Apple and Meta headsets could face a big challenge: Sticker shock - CNBC

Apple and Meta headsets could face a big challenge: Sticker shock - CNBC

Apple and Meta headsets could face a big challenge: Sticker shock - CNBC
Aug 16, 2022 1 min, 57 secs

Apple and Facebook parent Meta are expected to release mixed reality headsets in the coming year that could finally fulfill the industry's promise to turn head-worn devices into the next big shift in personal computing.

The best-selling virtual reality headset, the Meta Quest 2, retails for $400 and accounted for 78% of the nascent VR market in 2021, according to IDC.

Both companies are reportedly betting on a new technology called passthrough mixed reality, which requires better displays and more processing power.

If passthrough mixed reality works as advertised, a VR headset would also function as a set of augmented reality glasses, enhancing the possibilities for applications and real-world use.

In passthrough AR, powerful cameras on the outside of a VR headset take video of the outside world and send it to two or more displays, one each in front of the user's eyes.

Believers in mixed reality say that we'll eventually be able to condense the technology into a lightweight pair of glasses with transparent lenses.

The problem for today is that passthrough mixed reality requires a lot of expensive parts and a powerful headset, limiting the size of the market.

While Meta and Apple haven't released their headsets, a few devices currently on the market support passthrough mixed reality.

Meta and Apple are focused on developing devices that don't require attachment to a separate computer.

Konttori knows it will be hard for his startup to compete with some of the biggest tech companies in the world, but he says Meta and Apple still face challenges.

The company has invested heavily in virtual reality research and development in its Technology Development Group and has purchased several startups specializing in mixed reality technology.

According to reports from Bloomberg and The Information, Apple is developing a mixed reality headset that resembles ski goggles with a powerful homegrown chip, similar to what powers its MacBook laptops, and higher-resolution displays than what's currently on the market.

The headset will reportedly support passthrough video and offer games and other applications.

Apple hasn't confirmed its plans to release a mixed reality headset, and the company didn't respond to a request for comment on this story.

The primary alternative, optically-based mixed reality, uses transparent displays built into lenses to integrate computer graphics with the real world.

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