Alright, Apple. Pack it up, show’s over. Mark Zuckerberg just dropped a surprise announcement, unveiling the Meta Quest 3 virtual reality headset. The reveal comes just *checks calendar* four days before Apple is set to officially announce its high-end mixed reality headset. So much for Apple’s headset hype, I guess.
All kidding aside, Meta bought its way into virtual reality years ago through Oculus when Zuck’s company was still trading under the name Facebook. Meta certainly has more experience selling VR headsets and throwing VR parties than Apple – for now, at least.
Like the Meta Quest 2, the newly unveiled Meta Quest 3 is also in another universe when it comes to pricing. Apple’s “Reality Pro” headset is expected to carry a price tag of around $3,000. Meta’s higher-end Quest Pro goes for $999, and the new Meta Quest 3 is priced from $499.
You can’t blame Zuckerberg either. The Quest 3 was ripe for a reveal, and Apple is about to suck up all the mind space around headsets for a few months. His pitch?
The first mainstream headset with high-res color mixed reality. 40% thinner and more comfortable. Better displays and resolution. Next gen Qualcomm chipset with 2x the graphics performance. Our most powerful headset yet. Coming this fall.
Mark Gurman wrote about his experience with the then-unannounced Meta Quest 3 over the weekend in his Power On newsletter:
I went hands-on with a prototype version of the headset, trying to get a sense of how it may stack up against Apple’s device. I tried out the Quest 3’s interface, video pass-through mode, software features and gaming capability.
The device, codenamed Eureka, feels far lighter and thinner than the existing Quest 2 from 2020.
Overall, I came away impressed with the mixed-reality focus of the Quest 3, the much-improved video pass-through capabilities, the faster performance and the large content library. Assuming the device costs about $500, it would be about a fifth as much as the Apple headset — while being more than a fifth as compelling. With that in mind, I think the Quest 3 could make some noise this holiday season, especially as XR is top of mind for consumers.
For the Quest 3 curious, you can read Gurman’s first-run experience in his weekly newsletter for Bloomberg.
Meanwhile, if you need any more evidence that Zuck felt the pressure to come out ahead of Apple’s headset, the new Quest 3 isn’t actually launching until later this fall. Meta will have more to say on the new hardware at its Connect Conference at the end of September.
As for the rest of us, we can expect to see Apple’s long-awaited AR/VR “Reality Pro” headset in just a few days. Apple’s headset is also expected to ship no sooner than later this year, but it doesn’t sell a similar product that now seems outdated like Meta.