Apple Vision Pro vs. Meta Quest 3
After years of speculation, leaks, and anticipation, Apple has finally made its entry into the VR/AR world with the introduction of the Vision Pro headset at the WWDC keynote. This long-awaited product promises seamless integration with the Apple ecosystem and a strong focus on gaming. However, not to be outdone, Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta (formerly Facebook), took to Instagram a few days ago to tease the Meta Quest 3, the next iteration of their highly popular VR headset. While details about the Meta Quest 3 are scarce, it is expected to follow Meta’s established reputation for affordability and extensive ecosystem support.
Now, the question arises: if both headsets were placed side by side on a shelf, and you could only choose one, which should you buy? To make an informed decision based on your needs, let’s explore the available information about these two devices.
When it comes to VR headsets, several crucial factors come into play. Firstly, comfort is of utmost importance, as the headset should be suitable for a wide range of users. In terms of comfort, Meta has an advantage, as they have garnered more experience and received extensive feedback. Renders of the Quest 3 showcase a three-strap design that ensures a secure fit. The side straps hold the headset in place, while the top strap helps distribute the weight. Notably, the top strap is split in the back, allowing the headset to accommodate different head shapes and even accommodate ponytails. Moreover, Meta’s controllers are renowned for their ergonomic design, lightweight feel, and compatibility with various third-party accessories, providing users with an immersive gaming experience.
On the other hand, Apple may not have a long history of public hardware feedback for VR headsets, but their design expertise is unquestionable. Apple’s AirPods Max headphones, for instance, exemplify how they prioritize comfort despite a slightly heavier build. The Vision Pro headset follows suit, featuring an Apple Watch-style crown for occlusion control, Zeiss lens inserts for those with prescriptions, and a two-sided strap with a wide angled pad at the back for head support. While Apple has not demonstrated the use of a third top strap in their presentations, it may offer additional customization options.
In terms of design, Apple’s Vision Pro headset boasts a thin profile due to its glass front and aluminum frame, which helps reduce overall weight. Comfort may be a positive aspect for many users considering this headset. Unlike Meta’s Quest 3, the Vision Pro relies solely on eye tracking and hand gestures for its interface. However, Apple showcased its compatibility with a wireless PS5 controller for gaming purposes.
Battery life is a crucial consideration for both headsets. Meta has a history of releasing battery accessories to extend the usage time of their headsets, but the expected battery life for the Quest 2 and Quest Pro is around two hours. It is likely that the Quest 3 will offer a similar duration. Apple’s Vision Pro headset claims a battery life of two hours when connected to the tethered battery, and it is anticipated that Apple or third-party companies will offer battery extenders. As the capabilities of these headsets expand with features like Meta’s full-color cameras for AR functionality and Apple’s focus on non-gaming applications like FaceTime, the average time spent in VR headsets is expected to increase.
In terms of processing power, both headsets have notable specifications. Meta has collaborated with Qualcomm to deliver increased performance while maintaining battery efficiency, with the XR2 Gen2 chipset promising double the performance compared to the Quest 2. Apple, known for its powerful chipsets in phones and tablets, will equip the Vision Pro with the new Apple M2 processor and a specialized chip called the R1. This combination is expected to provide substantial computing power for the headset’s cameras. While raw power is essential, the true test lies in how developers can leverage this performance to deliver compelling experiences.
In conclusion, when deciding between the Meta Quest 3 and Apple’s Vision Pro headset, it’s crucial to consider factors such as comfort, ecosystem support, battery life, and processing power. Meta’s extensive experience in the VR market, ergonomic controllers, and affordability make it an attractive option. Conversely, Apple’s design expertise, emphasis on comfort, and powerful processors contribute to the appeal of the Vision Pro. Ultimately, the choice depends on your specific preferences, budget, and the kind of experiences you seek in the VR/AR realm.
Ecosystem: The Ever-Expanding Virtual World
In the realm of virtual reality, the landscape is constantly evolving and expanding, with each major player striving to create the most captivating experiences for users. One such contender is the Quest 2, a headset that has garnered widespread acclaim due to its extensive library of exceptional games. Among these notable titles is Moss 2, developed by Polyarc, an enchanting game that immerses players in a rich and imaginative world.
However, the success of a virtual reality platform is not solely dependent on the capabilities of its hardware. It is equally crucial for the platform to offer a wide array of compelling applications and experiences. When we consider the grand scale of the mobile app stores curated by tech giants like Apple and Google, it becomes evident that the virtual reality market is still relatively niche. These app stores boast millions of applications that cater to a vast global audience. In comparison, Meta’s App Store, designed for its headsets, currently features “thousands” of apps, with the Quest 2 section expected to reach a milestone of 500 apps later this year. This signifies ample space for competition and growth within the virtual reality domain.
To ensure a thriving ecosystem of apps and games, Meta (formerly known as Facebook) has dedicated significant effort and investment to its platform over the years. In 2021, they announced a $10 million Creator Fund, aimed at fostering development and innovation. As of now, a third of the apps in Meta’s app store have generated over $1 million in revenue, underscoring the potential for developers to succeed within this realm. Among these apps, games reign supreme, spanning various genres from adrenaline-pumping action titles like Beat Saber to captivating interactive stories such as Moss 2. Additionally, the virtual reality space offers opportunities for immersive horror experiences like The Room VR, as well as educational and exploratory ventures, enabling users to venture into museums and encounter awe-inspiring destinations they may never have the chance to visit physically. With the forthcoming Quest 3, the possibilities for engaging experiences are boundless, leaving users spoiled for choice when they ask themselves, “What should I do next?”
While Meta is actively nurturing its virtual reality ecosystem, another tech powerhouse has emerged on the scene with its own compelling vision. Apple, renowned for its innovation and user-friendly products, showcased intriguing concepts during its WWDC keynote. In its bid to entice developers, Apple emphasized the potential for creating unique experiences on its headset. However, even without extensive third-party contributions, Apple’s offering stands strong right out of the box.
Apple’s primary focus is seamlessly extending the apps users already know and love from their iPhones into the immersive world around them. This means that if you desire a large display to watch your favorite shows or engage in a meditation exercise, the Apple headset can deliver. Moreover, Apple aims to position its headset as a viable work tool, integrating key apps like Notes, Keynote, and Safari to serve as a replacement for or complement to traditional monitors. Gaming enthusiasts can enjoy a selection of around 100 Apple Arcade games, which can be played using a standard gaming controller, mirroring the experience one would have with an Apple TV. However, it’s worth noting that Apple’s immersive gaming offerings may not be as extensive as those available on other virtual reality headsets.
As the virtual reality landscape continues to evolve, Meta and Apple are engaged in a fierce competition to shape the future of this ever-expanding ecosystem. With Meta’s commitment to a flourishing library of apps and games, coupled with Apple’s focus on seamlessly integrating existing apps and utility, users can look forward to a vibrant and captivating virtual reality experience that pushes the boundaries of technology and imagination.
When considering which headset to buy, price becomes a crucial factor in the decision-making process. Let’s delve into the details. Meta’s Quest 3 is priced at $500, but if you desire additional storage or accessories for enhanced battery life, the cost can easily rise to $600 or even more. Anticipated to hit the market in the fall, this headset is expected to offer a multitude of engaging activities and opportunities for social interaction, particularly if you enjoy playing with friends. Meta has been teasing exciting possibilities, especially with regards to the passthrough cameras in AR and hand-tracking modes. Building upon the Quest 2, which was hailed as the top VR headset by Stein in his review, the Quest 3 represents an impressive upgrade and will be available months ahead of its competitors.
On the other hand, Apple’s Vision Pro presents a truly unique way to experience the Apple ecosystem as it currently stands. It boasts an elegant appearance and a plethora of features that ensure you remain aware of your surroundings when necessary. Undoubtedly, it is the most advanced headset available to date. However, as an AR headset offering something distinct, Apple is banking on developers to contribute to its success. With a hefty price tag of $3,499, Apple needs to demonstrate what sets the Vision Pro apart from its competitors before its launch in 2024.
In conclusion, the decision between the Meta Quest 3 and Apple Vision Pro ultimately boils down to your budget, preferences, and the specific experiences you seek. While the Meta Quest 3 offers an immersive VR experience with a more affordable price point and an earlier release, the Apple Vision Pro promises unparalleled sophistication and integration within the Apple ecosystem, albeit at a considerably higher cost.