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Apple is finest positioned to finish the Meta Quest dominance

OPINION: The Meta Quest collection has lacked a real competitor ever because the unique headset launched again in 2019.

The likes of HTC Vive and Valve have launched their very own VR headsets, however they’ve occupied a high-end market, whereas requiring a robust PC to perform. 

Meta is the one firm to date to launch a standalone headset that’s highly effective sufficient to play function size VR video games with out being plugged into one other system. Because of this, Meta has been capable of faucet right into a mass market viewers and generated a formidable variety of gross sales. 

So why hasn’t some other firm mounted a severe competitor to the Meta Quest? Fact be advised, there aren’t many corporations able that may tackle Meta. VR {hardware} is extraordinarily costly to fabricate, but most individuals aren’t ready to lay our a fortune on a headset. 

Because of this, it looks like the Meta Quest 2 isn’t a extremely worthwhile gadget, regardless of its robust gross sales. Earlier this yr, Meta’s incomes report (through Android Central) revealed that it misplaced $10.2 billion on VR/AR again in 2021. This is able to clarify why Meta just lately determined to extend the retail worth of the Meta Quest 2. 

A white Oculus Quest 2 kept on a wooden table, back left view
Picture Credit score (Trusted Opinions)

So why is Meta joyful to make a loss on its VR division when different corporations will not be? It seems that Meta is ready to earn a living from VR headset purchases past {hardware} gross sales. 

Zuckerburg clearly believes that the corporate may see loads of success with the introduction of the Metaverse. CNBC reviews that Meta will take a 47.5% reduce on digital asset gross sales within the Metaverse through the Horizon Worlds platform. That is how Meta will make its cash, subsequently making it doable to promote its VR headsets at a subsidised worth. 

Most corporations aren’t ready (or prepared) to repeat this tactic, because it requires them to take an preliminary main loss after which assure a big sufficient person base sooner or later to generate extra income by software program. However there’s one firm that has the infrastructure in place to efficiently problem Meta, and that’s Apple. 

Famend leaker Mark Gurman claims that Apple is at present engaged on a high-end combined actuality headset known as the Actuality Professional, and can go toe to toe with the upcoming Meta Quest Professional. However why is Apple able to problem Meta when different corporations will not be?

Idea render of Apple Actuality Professional based mostly on leaks (Credit score: Ian Zelbo)

Firstly, Apple is a really rich firm, way more so than the likes of HTC which has struggled to maintain up with Meta within the VR rat race. Secondly, Apple has a powerful fan base that’s prepared to pay a excessive price for its merchandise – the iPhone 14 Professional has a beginning worth of $999 (£1099), whereas the 14-inch MacBook Professional begins at $1999 (£1899).

Apple additionally locations loads of significance on creating an ecosystem that stops you from buying merchandise from different corporations sooner or later. For instance, the Apple Watch gives compatibility with an iPhone, however turns into a ineffective accent in the event you later resolve to swap over to an Android cellphone. Because of this, Apple prospects usually tend to keep devoted to the model for future {hardware} purchases.

It’s extremely seemingly that the upcoming Apple Actuality Professional headset will want an Apple account to perform, and can seemingly be able to linking up with an iPhone. That is full hypothesis, nevertheless it matches in with Apple’s total technique, and would encourage Actuality Professional consumers to buy extra Apple merchandise. 

One other essential consideration is that Apple will be capable to develop its personal parts for the headset. Bloomberg reviews that the Actuality Professional shall be powered by a brand new ‘Actuality Processor’ based mostly on the prevailing M2 chip. Even Meta isn’t capable of develop its personal processor, as a substitute counting on the Snapdragon chips from Qualcomm. 

The M2 chipset board from Apple

Apple is even tipped to work on a brand new working system known as ‘realityOS’, which is able to be capable to entry VR-based variations of apps comparable to Maps and FaceTime. And whereas Apple isn’t famend for gaming, I feel that it’s seemingly it is going to provide the same subscription service to Apple Arcade, which supplies entry to a big library of video games through a month-to-month subscription. I’m additionally assured there shall be VR content material made out there by the likes of Apple TV+ – one other subscription service that Apple may tempt you into paying for. 

With the whole lot thought of, Apple seems to be in an incredible place to launch an AR/VR headset. Whereas I don’t personally personal any Apple merchandise, I nonetheless nonetheless welcome the transfer. Competitors is at all times good for the buyer, because it not solely helps to maintain {hardware} costs extra inexpensive, but in addition encourages innovation. 

If no different firm bothered to launch a competitor to the Meta Quest collection, then Meta would have little motive to enhance the {hardware}. And do you suppose Meta would have been as prepared to provide the Quest 2 a worth hike if one other well-liked VR headset was out there at an inexpensive worth? I’m uncertain. 

So let’s hope the rumours are true and that Apple does certainly enter the VR market subsequent yr. I might gladly soar ship to a different VR headset if it meant I not needed to undergo Zuckerberg’s ramblings about his imaginative and prescient for the Metaverse.

Ctrl+Alt+Delete is our weekly computing-focussed opinion column the place we delve deeper into the world of computer systems, laptops, parts, peripherals and extra. Discover it on Trusted Opinions each Saturday afternoon. 

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