Apple has finally confirmed the widespread rumors about their own headset by announcing the Vision Pro augmented reality (AR) device, which can also offer virtual reality (VR) experiences. This puts Apple in direct competition with Facebook’s Meta, which is currently leading in the VR/AR consumer headset space. Last week, Meta announced its plans to launch a new Quest 3 headset later this year that will offer AR and VR features at a lower price compared to Apple’s Vision Pro.
While full specifications for both devices are still unknown, we know that the Apple Vision Pro will sell for $3,499, higher than the expected $2,000-$3,000 price target. This price point will ensure that only tech-savvy early adopters jump in early, which isn’t an unusual approach for Apple. Conversely, Meta is sticking with its consumer target for the main Quest line with Quest 3 starting at $500 or one-seventh of the price of the Vision Pro.
• Design and hardware
The design and hardware of both headsets differ significantly as well. The Vision Pro has all kinds of cameras and sensors that not only enable passthrough functionality for augmented reality but go further with an external screen showcasing expressions of the wearer from inside the device – something unseen before in previous VR and AR headsets. Meanwhile, while Quest 3 enables full-color augmented reality passthrough using external cameras and depth sensors, it does not have an external screen to showcase your face while wearing it.
Regarding displays, both devices’ specs aren’t official yet. However, Apple says their twin internal displays provide each eye a better-than-4K resolution image. The Quest 3’s screen is crisper than its predecessor’s but still falls short of 4K resolution per eye.
When it comes to software and content, there’s another considerable difference between these two devices as well: gaming capability. The Reality Pro intends to be a spatial computer for productivity and entertainment while the Quest platform already has a load of immersive VR games. The VR games on Quest should only run better on Quest 3, but Meta is also showcasing plans to develop AR games that work on the headset.
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In conclusion, while it’s early to draw any valid conclusions because we don’t have a full list of specifications for both headsets, it’s clear that these are two different riffs on the same core idea – mixed reality. Both can be used as productivity devices for accessing apps and websites, as well as for viewing movies and TV shows in virtual settings. Apple’s Reality Pro headset is bleeding-edge tech with flashy features, greater power, what appears to be a higher-resolution screen, and access to Apple’s vast software ecosystem. On the other hand, Meta’s Quest 3 offers meaningful upgrades over the strong Quest 2 at a much lower price point.