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Apple Reality Pro headset might make Meta’s terrible Metaverse appealing – hear me out

Published Jun 5th, 2023 8:44AM EDT
Apple mixed reality glasses render - bottom view.
Image: Ian Zelbo

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June 5th, 2023 will be remembered as the day when Apple introduced the future of computing, the Reality Pro mixed reality device that has appeared in countless reports ahead of its official unveiling. The AR/VR headset will not be perfect; it’ll be tethered to a battery you have to carry, and it will reportedly cost $3,000. But, as I explained already, that’s the compromise I’m ready to make to experience Apple’s transition to the post-iPhone future.

That said, I’d be excited about the Reality Pro regardless of my intention to purchase the headset. The Reality Pro headset will set new standards in the AR/VR world, forcing everyone to adapt. That might mean blatantly copying Apple, which many companies will do. Or it could mean employing similar tentpole standards.

One of Apple’s top rivals in this space is Facebook’s parent company Meta, which soft-launched the Quest 3 headset just a few days ago. And the Reality Pro headset might just save us from the Metaverse that Meta has been sinking billions into.

The Reality Pro headset will be a “flop” when it comes to sales. That much is certain. People will wrongly compare its sales success to the Apple Watch, iPad, and iPhone in their early years. And they’ll probably draw the wrong conclusions.

Apple needs to show users and developers the future of computing. A future where you wear a gadget on your face for entertainment, social interactions, and work. A future where that gadget will grow significantly more capable to the point where it’ll replace the iPhone. Well, the iPhone will not disappear entirely at first. But it’ll spend longer periods of time in pockets and bags once the Apple AR Glasses arrive.

Put differently, June 5th, 2023 brings us the dawn of Apple’s own Metaverse… though that’s a name Apple hates and won’t use.

To get there, Apple’s Reality Pro will have to deliver features that are not available from regular VR headsets, Quest 3 included. And Apple will certainly do it. Moreover, the headset should offer the same privacy and security protections as other Apple products.

Meta Quest 3 front-facing vertical sensor modules.
Meta Quest 3 front-facing vertical sensor modules. Image source: Meta

Other companies will be forced to compete while trying to undercut Apple’s sky-high price. The Quest 3 is the first such competitor, although the WWDC 2023 keynote will show that Meta’s new headset can’t really compete at all.

Well, it’s not like Meta revealed everything about Quest 3 a few days ago. The company just wanted to show off its $499 headset before Apple unveiled the Reality Pro. That’s how much Mark Zuckerberg is afraid of Apple. And that’s a good sign.

Apple’s AR/VR headset will put tremendous pressure on Meta to match Apple’s experiences to some extent. That’s something we should all appreciate. Before becoming Meta, Facebook copied everything it could from competitors like Snapchat and TikTok. That was software only, however. And Facebook never had to compete against Apple.

The Reality Pro will force Meta to keep up with Apple’s hardware innovations, leading to great progress in the space. And Meta will try to match Apple’s software experiences too — the company is great at stealing software features, after all. In the process, Meta will also have to match Apple’s privacy approach to some extent, which could be a great upgrade for all of Meta’s products.

The main reason to fear Meta’s Metaverse right now is privacy. And the way Facebook has abused user data for so many years. There are no guarantees that Meta will behave differently in a metaverse built on top of devices like the Quest 3 without any meaningful competition.

Thankfully, Apple will “regulate” the market. And who knows, Meta products its Metaverse might become way more exciting thanks to Apple’s Reality Pro headset.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.