A new development is here and ready to change the world. Virtual reality headsets have been the talk of the tech world for the past few years and with the release of the Meta Quest Pro in late 2022, (powered by Android) and the announcement of the upcoming Apple Reality Pro, VR is on every gadget geeks’ mind.
While the headsets are similar, the companies have taken two different approaches when marketing them to their end users. The feud between Apple and Android is a tale as old as time. From a broad perspective of price, down to the nitty gritty of each specific feature, Apple and Meta are battling to win the war of the virtual reality market.
Released on October 5, 2022, the Meta Quest Pro is by far the more affordable option, which makes sense – the device is “powered by Android”, which is well known for developing more affordable products in comparison with Apple. While $999 may seem striking, there’s no doubt that you will get more bang for your buck with an Android device. Meanwhile, neither could, by any means, be described as cheap.
After the Quest Pro was launched, there were speculations of a similar device to be released by Apple. Eight months later, on June 5, 2023, the Apple Vision Pro was finally announced. As expected, the Vision Pro is more than three times the price of Meta’s.
For starters, loyal customers are accustomed to paying more for an Apple device, though they typically have the same capability as an Android. Priced at $3,499, what makes Apple’s headset so special?
Reaching a New Audience
In the past, VR headsets were typically used by kids and teens for gaming. This time around, these gadgets are advertised for having a more practical use – with two different approaches.
It is clear that Meta wants to create a narrative around their device as a tool to enhance the workplace experience. They are sure to showcase features on their website such as virtual conference tables and shared building spaces, stating, “work in the virtual world, stay in the real world” and “collaborate in mixed reality together, apart.” The Quest Pro aims to amplify creative and cooperative work. As far as the physical build of the headset, the Quest Pro comes with hand controllers, a charging dock and cables, protective cover, light blockers, and wrist straps.
On the other hand, Apple focuses on promoting virtual versions of their already existing apps, highlighting, “with Vision Pro, you have an infinite canvas that transforms how you use the apps you love.”
On the website, the most notable features are “an immersive way to experience Apple TV” while stating that the device can “make your memories come alive with spatial photos and videos.” Overall, it seems that Apple wants the Vision Pro to be a device used to enhance consumers’ everyday lives, rather than improving professional and corporate spaces.
There may be a hint as to why Apple’s device is drastically more expensive than Meta’s: Augmented Reality.
Augmented Reality (AR) is the integration of digital information into the real world – in other words, a combination of virtual reality and plain old “reality.” While virtual reality takes you into a whole new environment, AR allows you to be present in the real world with added digital visuals. For example, with the headset, you can use Google Maps by looking at the road in front of you, with a digital map printed on top of it.
The Meta Quest Pro does not feature AR, which makes the product less consumer-focused.
Who Will Win Over the Market?
At this point, it’s hard to predict which headset will win the “market name” for virtual reality devices. While Apple tends to hold the title for many technological developments such as the iPhone or iPad, this could be a different story.
Since VR devices have a history of flopping, it all depends on which approach catches society’s eye. Will people prefer a device that allows them to work from anywhere in the world, or one where they can be immersed into their favorite TV show?
Additionally, will the price of the Vision Pro hinder its popularity until the time that it is possible to produce them at a lower cost? Or, will virtual reality fail once again to make a notable impact on the world? Only time will tell.