Zuck Tells Apple Vision Bros Their New Toy Sucks

Zuck Tells Apple Vision Bros Their New Toy Sucks

Mark Zuckerberg hopped on Instagram Tuesday to post a detailed and obviously rehearsed take-down of the Apple Vision Pro, the iPhone maker’s $US3,500 headset. Meta’s chief trash talker had a top-line message he wants the “fanboys” to hear: this thing stinks, and you should spend your money on his headset instead.

“I have to say that, before this, I expected that Quest would be the better value for most people since it’s like really good and it’s like seven times less expensive,” Zuckerberg said. “But after using it, I just don’t think that Quest is the better value, I think Quest is the better product, period.”

You might recall that Zuckerberg is really, really invested in VR headsets, a fact reflected in his company’s name. Meta is reportedly spending a billion dollars a month on the metaverse, and developing the leading hardware used to jack-in to the matrix is a key part of dominating the market. Apple’s new headset is a direct attack on Zuckerberg’s empire, especially because you can expect that Apple’s products won’t be compatible with Meta’s platforms.

The Apple Vision Pro earned a mixed response from most reviewers and early adopters. It offers stunning graphics, impressive hardware, long battery life, and an innovative user interface. Gizmodo’s Kyle Barr celebrated the Vision Pro for its “extraordinarily intuitive” gesture controls but said it’s clear we’re a few generations away from a truly great product. But no matter how great it is, again, the thing costs $US3,500, and it’s not without its flaws. In fact, there are several ways the Meta Quest 3 is superior, and Zuckerberg seemed thrilled to highlight the differences.

“Overall, Quest is better for the vast majority of things that people use mixed reality for,” Zuckerberg said, pausing occasionally to look off-camera in a way that looked suspiciously like checking a script. “Apple’s screen does have a higher resolution and that’s really nice. But I was surprised by how many trade-offs they had to make to the quality of the device and the comfort and ergonomics, and other aspects of the display and artifacts in order to get to that.”

He did take time to highlight areas where Apple succeeded, including the Vision Pro’s brilliant display and powerful eye-tracking capability. The Quest 3 doesn’t have eye-tracking at all, though Zuckerberg said that feature is on the way.

One of the chief criticisms of Apple’s headset is the wired, external battery pack that limits the Vision Pro’s mobility. Even without a built-in battery, the thing is difficult to wear for extended periods of time thanks to the heft and bulk necessary to pack in the top-line hardware. Zuckerberg pointed out that the Quest 3 is 120 grams lighter. He also argued the Quest’s interface is more useful for typing and complex tasks.

Zuckerberg also pointed out the Quest has a far more expansive library of compatible apps and services. That’s true, but in fairness, it’s partially because Meta has a five-year head start. But Zuckerberg also argued it’s because Meta is designing a more open, cross-compatible ecosystem that makes it easier for developers to build on the company’s platform. Meta isn’t running anything close to a truly open-source project, but the Vision Pro has its gates locked in typical Apple fashion. Zuckerberg gleefully mentioned that Apple’s headset doesn’t have native apps for YouTube or Xbox, something Quests users enjoy.

“Some fanboys get upset whenever anyone dares to question if Apple is going to be a leader in a new category. But the reality is that every generation of computing has an open and a closed model,” Zuckerberg said. “In mobile, Apple’s closed model won. But it’s not always that way. If you go back to the PC era, Microsoft’s open model was the winner. And in this next generation, meta is going to be the open model. And I really want to make sure that the open model wins out again.”

It hasn’t always been obvious, but Apple and Meta are direct competitors, and now they’re fighting for the exact same territory like never before. Apple has an advantage thanks to its reputation and a public that’s ready to do backflips to try the company’s new products. But for now, the Quest 3 does have some significant advantages (such as a $US3,000 price difference). And sitting confidently with his fancy new haircut and freshly developed speaking skills, Zuckerberg is taking a victory lap.

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