Spatial Persona on Vision Pro changes the game – Six Colors

Now that’s more like it.

Spatial appears above the red Leave button.

On Tuesday, Apple flipped the switch on a new version of Persona, its 3D representations of visionOS users. Anyone with visionOS 1.1 or later now has the option to enable the spatial option when they make a FaceTime call with another visionOS user. (To enable a spatial Persona during a call, tap on the Persona tile and select the spatial icon right above the red Leave button.)

When you enable the Spatial Persona, everything changes. The box disappears, and instead, that person is just… inhabiting your space with you. Except as a ghost? The Persona itself is still hazy (there’s no back side) and mostly head, shoulders, and floating hands. And yet, somehow, by placing it into 3-D space, it seems more real.

I was able to invite my friend Stephen Hackett’s Persona over to my house for a play date and we were able to chat face to face in a way that just seemed more natural than talking to a persona in a box. It felt more like it was him.

Stephen Hackett haunts my iMac G4 and my Kallax.

And then I enabled SharePlay, and things got even wilder. I opened a Freeform board and shared it using Shareplay, and visionOS updated our locations so that we were both looking at the board together, side by side. The system kept our relative positions to each other and to the content consistent, so we were seeing the same stuff in the same places. (When I moved the Freeform window, the system also moved Stephen’s Persona. And when he moved the window, the window and his persona shifted in my space.)

After we had done enough damage in Freeform, we moved on to Game Room, where he beat me at Battleship. I kept peeking around the corner to see him playing at his side of the board. He sank my battleship!

Then we moved on to the TV app, where I used SharePlay to watch part of an episode of For All Mankind. When I used the app put myself in a virtual environment, Stephen also entered the environment. He could see when I moved us from the Moon to Apple’s (oddly chair-free) movie theater setting, and even as I adjusted our location in the theater. He was also able to drop out of the virtual environment and return to it on his own. But from my perspective, he was sitting next to me and chatting as the video played.

Personas and SharePlay have been available on visionOS from day one, but combining them in this way just feels different. And apparently the feature supports up to five participants simultaneously! I can’t wait to try that out.

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