Mark Zuckerberg says Apple's AR/VR headset will suck because it'll be a 'closed ecosystem'

Apple VR render next to Apple logo
(Image credit: Apple)

With Apple rumored to be ready to announce its own mixed reality headset in early 2023, Mark Zuckerberg's Meta is full steam ahead on its own. And Zuck says Apple's approach is all wrong.

Speaking during Meta's Connect conference and then in an interview with The Verge, the Meta CEO said that Apple's system will be a closed one, while the Meta alternative will be open.

Open and closed case

Zuck's stance on open and closed systems is a fairly easy one to see. During the Connect conference, we saw him talk about how computing has historically seen open and closed systems compete — he talked about Windows and macOS, Android and iOS. Now, he sees Meta and Apple as being on a collision course in a similar way.

“I strongly believe that an open, interoperable metaverse built by many different developers and companies is going to be better for everyone,” Zuckerberg is quoted as saying. Predictably, he wants Meta's tech to be the one those developers and companies use.

Zuckerberg also pointed to the control Apple has over iPhones and Macs, saying that a repeat performance in the world of VR could hurt others, not just Apple itself. He suggested that Apple could choose to "hinder" Meta in the future, adding that "I think one thing that’s been pretty clear is that their motives in doing the things that they’re doing are not as altruistic as they claim them to be."

That appears to be a call back to Apple's App Tracking Transparency (ATT) prevention, something that is costing Facebook millions of dollars per year in lost ad revenue. Apple says its stance is about user privacy — clearly Zuckerberg isn't sold on that.

Apple is now expected to announce its own mixed reality headset in the first few months of 2023 following years of rumors. It's set to be costly, though, with upwards of $2,000 expected to be the price initially.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.