Apple and Meta are preparing to launch their mixed reality headsets – Vision Pro and Quest 3. However, both companies are already deep into the development of next-generation models, reports Mark Gurman of Bloomberg.
Apple Vision Pro, which is scheduled to be released early next year, has encountered problems during testing due to its weight, which puts strain on the user’s neck. The company is striving to make the device lighter and more comfortable.
Despite the high price tag of $3500, Apple believes its product offers great features, including high-resolution through-the-wall cameras, a powerful M2 chip, and clearer VR displays. However, the Vision Pro’s weight and glasses compatibility issues are a concern.
Apple is exploring solutions such as a headband, and is also working with Zeiss to create magnetically attached eyeglass lenses. The company is also considering the possibility of supplying custom-made headsets with pre-installed lenses, although this is fraught with challenges.
Meta Quest 3, priced at $500, will hit the market this month. Although it boasts a powerful gaming ecosystem and is more affordable than Apple’s offering, Meta aims to further reduce prices for future models. Next year, the company plans to release a cheaper mixed reality headset similar to the Quest 3, but with less expensive components.
This will reposition the Quest 3 as a mid-range offering, and a high-end replacement for the previously unsuccessful Quest Pro is also in the works. One of the cost-saving measures being considered is to sell the headset without hand controllers, relying instead on hand gestures.
Behind the scenes, both companies are focused on improving their products. Apple’s Vision Products Group is already working on the next generation models, exploring options for both cheaper and more powerful versions. Meanwhile, Meta’s strategy involves segmenting its product line into cheap and powerful models that differ in augmented reality features.
Meta is also collaborating with Ray-Ban on its second-generation glasses, which are scheduled for release this month. These glasses, while not having augmented reality capabilities, offer features such as photo and video shooting, phone calls, and music playback. A major upgrade with AR displays is expected in 2025.
In a broader context, Apple’s long-term vision may involve moving from mixed reality to standalone augmented reality, offering lightweight augmented reality glasses to enhance the user experience. Although Apple has previously stopped officially working on autonomous augmented reality glasses, there is speculation that the company may return to this project in the future.