Meta teases Quest 3 right before Apple’s WWDC event

Apple's perpetually rumored VR/AR headset is anticipated to be unveiled at the company's WWDC event beginning this week.
5 June 2023

Meta teases Quest 3 ahead of Apple’s WWDC. (Photo by Josep LAGO / AFP)

It’s almost a decade since Virtual Reality (VR) headsets were introduced to consumers, yet the idea of the device still needs to woo the masses. Even for a tech giant like Meta, which has reportedly sold nearly 20 million Quest headsets, the company still struggles to engage VR users long-term. 

Mark Rabkin, Meta’s VP of VR, during an internal presentation to employees, emphasized that while the 20 million unit sales figure is impressive—and well beyond any other single VR headset maker— the company has to do a better job at keeping customers using the headsets well after their purchase.

For many, VR headsets have failed to strike a chord with consumers because of the uncomfortable, clunky nature of the headsets. Then there’s another significant barrier to the wide adoption of immersive technologies–the lack of good user experience design. But Meta isn’t giving up, and Apple, too, notices the potential market opportunity that’s up for grabs in the VR/AR space for developers with winning designs.

On June 1, in Mark Zuckerberg’s Instagram post, Meta officially announced its Quest 3 VR headset. The headset won’t be a basic upgrade from its Quest 2 VR; instead, compared to its predecessor, the Quest 3’s design is lighter and more comfortable, with a “40% slimmer optic profile” (without taking its facial foam interface into account). At the same time, a new Snapdragon chip inside the unit has twice the graphics performance, Meta said.

The headset is expected to be in the market this fall with a 128GB version available for US $499.99 plus “an additional storage option for those who want more space” at an unspecified price. Meta wants to make it user-friendly by making it compatible with the Quest 2’s games.

The upside is that the Quest 2 is also sticking around but at a lower price. Meta said that starting June 4, the Quest 2 will drop its price by US $100 to US $299.99 for the 128GB version, while the 256GB version is getting a US $80 price cut from US $429.99 to US $349.99. 

That undoes last year’s price hike on the base model and makes the version with additional storage cheaper than it was before. Zuckerberg was smart with the timing of his unveiling, just days before Apple is expected to announce its long-rumored mixed reality headset.

Meta first announced that it would debut the Quest 3 this year as part of the company’s third-quarter 2022 earnings when it said that the company’s cost of revenue would grow in part because of “Reality Labs hardware costs driven by the launch of the next generation of our consumer Quest headset later next year.”

Meta vs. Apple’s VR headset

Frankly, Apple’s rumored VR headset is merely hearsay to date. Apple still needs to confirm its existence. Still, reports suggest that it will be capable of providing both VR and AR experiences, making it arguably one of the company’s most exciting products in years.

Some reports even suggest that Apple has been busy building VR versions of some of its native apps, including Safari, FaceTime, Apple TV, Apple Books, Freeform, and more. The setback for mass adoption is the pricing. With an expected price tag of around $3,000, Apple’s headset will only come cheap if the tech giant is also working on more affordable versions.

Many are expecting a reveal at the 2023 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), which takes place this week. Bloomberg has previously reported that Apple may focus on getting developers up to speed with the device in June but wait until later in the year to ship it. That aligns with The Information’s reporting, which claims a “fall or winter” launch date is likely.