The WebXR standard will be supported by Apple’s next AR reality headset, Vision Pro, according to a major announcement made by the company at WWDC 2023. This demonstrates Apple’s commitment to delivering immersive virtual reality experiences through the browser, and is the first time the WebXR standard has received official support from the company.
A web standard called WebXR enables programmers to create and display virtual reality games and scenarios without the need for additional software or plug-ins. Vision Pro users simply put on the headset to access a panoramic virtual world through their browser and become fully immersed in immersive experiences. For example, students can visit museums and tourist attractions online or play music games such as Rhythm Saber.
With additional unique features designed specifically for virtual reality, Apple’s Safari browser on the Vision Pro headset is a full-featured browser based on the WebKit engine. Safari supports the WebXR standard and the new model> element, which allows 3D models to be embedded in web pages, in addition to standard web browsing. Apple plans to include these features as official parts of Safari after working with business partners to improve the WebXR standard, although they are currently in Developer Preview and require human activation.
Apple is not the only company to support the WebXR standard; Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Edge are just a few. Browsers for other virtual reality headsets such as Magic Leap, Pico and Quest also support the standard. The popularity and broad compatibility of the WebXR standard makes it easier to create and adopt virtual reality content.
In addition to supporting the WebXR standard, Apple is promoting the creation of the model> tag, a standardised technique for embedding 3D models in web pages. Using virtual reality technology, this capability allows users to see how many objects, including clothing, furniture and products, appear in three dimensions.