Coming Soon: Apple Immersive Video Film With Highlights of MLS 2023 Playoffs

Apple Newsroom, in a post announcing the kickoff of the MLS 2024 season:

Coming soon, all Apple Vision Pro users can experience the best of the 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs with the first-ever sports film captured in Apple Immersive Video. Viewers will feel every heart-pounding moment in 8K 3D with a 180-degree field of view and Spatial Audio that transports them to each match.

I speculated on the most recent episode of Dithering — which you should subscribe to! — that Apple’s immersive video sports coverage might not be for live events any time soon, but rather will be something akin to NFL Films and the heyday of HBO’s Inside the NFL. Which is to say, highlights presented in far better quality than what you see live. Sounds like that’s exactly what’s coming soon, at least.

Also, if you have a Vision Pro, go to the TV app and check out the “Experience Immersive” preview video. (Screenshot.) It’s a trailer with a slew of Apple Immersive Video clips that, mostly, aren’t yet available in full-length form. Swimming with sharks, flying over a city, all sorts of stuff. But most interesting to me are the two sports clips: a goal scored (sorry for the spoiler) in an MLS match, as seen from right behind and above the goal; and an error-scoring run in a Red Sox game at Fenway Park, as seen from the ground-level dugout behind first base. (Missing in action is the NBA clip Apple previewed for us in the media at WWDC last June.)

These aren’t simulating “good seats” at the live events — they’re simulating impossible seats. You can’t actually sit in the dugout at Fenway. You can’t sit right behind the goal, 15 feet up in the air, at an MLS match. I’m just vibrating in anticipation of Apple making sports footage like this available regularly. Even if we’re years away from being able to watch live sports in Apple Immersive Video, even just highlights after the fact should be mind-blowing. Back in the day, Inside the NFL was reason enough to subscribe to HBO if you were an NFL fan.

Wednesday, 21 February 2024