Decrypt’s Art, Fashion, and Entertainment Hub.
Apple is widely rumored to be announcing a mixed-reality headset at its annual WWDC event keynote next Monday, and Meta apparently hoped to get in front of the expected news, today revealing that its own Quest 3 mixed-reality headset will be released this fall.
The Meta Quest 3 is the successor to the social media giant’s popular Quest 2, and is similarly a self-contained headset that doesn’t require a PC, console, or smartphone to operate. The new headset boasts a 40% slimmer body than the Quest 2, plus double the graphics power and a higher-resolution display to pump up the immersive experiences.
However, the biggest shift may come from the move from a primarily virtual reality (VR) headset into a full-fledged mixed-reality device that’s built for augmented reality (AR) experiences as well. AR apps and games overlay digital elements onto your real-world surroundings via the headset’s screen, using outward-facing cameras.
Introducing Meta Quest 3.
Coming this fall. Sign up for updates at: https://t.co/gt8P9KkNsd
— Meta Quest (@MetaQuestVR) June 1, 2023
The Quest 2 only had black-and-white passthrough cameras to help wearers navigate their surroundings, but the Quest 3—like last year’s pricier Quest Pro headset—will feature full-color vision to enable such AR games and experiences.
However, the Quest 3 will be more expensive as a result. It will start at $499.99 for a model with 128GB of internal storage, per Meta, with a higher-capacity model also available.
The Quest 2 was priced at $399.99 until today, but now has dropped to $299.99 with the new model on the horizon. Meta originally launched the Quest 2 at that price, but then raised it by $100 last July. The Quest Pro debuted at $1,499.99 last fall, but the price was quickly cut to $999.99 following middling reviews and apparently limited demand.
Still, the $500 Quest 3 price point could be dramatically cheaper than Apple’s expected headset, which will reportedly be a high-end device that analysts and reporters have pegged at a price point around $3,000.
The so-called Apple Reality Pro headset, rumored to also release this fall, will reportedly use the powerful M2 processor from Mac computers. It's rumored to feature a combined 8K resolution across two screens—one per eye.
Mixed-reality headsets are expected to be a key way for people to enter the budding metaverse, or a more immersive internet with interactive avatars across shared 3D spaces. Meta has been vocal about its vision for the metaverse while Apple has yet to officially share its plans, although it has been building AR functionality via iPhones and iPads for years.
Meanwhile, Web3 creators are building towards a potentially different vision of the metaverse that’s defined by interoperability—in other words, NFT-based assets representing things like avatars and apparel, which are fully owned by users and can be used across various online spaces. It’s still unclear whether tech giants like Meta and Apple will support that aim.