The week in tech: Apple’s Vision Pro is finally launched, and Ireland as a hub for climate and crypto

A round-up of the week’s tech news, both at home and abroad

The biggest story in tech this week has to be the Apple Vision Pro. Launched at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference on Monday, the mixed reality – sorry, spatial computing – headset is expected to light a fire under an industry that has struggled to find its feet.

Apple has been working on the Vision Pro for the past few years and there was disappointment each time an event passed without even a glimpse of the headset. There is still some time to go before consumers will get their hands on the device, with an initial US launch pencilled in for early 2024.

Reaction to the Vision Pro has been mixed. While the markets had a muted reaction to the long awaited launch, and others were sceptical about the two-hour battery life, Karlin Lillington says it feels as if the Vision Pro could be as transformative as the iPhone once was.

That also seems to be the take of those who have already got to grips with the device. A hands-on of the Vision Pro impresses, although at more than $3,400 it is unlikely to be a mass market device – yet.


The announcement of the Vision Pro largely overshadowed the other announcements coming out of WWDC – namely the launch of iOS17 and iPadOS17, a couple of new Mac devices and the new M2 Ultra chip. Apple has gone all-in on its own silicon, and the lunch of the Ultra means the M2 line-up is now complete.

The decision to launch a headset puts the company in competition with Meta, which rushed to announce its headset in advance of the Apple event. The Meta Quest 3 is a step up from it predecessor, which is also getting a price cut to, according to Meta, make the technology more accessible to the wider public.

Elsewhere, AI security start-up Calypso announced it would open a centre of excellence in Dublin, doubling its workforce here in the next two years and marking Dublin as a major centre of operations for the company.

Skymetrix announced on Thursday that it was to buy Dublin-based Rainmaker Business Technologies for an undisclosed sum. The merger of the two companies will create a unified suite of solutions covering all big flight-related costs.

Could Ireland become a European crypto hub? Zodia Custody seems to think so. The Standard Chartered subsidiary said the EU’s move to implement new rules for the sector presents an opportunity for us.

Climate tech may also be about to get a boost, with the news that Just Climate has closed its inaugural fund. Al Gore’s climate organisation has raised $1.5 billion for its first fund, which it will use to back companies that could have an outsize impact on reducing emissions. And the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund is one of the founding investors, committing €65 million to the fund. Could this be another step in making Ireland a hub for climate tech?

There are plenty of initiatives trying to make that happen, including Dogpatch’s 2050 accelerator that aims to boost climate tech in Ireland and attract green enterprises to Ireland. Then there is Accelerate Green, the Bord na Móna-backed accelerator supporting enterprises to create sustainable businesses and focus on climate action.

We may value that extra boost in the years to come. Tech jobs cuts are forcing workers to come up with a plan B for their career, with almost two-thirds saying they are monitoring the employment market.

Speaking of plan B, it looks like Elon Musk may also need one. Despite announcing that Twitter advertisers have largely returned to his platform, it turns out that ad sales in the US have plunged by 59 per cent for the five weeks from April 1st to the first week of May. And what advertiser wouldn’t be spooked by what is perceived as a rise in hate speech and pornography on the platform?

It has been a decade since Edward Snowden blew the whistle on surveillance carried out by US agencies, but things haven’t changed much. In fact, surveillance technology today makes the 2013 version looks like child’s play.

If you are heading away this summer – or even just travelling in Ireland – this round-up of essential travel tech may help your trip go a bit smoother.

Also on the tech gear front is this week’s review, the 1More Aer earbuds. Lightweight and with decent noise cancelling, these buds won’t break the bank.

Sticking with gadgets, our phones are making us miserable, says Finn McRedmond, and we know it. So why are we so keen to embrace the same devices as a solution for our troubles, through digital therapeutics?

Cantillon, meanwhile, looks at the issue of AI. While we may all be fretting about the new technology eventually killing off humanity, it is more likely that AI will terminate low-paying jobs.

And finally, if you have had enough Cocomelon to last you a lifetime or are worried about the potential effect of an overdose of Maja and the Bear, this week’s How To shows you how you can block Netflix’s most irritating programmes in a couple of clicks.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist