, reducing the barrier to entry for many users.

  2. Increased Use of VR/AR: With the development of advanced and more affordable VR/AR headsets, we could see a surge in the use of immersive technologies for 3D collaboration. This could enable a more intuitive, immersive, and interactive collaboration environment, where participants can manipulate 3D models as if they were in the same physical space.

  3. AI Integration: The integration of AI in 3D collaboration tools could revolutionise how teams work together on 3D models. AI could assist in automating routine tasks, providing real-time design suggestions, improving version control, and even predicting potential design flaws.

  4. Enhanced Security: As collaboration becomes more digital and remote, the importance of secure platforms becomes paramount. Future 3D collaboration tools will likely invest in advanced security measures to protect intellectual property and maintain user privacy.

A Revolution in Collaboration

The Vision Pro announcement highlights a need for more expansive and intricate collaborations in the 3D field. The product itself is a testament to what integrated hardware and software engineering can achieve, with Mike Rockwell, Apple’s vice president of the Technology Development Group, noting that creating the Vision Pro required invention across nearly every facet of the system. 

Similarly, developers and animators will need to collaborate more closely to leverage the full capabilities of spatial computing. From interface design to content creation, teams will need to work in sync to ensure seamless 3D experiences. This could foster a more integrated approach to development, with traditionally separate roles like developers, animators, UX designers, and even sound engineers working closely together to create cohesive spatial experiences.

Moreover, the emergence of the Vision Pro and its visionOS presents a compelling opportunity for the broader tech community to unite and explore this new frontier. Tech giants, startups, independent developers, and even enthusiasts stand on the cusp of a revolution, offering a shared space to innovate and evolve the way we interact with our digital world. 

Jinolo: A Collaborative Powerhouse for a 3D Future

In a digital era where collaboration and seamless communication have become crucial success factors, Jinolo is paving the way for transformative advancements in the realm of 3D CAD model sharing. Jinolo, a pioneering online platform, empowers industrial designers and engineers to interact with suppliers, clients, and reviewers through 3D CAD models, thereby elevating the ease of communication and collaboration to unparalleled levels.

Jinolo's unique functionality allows users to upload a 3D CAD model and share it with anyone, using a simple link or by inviting them to access the file directly. It eliminates the need for installing any extra software, as the models can be viewed effortlessly in the browser. What makes it even more impressive is the built-in chat and comment features. Users can leave remarks in 3D space, enabling precise and context-specific feedback that greatly improves the design review process.

The power of Jinolo extends beyond mere 3D CAD sharing. It establishes a hub where ideas, modifications, and improvements come to life through clear and effective communication. By seamlessly bridging the gap between design and feedback, it accelerates the design process, improving efficiency and reducing time to market.

Looking at the evolution of the 3D industry, platforms like Jinolo are primed to play a pivotal role. As more industries adopt 3D modeling and development, the need for easy collaboration and communication tools will surge. Whether it's refining a game design in real-time or prototyping an industrial machine part, Jinolo’s browser-based 3D collaboration can cater to a wide spectrum of industries.

By integrating Jinolo into their workflows, businesses can unlock new levels of productivity and innovation, transforming their ability to design, iterate, and deliver 3D solutions efficiently. Given these factors, it is clear that Jinolo is strategically positioned to thrive in a future where 3D collaboration becomes a standard industry practice. Its unique capabilities will not only cater to the current market needs but also adapt and evolve as the world becomes increasingly engrossed in the world of 3D.

Therefore, the launch of Apple's Vision Pro is undoubtedly a significant milestone in the evolution of personal computing. As spatial computing takes center stage, 3D developers and animators will be key players in shaping this exciting new landscape. The path is set for a surge in 3D development, animation, and collaboration, creating not just job opportunities, but an entirely new realm of interactive digital experiences. The world waits with bated breath to witness the creative marvels that will emerge from this spatial computing revolution.