Meta showcases new VR headsets amid rumors of challenge from Apple

Menlo Park, California - Conventional VR headsets have mostly been heavy and clunky, but the latest from Facebook's parent company Meta is designed to be thinner and lighter.

A person uses a virtual reality headset at Meta stand during the ninth Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles.
A person uses a virtual reality headset at Meta stand during the ninth Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles.  © REUTERS/Mike Blake

CEO Mark Zuckerberg touted the compact Holocake 2, Meta's latest effort to bring more users into its planned virtual world, as the thinnest and lightest the company has ever made.

The demo of five headset prototypes comes amid various tech industry reports that Apple is preparing to muscle into the VR hardware market and potentially steal the thunder of Meta's big plans for virtual platforms.

The Holocake 2 isn't wireless and still needs to be hooked up to a computer by cable, unlike the tech giant's Quest models.

Meta says it's also working on a powerful VR headset the size of a pair of ski goggles.

Meta's next device, which it wants to launch by the end of the year, is an augmented reality headset that can display both virtual worlds and also show the wearer the real environment around them with the help of cameras.

And yet the timing of the announcements seems strange, given that Meta made no mention of when, if ever, these future headsets are set to be finished and go on sale.

Apple ready to launch VR wars

Apple is rumored to be in the final stages of producing its own VR headset.
Apple is rumored to be in the final stages of producing its own VR headset.  © REUTERS

One possible explanation for the rush is Apple's rumored presentation of a mixed-reality prototype headset resembling ski goggles, with suggestions that it will soon be ready for launch.

The iPhone maker is traditionally silent on upcoming products until they are ready for the rollout. According to the reports, the Apple glasses also have many cameras to be able to blend real surrounding with digital content on their display.

Apple is also said to be aiming for glasses with transparent lenses that can project digital objects directly into the user's field of vision so that they blend into their environment.

However, experts believe it will be several years before the necessary breakthroughs in computing power and power consumption are achieved.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg bought VR pioneer Oculus for 2 billion dollars back in 2014 and has since invested massively in this technology before last year announcing plans to develop a full-blown virtual Metaverse.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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