October 25, 2023
Technology Trends

Meta Connect 2023: Unveiling the Comeback of AR and VR Tech

Meta Connect 2023: A Glimpse into the Next Era of AR and VR Technologies

The Meta annual Connect conference, which was held on September 27-28, unveiled a wave of technologies and products that have captured the tech world's attention. From cloud gaming on Xbox to Emu's image production capabilities and the introduction of Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses, this event has left us with plenty to explore. The launch of Meta's Quest 3, poised to compete with Apple's Vision Pro, marks a significant moment in the augmented reality and virtual reality landscapes. As we delve into these exciting developments, it's evident that 2023 will be remembered as a pivotal year for AR and VR technologies.

Image Credits: Meta

H2 - Game-Changing Technologies at Meta Connect 2023

There were a couple of new and interesting technologies presented on Connect, let’s briefly summarise them. Starting with cloud gaming on Xbox. The idea is quite simple - to support the newest version of the upcoming Meta Quest software. Launching in December 2023, a virtual display that can float in a mixed-reality or virtual environment may be a great way to spend time. 

Moving forward to Emu, the new base model for image production from Meta. It will enable users to quickly create distinctive AI stickers for use in Facebook Stories, WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram, and other Meta apps. Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses were also presented. With 12-megapixel cameras and the ability to stream the video to your friend, we believe $299 for standard lenses and $379 for transitions is quite expensive. Last but not least - Meta's Quest 3 is a headset with upgraded passthrough technology, higher-resolution screens, and better visuals. The new headset was supposed to become an Apple Vision Pro competitor and was launched on October 10. 

A Competitive Landscape: Meta vs. Apple in AR and VR Tech

Whatever happens, 2023 will undoubtedly be remembered as a turning point for AR and VR. Apple finally announced the Vision Pro after years of waiting for the field. Due to this, even more people were paying attention to Meta’s answer. 

Despite the hefty price tag of $3,500, Apple believes its product offers great features, including high-resolution all-through cameras, a powerful M2 chip, and sharper VR displays. However, the Vision Pro's weight and compatibility issues with glasses are a concern. The $500 Meta Quest 3 is already on the market. While it boasts a robust gaming ecosystem and is more affordable than Apple's offering, Meta aims to continue to lower prices for future models. Next year, the company plans to release a cheaper mixed reality headset similar to the Quest 3, but with less expensive components. This will reposition Quest 3 as a mid-tier offer.

Image Credits: Darrell Etherington

Behind the scenes, both companies are focused on improving their products. Apple's Vision Products Group is already working on next-generation models, exploring options for both a cheaper and more powerful version. Meanwhile, Meta's strategy involves segmenting its product line into cheap and powerful models that differ in augmented reality features. Apple and Meta are now on opposite ends of the spectrum, and it is true at this point. Although they both function as mixed reality gear, the price points are very different. Apple's decision to charge $3,500 for the Vision Pro, above even the Magic Leap 2, surprised many observers.

There is still a very obvious difference, even if we don't think anyone will honestly contest that the Quest 3's hardware is even somewhat comparable to that of the Vision Pro. Additionally, it highlights the significant audience difference. Mark Zuckerberg didn't have to directly highlight the conflict when he called the Quest 3 "the first mainstream headset with high-res colour mixed reality." Soon after the Vision Pro was unveiled, Zuck took an even bolder and more assertive stance, saying, "By contrast, every demo that [Apple] showed was a person sitting on a couch by themselves. That image of the future of computing might exist, but it's not the one I choose."

Undoubtedly, the Meta Quest was under development before the Vision Pro received official status. In light of this, it is impossible to identify any particular aspect of the new hardware that directly responds to Apple. On the other hand, Meta has been working in this industry for a while now. Ten years have passed since the company bought Oculus in March, and the ground issues are still existing.

Meta Quest 3 - Excellent Portal to Nothingverse

Despite all the hardware improvements Meta has made to Quest 3, the OS and UI are persistently out of date. Everything you own, whether it is installed or not, is listed in the order of most recent usage in your App Library tray, making navigation difficult and the organization still bad. Even basic features like the ability to divide apps into folders are not available, let alone more sophisticated options like alphabetical ordering or even separation by installation state.

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