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All Immersive Experiences

Awe in Immersive Experiences

Established categories of computers—laptops, smartphones, tablets—are in a stasis, where they’re the best they’ve ever been but rarely that notable. Most startups are trying to execute well on ideas that aren’t very exciting, and many of the “exciting” ideas like web3 haven’t panned out. While VR isn’t new, the successive leaps in my experiences of Google Cardboard to HTC Vive to Apple Vision Pro over nearly a decade each awed me in new ways, from (somewhat) filling my field of view with low resolution on Cardboard to the stellar eye & hand tracking setup on Vision.

The original Planet Earth series was the first nature documentary filmed in HD. Then as I spoke about last week, Apple Immersive Video is one of the most breathtaking sights I’ve seen in years; it’s 180º, 8K 3D video, and can be filmed and/or CGI. It’s stunning, yet it’s not nearly the resolution needed to feel sharp when the video is filling your field of view. We’ll undoubtedly increase the resolution in future years, and this version will feel primitive.

Technology is never impressive on its own long term; we grow accustomed to it. The only way to make a truly memorable experience is story—especially pairing creative use of the technology with a compelling story. I still remember Planet Earth not because of the HD (which doesn’t hold up anymore), but because it immersed me in intense emotions with beautiful photography, using the best technology available. No matter what technology we use—HD, 3D, 8K—it’s about using whatever you can to get viewers to follow the emotional arc. That’s what they’ll remember. Lead with the story.