Apple finally released its new headset Monday.
It sure seems a lot better than Meta's headset, if the marketing is to be believed.
But does anybody really want to put something like this on their face?
A couple of years ago, Meta (formerly known as Facebook) sent me a pair of Oculus VR goggles and handsets to try out and then to use to meet with executive Chris Cox.
The setup looked like this:
Lots of people have tried VR by now, and if you're one of them, you know it's a super novel, immersive experience that mostly gets real old real quick.
That's what happened to me.
Speaking to Cox that day was neat, but too strange to want to do again. He looked like a cartoon. He had no legs. I felt kind of dumb wearing the big plastic headset. The headset was heavy, and my neck started to hurt.
I felt claustrophobic and vulnerable to my surroundings because, wearing the goggles, I had no idea what was happening in the real world around me.
(I was also sitting in a windowed conference room at work, and knew that people were walking by and probably thought I looked like an idiot.)
On Monday, Apple announced plans to launch a competing product called the Vision Pro.
And wow, does it seem like it's a lot better than what Meta has been offering.
Before we get into why, I need to offer two caveats:
Apple says it's not selling this thing till next year. Tech companies have a long history of putting out really spectacular product demonstrations for software or hardware coming sometime in the future, that when it arrives, isn't quite as good as promised. That's not something Apple is known for doing a lot – but they've been guilty of it before.
Apple's gadget costs about four times as much as Meta's. So it needs to be a lot better.
But it really does seem like it will be a LOT better.
It's lighter. You can see through it when you want to. People can see your eyes while you use it. When you're in a video conference, you look like yourself, not a cartoon. It looks less like a giant plastic PC strapped to your face and more like the nicest ski goggles at a resort.
They're obviously marketing images, but check out how good this thing looks in comparison to the Meta one.
Here's Apple's Vision Pro…
Here's Meta's headset…
For me, the "you can see the person's eyes" thing makes a big difference.
Some other cool stuff the product will have, again, very much according to Apple and not based on any real-life testing of a real-life product…
It lets you see and interact with computer programs and digital content as if they're right in front of you, in the real world. This is instead of having to look at a traditional flat screen.
The glasses have really high-quality screens that make everything look super clear and crisp.
It has a 3D camera that can take pictures or videos that have a sense of depth, much like how we see the world with our own eyes.
You control the device using your eye movements, hand gestures, and voice commands.
If someone approaches you while you're using the device, it can show them what you're looking at, sort of like sharing your screen.
It has a security feature that identifies you by looking at your iris, the colored part of your eye.
You can use Apple's Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad with it if you prefer those for input.
The device creates an immersive sound experience that makes it feel like the sound is coming from all around you.
It's designed to be good for working, watching movies, playing games, and making video calls, with capabilities like making it feel like you have an infinite amount of screens to work on, turning any space into a personal movie theater, and making video calls feel more like being in the same room.
The glasses are made to be comfortable to wear and are made with high-quality materials.
In short, watching Apple's product reveal reminded me of watching Steve Jobs announce a product that would erase Blackberry and the PalmPilot from Planet Earth.
Except for one thing!
It's really unclear if anybody wants to put anything like that on their face. So far, there hasn't been much of a market for this type of device.
BlackBerry was a HUGE product and company with a massive fanbase before Apple vaporized it. Very few people own Oculus headsets.
So maybe that's why, even though Apple wiped the floor with Meta on Monday, Meta stock was down less than Apple's.
Read the original article on Business Insider