If you haven’t already heard, Apple, Valve, and HTC have all teamed up to bring VR to the Mac on macOS High Sierra. Using either an externally mounted graphics processing unit (eGPU) or using the adequately powered Vega GPU inside the iMac Pro, you can now be part of the VR/AR revolution whilst running Mac hardware and software.
You may know HTC as being makers of various smartphone products but it is also a pioneer in the burgeoning VR world. HTC had licensed technology from gaming company Valve to create the high-end VR display called the Vive. Continuing with their partnership, HTC is today announcing an upgrade to the Vive headset, the Vive Pro.
Vive vs Vive Pro
The Vive Pro is touting an upgraded resolution of 2880×1600 pixels and two front facing cameras. The original Vive by contrast sports an OLED display resolution of 2160×1200 pixels and only one front facing camera. On top of this, the Vive pro will also add built-in headphones to the system whereas the original Vive required the use of either third party headphones or the purchase of the deluxe audio strap add-on. As such, this isn’t an announcement of a second generation Vive as it is more of a refresh to the existing system.
It can use the same Base Stations (although it is version 2-compatible for up to four Base Stations) as the original Vive for tracking, so you can optionally buy the headset only and not the complete system. It will be available some time in Q1. No mention of pricing as of yet.
Wireless adapter incoming
HTC also announced is wireless adapter add-on using the WiGig spec that will make your Vive pro tether free coming in the summer of 2018. This is likely in response to third party wireless adapter add-ons such as the one from TPcast that have adapters for the Vive and the Oculus Rift. It is unclear if this will be Mac compatible at release but HTC has confirmed that it will run on the original Vive headset. Also no mention of pricing as of yet.
I have three VR headsets in my home. Will a welcome but limited bump in resolution be enough for enthusiasts to upgrade to? My feeling is that it’s doubtful. However, if you are in the market for a new VR headset and want the best resolution and tracking abilities available in VR Today, then the HTC Vive pro will be what you’ll want in 2018. Let us know your thoughts in the comments!