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Is Apple VR headset better than Meta Quest? Here is what we know so far.

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The anticipation for Apple’s AR/VR headset continues to intensify as its expected unveiling at WWDC 2023 looms closer. Among those seemingly impressed by the mixed-reality wearable is Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey, whose recent Twitter post suggests a strong positive outlook on the device.

 

In his succinct yet telling tweet, Luckey stated, “The Apple headset is so good”. Despite not providing further details regarding his assessment of Apple’s headset, a subsequent comment implied that he possesses a degree of first-hand familiarity with the device.

When probed about his Apple contacts’ “high confidence” in the upcoming product, Luckey responded affirmatively, though he refrained from disclosing whether he’d had an opportunity to extensively test the AR/VR headset. The device, rumored to be named either the Apple Reality One or Apple Reality Pro, has been a subject of much speculation.

 

Though it would be rash to draw substantial conclusions from such a brief, casual statement, it does carry weight coming from one of VR’s foremost pioneers. Luckey’s remarks resonate with his previous insights on VR headsets, and his reputation as one of the tech industry’s leading innovators of the 2010s endorses his opinion.

 

In 2018, Luckey posited that the obstacle to widespread VR adoption was not cost but rather “quality of experience”. He advocated for “better hardware, broader content, and a deep understanding of how to best interface with a human perceptual system that varies significantly across age, gender, and race”.

 

In the subsequent years, Meta (formerly Facebook) has made noteworthy progress in these areas, having sold nearly 20 million Quest headsets to date, as per a leaked internal Meta presentation obtained by The Verge.

 

However, these impressive numbers belie issues with sustaining Meta Quest users’ interest in the VR headset post-purchase. As per the leaked presentation, Meta’s VR vice president allegedly informed employees that recent Quest purchasers were not as enthusiastic or engaged as their earlier counterparts.

Apple’s AR/VR headset could potentially address these issues that Luckey hinted at previously. However, the possible detriment to this improved user experience might be a hefty price tag, with expectations placing the headset’s cost around $3,000 / £2,200 / AU$4,400.

 

Expected to integrate experiences from existing apps like GarageBand and Logic Pro, the Apple AR/VR headset could offer a range of immersive activities, from fitness workouts to games and innovative ways to watch television.

 

Despite some reported production challenges potentially limiting initial availability, the Reality One or Reality Pro seems to be on course for its much-anticipated debut at WWDC 2023. Whether it can deliver an experience akin to the “full-dive virtual reality experience that is absolutely indistinguishable from the most thrilling lucid dream”, as Luckey described in a previous blog post, is yet to be seen. Given the projected cost, it will certainly need to approach this benchmark.

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