CALIFORNIA (AFP): Meta chief Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday told employees that while Apple’s mixed reality gear may be nice, it is not his vision of the future, according to US media reports.
Zuckerberg’s comments came during the first all-hands gathering at its Silicon Valley campus since the pandemic, and just days after Apple unveiled Vision Pro mixed reality headsets.
“I mean, that could be the vision of the future of computing, but like, it’s not the one that I want,” Zuckerberg reportedly said while assessing what he has seen of Apple Vison Pro.
“There’s a real philosophical difference in terms of how we’re approaching this.”
Meta makes Quest virtual reality headsets and has invested heavily in Zuckerberg’s belief that internet life will one day play out in virtual worlds referred to as the metaverse.
“Our vision for the metaverse and presence is fundamentally social,” Zuckerberg said, according to a transcript of remarks posted by tech news website The Verge.
“By contrast, every demo that (Apple) showed was a person sitting on a couch by themself.”
Meta was so confident it could create the metaverse — an idea of a 3D immersive internet — that it changed its name from Facebook in 2021 and began funneling billions into the project.
But the idea has been hampered by botched launches, dodgy graphics, no clear path to profitability and a general feeling that few people know what it is.
Meta’s Reality Labs, the division helming its metaverse effort, has lost $4 billion so far and Zuckerberg has been increasingly talking up artificial intelligence rather than the metaverse.
Zuckerberg was quoted by CNBC as saying at the all-hands gathering that Meta planned to build generative artificial intelligence into “every single one” of its products.
Apple this week unveiled a sleek Vision Pro “spatial reality display” packed with technology and priced at $3,499.
Vision Pro is to be available early next year.
It allows users to communicate, work, watch movies, listen to music — and even choose whether to be immersed or to keep an eye on the outside world.
Meanwhile, a new-generation Quest 3 with improved performance and slimmed design will be available later this year at a starting price of $500.
Zuckerberg described the coming model as Meta’s “most powerful headset yet” and promised it would provide the best wireless way to experience mixed and virtual reality.
The starting price of Quest 2 headsets currently available was cut to $300.
Meta’s Quest headset has failed to break out from specialist users and gamers.
“We innovate to make sure that our products are as accessible and affordable to everyone as possible,” Zuckerberg was reported to tell employees.
“And we have sold tens of millions of Quests.”