Apple is taking advantage of a recent iOS feature called AR Quick Look to allow potential customers to see the company’s new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR at scale in augmented reality right from Apple.com on an iPhone. The ease of use, rendering, and tracking quality make it surprisingly compelling.

While no one is going to care enough to check out a 3D model of a new pair of socks before hitting the buy button, big purchases are an entirely different story. And Apple’s new Mac Pro certainly qualifies as a big purchase, starting at a cool $6,000. And while I won’t be picking one up for myself any time soon, I did get to see the product sitting in my own home thanks to an iOS AR feature.

AR Quick Look is included with iOS 12 and later, and is effectively a simple AR viewer for 3D models in Apple’s .usdz format. The feature is built into some of the native iOS applications, including Safari, which can be made to download and display .usdz files in AR with the simple click of a link.

Apple itself is leveraging ARKit and AR Quick Look to let you see the new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR up close. If you navigate to the Mac Pro page on Apple.com with a supported device, you’ll see a link that says ‘See Mac Pro in AR’. Click this and you can pull up an impressive rendering of the product and place it right in your room.

While this is surely novel, it also uniquely useful; it’s a great way to actually see the Mac Pro at its true size—something quite helpful in a world of increasingly sight-unseen online purchases. Indeed, I was surprised to find that both the Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR were both considerably larger than I originally thought. Were I buying one for myself, I would have quickly realized that the Mac Pro would be better off on my floor than trying to squeeze onto my desk.

Not to mention being able to look at things from any angle (if I had a nickel for everytime a computer product page didn’t have a photo showing all the ports on the back…).

Between tracking and rendering, Apple has done a rather convincing job in the AR department. ARKit estimates scene lighting, and then bounces simulated light and color convincingly off the aluminum body of the computer. A physically-based rendering approach makes the lightning and reflections change as I walk around the virtual object. In addition to casting shadows onto the surface, in the case of the Pro Display XDR, I even saw light from the display reflected onto the table.

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I’m not going to lie… when I was capturing the videos for the article, there were two separate occasions where I looked up from my phone and for a split second wondered where the computer that was just on my table had gone.

Beyond just showing what a product looks like and how big it is, this approach could also be used to show features and other selling points directly to the customer which could boost sales, especially for complex and expensive products. It would have been very cool to see how the Mac Pro case slides off to expose the inner components. In this case, these models have no animations, and it doesn’t sound like animations are well supported with the .usdz format at this time, but it does seem like a natural next step.

Beyond that, it’s the form-factor of the AR device that will really push this sort of AR use-case from novel to expected—with always-on headsets, it’ll be significantly faster, easier, and more immersive to view virtual objects inside your real world.

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  • impurekind

    Man, Apple’s some of products are getting kinda ugly.

    • Massimo Depero

      I totally agree

    • Ellie 187

      You don’t like the cheese grater look? lol I don’t think I could drop 6k on this hot mess. I’ll stick with my custom built PC

    • Jim Hall

      The old cheese grater design was nice. This thing is butt ugly.

  • MW

    Users don’t need new hardware, because development of hardware slowed down in recent years, so monsters like Apple are trying to sell 10usd worth monitor stand for 1000usd.
    Ohh-and you can see that in AR:)

    P.S. MacPro is so not worth the money…

    • Ellie 187

      Agreed… and I like some apple products.. my favorite laptop was a MacBook air…. best little laptop I’ve ever bought… but I could never shell out $6k on a fully loaded one… another 5k for the monitor and 1k for the monitor stand … Apple is really confident their customers have more money than sense… maybe they are correct

      • VR-Astro

        I can configure a PC workstation that would cost twice what this Mac Pro costs. Those who need a machine with this kind of horsepower know what they are doing. Workstations are meant to do real work, usually tasks that your custom PC would not even be capable of attempting.

        • MW

          Really? Tell me- what PC you will configure for 12 000usd exactly?

          And in what way PC with newest i7 and 2x2080ti is worse than this MacPro?? Ohh-and it is cheaper:)

          • VR-Astro

            Go to any workstation pc company and configure a top system. For example, a Boxx D-Class system maxed out will be over $90K. Of course that’s a bit extreme, but if you do the kind of work that requires that kind of system for you business, it makes sense. An i7 is not at the same level as a high-end Xeon.

          • MW

            If you talking about hardware needed by couple hundreds companies in the country- ok. But Mac pro is not that kind of niche-tech. It should be available for medium and small business too. And it is just too expensive for that.

          • VR-Astro

            My original point was more about making unfair comparisons between consumer PCs and workstation PCs, especially when it comes to price. While the Mac Pro is expensive, I’m glad that Apple at least provides the option for those who may need it. Waiting roughly six years to update the trashcan is something they should be embarrassed about. While I still use my trashcan on a daily basis, my latest workstation I have switched to Windows because most Mac Pro users couldn’t wait any longer. Maybe the reason they waited so long was because it would take this long to save up enough to buy one of these new beasts. Still no Nvidia (CUDA) option will still turn off a lot of buyers, including myself.

  • Lucidfeuer

    You’re really must be a dumb fuck to buy these, in fact more and more professional I know have stopped working with people who work on Mac Pro, I can’t take them seriously either.

    • Ellie 187

      Mac users arrogance is the worst part…. elitist snobs .. Apple is selling this thing for $6k fully loaded… based on the specs, you can build your own for $3k … I don’t think their styling commands a $3k upcharge

      • Jim Hall

        $6K is bare minimum. Fully loaded this will top out well over $20K. You can’t compare this to a consumer PC though, this is a workstation class computer. Configure a PC workstation with similar specs and they won’t be too far different. Of course you’ll pay the Apple tax.

        • planter

          huh?

          “Configure a PC workstation with similar specs and they won’t be too far different.”

          contradicts

          “You can’t compare this to a consumer PC though, this is a workstation class computer. “

          • Jim Hall

            Reads clear to me. The Apple Mac Pro is a workstation, most will compare this to a consumer PC. To be fair, you need to compare it to a PC workstation. Price won’t be too different.

          • planter

            whos the target? bill gates?

          • Jim Hall

            Yes. Bill Gates prefers MacOs over Windows. :)

        • JustNiz

          > You can’t compare this to a consumer PC though, this is a workstation class computer.

          I’ll bet that most mac pro owners won’t do anything more with it than a consumer PC could easily manage.

          • Jim Hall

            I’d love to see a consumer PC that can handle up to 16 streams of 4K ProRes 422. I know it’s super expensive, but the thing is a beast of a computer. I doubt your average iPhone/Mac user is going to be buying one of these.

          • JustNiz

            I agree that is impressive, however how many mac pro customers do you think would really need/use that? The GPU options are dissapointing too, being AMD only.

      • JeffyJames1

        Here’s a HP workstation with similar specs:
        Windows 10 Pro 64 – HP recommends Windows 10 Pro

        HP Z8 G4 Workstation

        Intel® Xeon® Gold 6128 Processor (3.4 GHz, up to 3.7 GHz w/Turbo Boost, 19.25 MB cache, 2666MHz, 6 core)
        HP Z8 G4 90 1125W Chassis 100V/15A
        32 GB (2×16 GB) DDR4-2666 ECC Registered Memory (1 Processor)
        Operating System Load to SATA/SAS
        256 GB SATA 2.5″ SSD
        No integrated Graphics
        Base – 4 x USB 3.0 Type A
        HP Remote Graphics Software (RGS) for Z
        No included Optical Disc Drive
        No Included Keyboard
        No Included Mouse
        No Adapters Needed
        HP Z8 Standard Cooling Solution – 1 Processor
        3/3/3 year (material/labor/onsite) Warranty
        Single Unit (Tower) Packaging / HP Z8 G4 1125W Country Kit

        That comes out to $6403.20.
        The cpu is a bit lower than the one in the base Mac Pro, and it also doesn’t include the videocard, keyboard and mouse that comes with the new Mac Pro.
        But yeah, it’s just mac user arrogance and elitist snobs.

  • Ellie 187

    yeah with a 3k starting price and 6k fully loaded…. and another 5k for your monitor, but if you want the monitor stand too, you are being charged another 1k

    fully decked out Apple Mac Pro plus monitor and stand is a whopping $12k … deep pockets here.

  • Rosko

    Nice toaster where can i gt one?

  • Ted Joseph

    Wow. I am more impressed at the visual quality of the AR. If Apple can pull this off with a comfortable pair of sunglasses and reading glasses; at a wide FOV, and high res like this video, it is a day 1 purchase for me…

    • Jerald Doerr

      Oh there working on it……..

  • phlam

    Notice how nicely it captured the scenes reflections for the item. nothing terribly new, but great execution.

  • Jerald Doerr

    Why buy a mac when you can just run one in AR… Crap who needs a computer????

  • JustNiz

    6 grand? that’s insane. As is paying $999 for a monitor stand.

  • ARKit is really an amazing framework, maybe the best for mobile AR

  • These are like the Porsche products for the Mac operating system. I would love the machine and the monitor to be honest but I do not have that much disposable income to justify it. My trashcan and TB display still have some life left it seems.