Apple and Meta have already butted heads numerous times over the App Store and privacy, and the two are poised to become hardware competitors soon. As Apple readies its own AR and VR headset and glasses products, Meta is also aiming to release AR glasses as soon as 2024.
A new report from The Verge indicates that Mark Zuckerberg has grandiose ideas for the launch of these AR glasses, aiming for an “iPhone moment” when they are released.
Citing a former employee that worked on the project, today’s report indicates that Zuckerberg’s “ego is intertwined” with the development of these AR glasses. The source added that Zuckerberg “wants it to be an iPhone moment” when the AR glasses are released.
But despite this hope and the aggressive 2024 timeline, Meta is apparently far off from the AR glasses becoming a…reality. Today’s report from The Verge indicates that Meta doesn’t have a “working, wearable prototype” of the glasses, but rather only a “stationary demonstration that sits on a table.”
Despite already spending billions on developing its AR glasses, Meta internally has tepid sales expectations in the low tens of thousands for the first version, which will be aimed at early adopters and developers. A price point hasn’t been decided, but the device will certainly be pricier than the company’s $299 Quest VR headset, given that the AR glasses bill of materials is multiple thousands of dollars. The cost will test Zuckerberg’s willingness to subsidize the price of the hardware to encourage adoption — a competitive strategy intended in part to undercut the margins enjoyed by other players like Apple.
In addition to the higher-end AR glasses, internally referred to as “Nazare,” Meta is also developing a lower-end pair of AR smart glasses that are also slated for a release in 2024. “Meta hopes to be selling tens of millions of smart glasses towards the end of this decade,” the report says.
The full report from The Verge is well-worth a read, with a wide-range of details on Zuckerberg’s ambitious (unrealistic?) goals.
Meanwhile, Apple is planning its own AR and VR products, starting with a mixed reality headset that could be released as soon as next year. In fact, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said Apple hopes to “replace the iPhone with AR in ten years.” Whether or not Meta or Apple’s goals are rooted in reality remains to be seen.
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