The world of augmented reality (AR) has been rapidly evolving, capturing the attention of tech giants and consumers alike. Apple and Meta (formerly Facebook) have emerged as key players in this space, with their respective AR initiatives. However, recent developments sparked debates over whether Apple’s entry into the AR realm poses a threat to Meta’s dominance.
For years, Meta has been at the forefront of AR development with its Oculus VR platform and augmented reality glasses, Project Aria. With a strong focus on building the metaverse — an immersive, shared virtual space — Meta has been positioning itself as a key player in the future of AR and social interaction. The company’s vision for the metaverse includes seamless integration of virtual and physical worlds, where people can work, play, and connect across devices.
While Meta has been making significant strides in the AR space, Apple has also been quietly building its AR capabilities. The tech giant has been investing in AR technology for years and has released several products that incorporate AR, such as the ARKit framework and AR capabilities on iPhones and iPads.
Towards the end of their WWDC (WorldWide Developer Conference) 2023 keynote, Apple made a groundbreaking announcement regarding the Vision Pro, a completely innovative product category spearheaded by a Mixed Reality headset that introduces the concept of “spatial computing” surpassing the capabilities of laptops and smartphones.
Apple Vision Pro revolutionizes your surroundings into a fully functional computing device. Its capabilities encompass work, entertainment, movie-watching, 3D content viewing, video calls with friends and family, and access to every app from the App Store. The possibilities are truly limitless with the Vision Pro, making it an extraordinary device. The WWDC live stream dedicated nearly an entire hour to unveiling its features, underscoring its paramount importance to Apple’s future.
According to Tim Cook’s vision of the future, the Vision Pro supersedes traditional computing devices entirely. Gone are the days of laptops, phones, watches, or even VR controllers required to interact with the digital realm. Apple Vision Pro encompasses the functionalities of your laptop or desktop, enabling tasks like presentations, email writing, file editing, and virtually any activity on a vast virtual canvas. Similarly, your phone or tablet becomes redundant when all the apps you need are accessible on Apple Vision Pro. For leisurely times, the Vision Pro presents a massive screen for immersive movie and TV show viewing, as well as the pleasure of watching 3D content and panoramic images.
The Vision Pro’s front screen — the EyeSight, serves as a pair of digital eyes, according to Apple. This feature will allow others to see your eyes when they interact with you. When you’re engrossed in content, your eyes are not displayed on the screen, signaling to others that you are not available for engagement, much like how lack of eye contact indicates disengagement in real-life interactions. However, if someone needs to capture your attention while you’re immersed in an experience like watching a movie, they can simply approach you closely, activating EyeSight. At that moment, they become visible to you within your headset, and your eyes become visible to them. This remarkable capability is the result of an outstanding fusion of varied technologies, leading Apple to file an impressive number of patents… more than 5000, for the Vision Pro device.
Notably, Apple Vision Pro introduces OpticID, an innovative authentication system that scans your eyes, elevating its security measures far beyond what TouchID and FaceID offer. Even Meta’s most advanced device, despite being significantly cheaper, cannot rival Apple Vision Pro in terms of impressive technology.
While Meta’s Quest Pro may be impressive, it pales in comparison to the extraordinary capabilities of Apple’s Vision Pro. Meta finds itself in a dire and seemingly insurmountable predicament since there is absolutely no incentive for anyone desiring a Vision Pro to compromise and settle for a Quest 2 or 3 from Meta.
In Meta’s own metaverse, they have been relegated to second place, overshadowed by the remarkable advancements of Apple’s Vision Pro.
Disclaimer: This is an opinion piece and the views and opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect the official views of Therefore Design.