Get ready to enter a whole new world of virtual reality, right from your web browser! Apple has announced its latest AR headset, Vision Pro, will support the WebXR standard, making it possible for developers to create and present virtual reality games and scenes through the browser without the need for additional software or plugins.
This is big news for all spatial devices, including Vision Pro, which means users can now experience virtual reality content within their web browsers. No more downloading and installing extra software to enjoy your favorite virtual reality games or visit museums and tourist attractions online. It’s all right there, in your browser!
And it’s not just Apple who’s supporting the WebXR standard. Multiple browser vendors outside of Apple, including Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge, and browsers on virtual reality headsets like Quest, Pico, and Magic Leap, have also been on board. This makes the WebXR standard more accessible than ever before, making it more convenient for virtual reality content development and dissemination.
Apple’s Safari browser on Vision Pro is a fully functional browser based on the same WebKit engine but with some special features for virtual reality. In addition to browsing regular web pages, Safari also supports the WebXR standard and the new “model” tag, which can be used to embed 3D models into web pages. This allows users to preview 3D effects of clothing, furniture, products, and other items on web pages, providing a way to enhance the web browsing experience using virtual reality technology.
Now, let’s talk about the development side of things. WebXR development abstracts a ton of components, which could be good or bad, depending on the use case. However, the vast ecosystem of components and rapid iteration cycles are compelling. Meta Quest2/Pro users can experience Spatial Fusion, a mixed-reality WebXR experience that uses the new plane-tracking and passthrough APIs.
These features are currently in developer preview and need to be manually enabled, but Apple plans to make them official features of Safari after working with the industry to improve the WebXR standard.