In August, iMore published two op-eds on what Apple needed to include on its long-rumored AR/VR headset. Each piece covered a lot of ground and mainly offered similar points. Rebecca Spear, for example, primarily focused (opens in new tab) on compatibility, comfort, and ease of use. Meanwhile, Becca Caddy zeroed in (opens in new tab) on the price, apps, and integration.
On Tuesday, Meta introduced the all-new Meta Quest Pro. This will undoubtedly fast become the best VR headset in the small but growing VR market. And yet, its introduction could make it easier for Apple to release something better — and cover many of the points we suggested just a few weeks ago.
Meta Quest Pro vs. Unnamed Apple VR
Five points about the Meta Quest Pro stand out and are the ones Apple should address positively as it completes work on its competing product. These points, many mentioned in iMore's previous op-eds, include price, fit, features, battery life, and storage.
The Meta Quest Pro starts at $1,499, which is significant as it is much more expensive than the non-Pro version, which starts at $399. And yet, the price point isn't that high when considering companies like HTC, Value, and Varjo have long dominated that pricing space.
The product that would eventually become the Apple Watch Ultra was long rumored to be priced at $1,000 or more. When the wearable device was announced, Apple priced it at $799. Apple should follow a similar pattern whenever it gets around to announcing its AR/VR headset. (opens in new tab) Most will assume the product will be priced in the same neighborhood as the Metra Quest Pro and similar products. It shouldn't be. Instead, Apple should go low and price between $500 and $1,000.
I went out and purchased a Meta Quest 2 earlier this year. Within two months, I sold it on eBay. The reason for ditching it had everything to do with the lack of comfort.
The Meta Quest Pro is supposed to be more comfortable than the earlier headset, and I'm sure it will be. For Apple's headset to succeed, it needs to release a comfortable product on Day 1. Otherwise, traditional first adopters might take a pass.
Many who tested the Meta Quest Pro before it was announced have praised the headset for two essential features: eye tracking and its high-resolution color video feed. Those features are intended to blur the line between virtual and augmented reality, which seems like a big deal and necessary components of whatever product Apple has cooked up. However, the company needs to match Meta on features and add some unique ones no one has considered.
One area where Apple will have no problem besting Meta is on the gaming and apps front. The App Store on AR/VR should be the best available. If it's not, there is something really wrong.
Oh yes, the all-important battery life. On this point, it seems Meta has struck out.
As The Verge noted (opens in new tab), the Meta Quest Pro will only last between one and two hours between charges, with a recharge taking two hours. These are terrible numbers, which probably has much to do with current battery limitations.
Here's hoping Apple can squeeze out a little bit more fun between charges on its product or at least match what Meta's doing.
Storage and memory
Finally, there's storage and memory. The Meta Quest Pro comes with 256GB of storage and 12GB of memory. By contrast, the Meta Quest 2 comes with either 128GB or 256GB of storage and 6GB of memory. Any increase for either of these specs is a step in the right direction. However, what they mean for everyday use is difficult to determine, and comparing one manufacturer to another is even more so.
For Apple to succeed, its headset needs to offer enough storage for the average user and be speedy enough that no one will complain. If it can achieve both of those points, it will go a long way at determining the product's success.
We might eventually get three AR/VR headsets from Apple (opens in new tab). When that happens is difficult to determine, however. Most likely, the new product will debut sometime in 2023. When it does, here's hoping it's oh so much better than the Meta Quest Pro.
Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.
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