Five Apple Vision Pro Cinema Environments that we'd like to see

in Apple Vision Pro

Apple will do what it will do, but there are some Cinema Environments that we'd like to see that would make our experience with the Apple Vision Pro more fun and fit the theme of the device. Here are AppleInsider's choices.

Why watch a movie when you can see your home, when you don't have to?
Why watch a movie when you can see your home when you don't have to?

Yes, we know that visionOS is new. It's so new that it still feels like a beta.

There are exactly two specific Cinema Environments to watch movies in Apple's movie player beyond the generic environments. And that's if you count the Mt. hood one which isn't exactly a theater. Mt. Hood at night can be used to view movies over the lake on a simulated 150 foot wide screen -- assuming you're in the environment before you start the movie.

Only two Cinema Environments is a shame. This is a golden opportunity for expansion of what is now the main reason to wear the device -- media viewing.

Sure, the Imax app has one, and the Disney+ app has a few, but these aren't universal, nor do they expand outside the apps in question.

When I asked about this in our Slack, I was given so many options by the staff. As Managing Editor, I executed fiat and picked my favorites. They'll probably be mad about it, but it's good to be the king.

On with the show!

Steve Jobs Theater

The most obvious one is Apple's own property -- the Steve Jobs Theater. It is the model of a modern theater with high-tech and classic theater-craft rolled into one building.

Yes, this is inside Keynote already, but it's not the same. It's great that you can practice presentations in it while wearing Apple Vision Pro, but we want more.

Steve Jobs Theater - debut event
Steve Jobs Theater - debut event

Steve Jobs Theater opened in 2017, shortly after the rest of Apple Park was completed.

The first event that it hosted was the debut of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X. The company has used it for nearly all of its release events since then.

This would be fun as a full Environment too, or perhaps an interactive experience, as the entire building is an engineering marvel.

The bridge of the Enterprise

The Roddenberry Archive has some pretty nice imagery now from assorted Star Trek bridges for Apple Vision Pro or your browser, but it isn't enough. We want a Cinema Environment.

The concept is simple. There's a viewscreen on every single bridge, right there, front and center. The user's position is equally obvious -- the Captain's chair. Pick your favorite Captain, there's at least one for every generation.

Captain Pike's bridge from Star Trek: The Original Series - image credit Roddenberry Archive
Captain Pike's bridge from Star Trek: The Original Series - image credit Roddenberry Archive

So much would have to line up for this to happen that we don't suspect it will ever (legally) arrive. There are unofficial 3D assets all over the internet, though, so it might be doable in an unofficial manner someday -- unless Apple considers Environments the same way that they do Apple Watch faces.

We're not fussy. Any incarnation from Star Trek will be fine and some of those viewscreens are huge. The Space Shuttle Enterprise or the US Navy carrier bridge would work too.

The ping of sensors or the thrum of the engines are musts, though. Make them a toggle-switch, though, because it might be distracting in quiet moments if that particular brand of ASMR doesn't work for you.

Sydney Opera House

There is perhaps no theater still standing that is more distinguishable at a glance than the Sydney Opera House. Right on Sydney Harbor, Australia uses its architectural style in much of its tourism branding for the entire country.

Sydney Opera House concert hall
Sydney Opera House concert hall

The 2,679-seat concert hall is the largest venue in the structure. The Joan Sutherland Theatre is a good choice, and the proscenium in the Drama Theater would be fantastic too.

The Muppet theater

Like some Star Trek bridges, this one is an oldie but a goodie. And, it's well within Disney's ability to do, given that they have the theater in Hollywood Studios in Orlando. It was one of the last things that Jim Henson worked on personally, so it's about as official as it can be.

In fact, I immediately looked for this theater on Disney+ during my initial trials with the device. I was disappointed that it wasn't there.

Muppet Vision 3D experience at Hollywood Studios, Florida - Photo credit Disney
Muppet Vision 3D experience at Hollywood Studios, Florida - Photo credit Disney

It's a theater, admittedly, probably most familiar to Generation X at this point. It's silly and would be so much fun to watch movies in, even if no animations or ambient noises are associated with it.

Kermit and company aren't strictly required to make an appearance. Statler and Waldorf are, though.

New York's Metropolitan Opera House

What do you need to say to sell an environment that's hosted such varied performances as Prokofiev's War and Peace, several performances from Robin Williams, the 16-hour Der Ring des Nibelungen, and the MTV Video Music Awards?

The Met is a New York icon and has been for more than a half-century. It's a huge cultural touchstone, boasting some of the most advanced stage features in the world.

The Met audience seating, from the stage
The Met audience seating, from the stage

The gold and burgundy theater seats 3,794, with many standing locations. The acoustics are amazing, with a deep backstage complex. What's not to like?

Now it's your turn -- what are your choices?

We don't normally call for user input because we know that you already have opinions. But this time, we are. What do you suggest for Cinema Environment expansions?

We'll feature some of the best suggestions in a future piece.

Read on AppleInsider


  • Reply 1 of 20
    No brainer would be a classic Drive-in theater environment. 
  • Reply 2 of 20
    Red Rocks Amphitheater would be a great environment.
  • Reply 3 of 20
    All of these theater options are great but a very simple feature that I’d like to see is the ability to watch my home movies (or photographs for that matter) in a theater. Right now I enjoy watching commercial content in a theater but I can’t find an option to do the same with the content I produce. 
  • Reply 4 of 20
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 3,198member
    I'd like to be able to scan an environment with the VP in 3D and immerse myself in it later. Even being able to pick a panorama from my photo library would be a nice touch.
  • Reply 5 of 20
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,861administrator
    cpsro said:
    I'd like to be able to scan an environment with the VP in 3D and immerse myself in it later. Even being able to pick a panorama from my photo library would be a nice touch.
    Yeah, I'm with you on this, and said something very similar to it on Twitter. I'm not certain what the range on the projectors are, but I've seen some pretty impressive stuff from developers that may bear fruit in the next few years.
  • Reply 6 of 20
    No brainer would be a classic Drive-in theater environment. 

    This. A thousand times this.
  • Reply 7 of 20
    The problem I have with the theatre experience is that it expects you to be sitting up straight, not lying down in bed which is how I often watch movies.
  • Reply 8 of 20
    Some classic LA theaters would be great, but I think the Los Angeles Theatre (the grandest one on Broadway) or a recreation of the Tower Theatre (since Apple owns it and surely has detailed documentation of the interior) are two great examples. A drive-in would be a perfect setting too. For crossovers with content an environment from Foundation or For All Mankind would be obvious ones in my mind. 
  • Reply 9 of 20
    Thinking beyond my single favorite cinema environment, I would like the movie player to automagically choose the best cinema environment for the movie I'm watching. This could add another dimension to immersive movie watching, allowing you to get into the right mood for the movie. Watching the Muppet show from a seat in the Hollywood Studios theater as described above is a great example. But I can easily imagine how watching the coming Neuromancer series from the perspective of a cyberpunk'ie underground hacker environment would enhance the watching experience …a lot. Not to mention watching a scifi movie from inside the International Space Station (ISS).

    When you start the movie, the movie player could gradually "fly" you to your watching position. Somewhat like a Sonoma screen saver seemlessly landing you on the desktop, instead of just fading in.
    edited February 29 byronl
  • Reply 10 of 20
    There never was and never will be a show as genius, multifaceted, detailed and unique as The Muppet Show. Thank you Jim Henson and Great Britain's ITV for giving us this show.

    I know this comment has nothing to do with the article but it had to be said. 
    edited February 29
  • Reply 11 of 20
    The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.
    Any slightly run-down, cheap, programme theatre from the 80s.
    A variety of 50's, quirky, or luxurious living rooms.
    Wembley Stadium, when it still had the towers.
    First Class airplane seat.

  • Reply 12 of 20
    badmonkbadmonk Posts: 1,293member
    great article, I want a 1976 era CBGB-like venue for my favorite bands.
  • Reply 13 of 20
    Aurora Borealis!!
    Eye of Aldhani — that crazy meteor storm from Andor
    Top of Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro
    The pantheon in Rome, or the colosseum, or the forum
    Iguazu Falls
    Times Square

  • Reply 14 of 20
    Radio City Music Hall in NY.  People used to go see the Rockettes and then a movie (or vice versa). Imagine doing an immersive spacial video of the Rockettes, and then being able to watch a movie in one of the largest movie theaters in the world.  This experience is no longer available today, but could be reproduced in the Vision Pro.
  • Reply 15 of 20
    rgh71rgh71 Posts: 125member
    The Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona is a lovely place with a gorgeous stained glass ceiling!

  • Reply 16 of 20
    egold44egold44 Posts: 16member
    Yes, when I experienced IMAX on AVP, I realized Christopher Nolan was wrong in 2017 when he said you will never be able to experience an IMAX theater in your living room.
  • Reply 17 of 20
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 1,767member
    Red Rocks Amphitheater would be a great environment.
    I came to say the same thing. It was the first place I thought about. 
  • Reply 18 of 20
    roxsocksroxsocks Posts: 22member
    Off the top of my head; Shakespeare's Globe theater and Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.

    But more out of the box:
    The top of the Empire State Building for NYCity's nightly skyline for that Batman or Spiderman brooding vibe.
    A cafe by the Eiffel tower.
    Horseshoe bend in the Grand Canyon
    By a campfire in 
    Serengeti National Park (can you imagine watching the Lion King here?!)
    Antartica with a bunch of penguins.

    Even more out of the box, and i'm thinking of a per-movie-special-release of "theaters":
    A spaceship!
    the Multiverse!
    Inside of Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen!
    Barbie's playhouse!
    White Sands National Park for Oppenheimer!
    The abyss for Aquaman!
    The rainforest for Predator!
    Desert of Namibia for Mad Max!

    Just some sick ass theaters to really get in the mood.
  • Reply 19 of 20
    XedXed Posts: 2,543member
    Lots of great ideas here. I was coming to specifically mention a drive-in theater but also with it not being a "real" scanned environment. Photo-realistic, but with the ability to swap out aspects, most notably the classic automobile in which you are sitting.

    Additionally, I wish all these environments allow you to share the experience with someone else wearing AVP next to you. What Quest has going for it is that it's social. AVP experience felt very isolating.
  • Reply 20 of 20
    XedXed Posts: 2,543member
    Maybe the weight is current an issue, but I feel like some good environments would be excellent Fitness+ yoga and Peloton biking. A whole room of stationary bikes or yogis, or outdoor environments for both.
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