Meta's CTO is excited about Apple's headset
Meta has a virtual monopoly on VR headsets. Apple could attack this position. However, it first has to overcome an important hurdle.
For many years, we have heard rumors that Apple wants to launch a VR- and AR-enabled headset. Reports have been piling up since early 2021, and hardly a week goes by without new speculation about technical features, the planned launch, and product direction.
The hype and the constant stream of news are in stark contrast to Apple's continued silence. Ultimately, only Apple itself can create facts. Meanwhile, the company should be happy that so much free advertising is being done for a product that has not even been announced yet.
Bosworth: "Apple has to deliver first"
In a new Q&A on Instagram, the head of Meta's VR and AR division Andrew Bosworth takes a stand on Apple's presumed headset. Specifically, the question is whether Meta will be able to take on Apple's product despite weaker chips.
"I have to laugh about how often I get asked how I’m going to compete with a headset that hasn’t even released yet," says Meta's chief technology officer.
Bosworth speaks to the positive effects that Apple's entry into the market would have. "Look, I’m as excited as the next person to have more people in the VR space. I think it’s going to drive us even further than mainstream. It’s great for developers, but you know, they gotta ship first," Bosworth says.
Project Cambria: Expensive, but worth it
Bosworth addressed other questions. The most interesting statements are listed below.
- About VR headset battery life: Bosworth doesn't see it as a goal to develop a VR headset that lasts all day. People wouldn't spend all their time in virtual reality, but they'd be in and out of it all the time. Longer battery life is always better, he said, but you also have to consider the weight.
- On annual product launches: Meta plans to launch new hardware versions every 12, 18 or 24 months.
- On the mainstream success of AR headsets: Corresponding wearables probably won't be as ubiquitous as smartphones until the next decade. The challenges are technical and price-related
- About Project Cambria: The headset launches with VR controllers, contrary to rumors before.
- Bosworth confirms once again that Cambria will be expensive. He says the headset introduces a "tremendous amount of new technology" and involves "a lot of costs in new manufacturing techniques" that are "worth it".
- About Meta's VR business: Meta Quest 2, Bosworth confirms, does not have a very high-profit margin. That probably means the price of the VR headset is just above the cost of manufacturing. Most of Meta's money is made through the Quest Store, Bosworth says.
- About VR full-body suits: Bosworth doesn't think they'll ever catch on, unlike VR headsets. Visual and auditory stimuli made up 80 percent of the human experience, he says, and that's enough for Meta.