The world still may not have found much use for or interest in the metaverse, but Mark Zuckerberg isn’t giving up on face-mounted computers just yet — especially not since Apple unveiled the Vision Pro headset earlier this year. The Meta (Nasdaq: META) CEO unveiled updated versions of two pieces of wearable hardware at the annual Meta Connect event on Wednesday: its virtual-reality headset and the smart glasses collaboration with Ray-Ban.
The Quest 3, which Zuckerberg called the the industry’s first “mainstream reality headset.” Zuckerberg is betting on a future where the physical combines with the digital world.
“The physical world around us is amazing. One of life’s great joys is being able to go outside and explore,” he said in his keynote address. “But our industry has been building up this digital world alongside it. People say, ‘The digital world isn’t the real world,’ but we really think the real world is a combination of the physical world we inhabit and the digital world we’re building.”
While the barrier of actually wearing a cumbersome device to get into that digital world is still an issue with the Quest 3, it is considerably lighter and slimmer compared to its predecessor. It also boasts enhanced memory capacity, and is powered by the Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 chipset for superior graphics performance.
The headset’s optics have also been upgraded, allowing for full-color pass-through video, a notable improvement over the grayscale pass-through of the Quest 2. The new version also features a slightly wider field of view and a new 4K “infinite display” that boosts resolution by nearly 30 percent. The spatial audio is louder, and the accompanying Touch Controllers offer improved haptic feedback.
Meta emphasized the popularity of games on the Quest platform and announced that 100 new games would soon be available in the Quest store, with over 500 titles already in its catalog, many of which will incorporate mixed reality elements.
The price for the device, which is set to ship on October 10, starts at $500 for the base model with 128 GB of internal storage, and $650 for 512 GB.
Meta also revealed its latest smart glasses, produced in partnership with Ray-Ban. Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses follows the Ray-Ban Stories which was released in 2021. The new smart glasses boast the following features:
- Custom-designed speakers with extended bass, higher volume, and improved directional audio, reducing audio leakage. The five-microphone array offers immersive audio recording for videos.
- 12 MP camera for better photos, and 1080p videos for up to 60 seconds. This is a leap, considering the first-generation model, the Ray-Ban Stories, took 5-megapixel images…in 2021.
- It also allows users to share photos directly with a voice command. Users can also do livestream to Facebook or Instagram and interact with comments, hands-free.
- Lighter, slimmer, water-resistant (IPX4), with an improved touchpad and faster responsiveness.
- Incorporates Meta AI, Meta’s answer to ChatGPT, for voice-controlled features (and so you can ask it questions) although this still seems to be still be in limited beta run.
The new smart glasses come in Wayfarer and Headliner styles, Matte Black, Shiny Black, and three transparent frame colors. Customizable with over 150 frame and lens combinations, including prescription lenses. They’re set to be released on October 17, starting at $299 for regular lenses, and $379 for transition lenses.
While neither device makes regular consumers feel that they need to have it now (or some time in the foreseeable future), they, particularly the smart glasses, show some promise as a nice-to-have, especially perhaps for content creators.
Information for this story was found via Meta, Reuters, Wired, The Verge, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.