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Apple’s Vision Pro Headset Reignites Interest in AR/VR Space

The launch of Apple Inc's Vision Pro headset has sparked interest in the virtual and augmented reality (AR/VR) industry, following a slowdown in funding leading up to the launch. Investors had been hesitant to invest in the AR/VR sector without clear signals from industry leaders.

The Vision Pro headset is positioned by Apple as a “mixed reality” device that could usher in a new era of spatial computing. The company expects the Vision Pro to have a revolutionary impact on the AR/VR industry similar to what the iPhone did for mobile computing.

In June, AR/VR and mixed reality start-ups in the U.S. raised $208 million in funding, the highest in the past 12 months. Despite its high price tag of $3,500 and an uncertain release date, investors are focusing on the market validation that Vision Pro provides.

Start-ups in various industries are benefiting from this renewed interest in AR/VR. For example, Augmedics, an Illinois-based start-up, secured $83 million in funding to develop tools that assist surgeons in navigating spinal instruments during operations. Luminopia, a Massachusetts-based company that creates therapeutic visual stimuli, raised $16 million in late June.

However, some analysts are cautious and advise the AR/VR industry to not solely rely on Apple's success. The AR/VR industry has faced challenges and failures in the past, as seen with other industry giants like Google discontinuing its smart glasses project.

Overall, the launch of Apple's Vision Pro headset has revitalized the AR/VR space, attracting investor attention and driving funding for start-ups in various sectors. While Apple's success is a positive signal, continued growth in the AR/VR industry will require more than just one company's innovation and success.