Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t seem scared of competition from Apple Inc., which introduced the Vision Pro headset last week to challenge his company’s Quest device.
In an all-hands meeting Thursday, Meta Platforms Inc.’s
chief executive played down the significance of Apple’s
play for the mixed-reality world, a market that prompted Facebook to change its corporate name and plunge into the field with its Quest goggles.
“From what I’ve seen initially, I’d say the good news is that there’s no kind of magical solutions that they have to any of the constraints on laws and physics that our teams haven’t already explored and thought of,” he said in comments that were also emailed to Meta employees, according to multiple news reports that MarketWatch independently confirmed Wednesday.
Zuckerberg went so far as to claim the $3,500 Vision Pro offered no major breakthroughs Meta hadn’t “already explored” and that Apple’s first major hardware innovation in nearly a decade is “not the one that I want.”
“I think that their announcement really showcases the difference in the values and the vision that our companies bring to this in a way that I think is really important,” Zuckerberg said. He added Quest is designed for “people interacting in new ways and feeling closer” and in “being active and doing things.” [Last week, Meta announced its Quest 3 product, which ships in the fall.]
“Every demo that they [Apple] showed [at the WWDC event on Monday] was a person sitting on a couch by themselves,” Zuckerberg dismissively said. “I mean, that could be the vision of the future of computing, but like, it’s not the one that I want.”
The headset face-off: How Apple’s Vision Pro compares with the Meta Quest Pro, beyond a huge price gap
Apple’s first out-of-the-box hardware product since Apple Watch in 2014 isn’t available until sometime in 2024 and has been dinged for its exorbitant price tag. Meta’s headsets, by contrast, cost about one-seventh the price and have found some success in VR gaming and fitness. But it has stumbled in reaching the kind of general-computing market that Apple is pursuing.
Indeed, Zuckerberg’s dismissal of Vision Pro has already drawn a comparison to former Microsoft
CEO Steve Ballmer’s trashing of the iPhone before it became one of the most-successful consumer products ever.
Analysts and industry experts are divided over who has the edge in the latest face-off between Apple and Meta, but several point to consumers’ reluctance over privacy-related issues for Meta while others scoff at Vision Pro’s price.
“Apple’s headset is a whopping $3,500, which is prohibitively expensive for a large portion of the world,” Emma Mankey Hidem, CEO of Sunnyside VR, a virtual-reality studio. “That said, Apple has an army of brand-loyal fans willing to spend almost any amount of money on their products, so the price point may not end up mattering so much to the company itself.”
“The bottom line is that the real winners in this are neither Apple nor Meta,” Derek Belch, CEO of software company Strivr, said in an email. “It’s the hundreds of startups in the VR/AR space. With Apple officially entering the category, VR/AR is not a matter of ‘if’ or even ‘when’ anymore… it’s happening.”