Meta Quest 3 Reportedly Boosts Mixed-Reality Tech To Take On Apple

Meta is yet to drop any official details about its Quest 3 headset, but it appears that the company plans to pack upgraded mixed-reality tech in the model while beating Apple's own headset at the price game. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman claims to have gone hands-on with a prototype version of the Quest 3 headset slated for an October launch. Codenamed Eureka, the headset is said to be thinner and noticeably lighter compared to the Quest 2, ditching plastic in favor of fabric straps.

The Mark Zuckerberg-led company is also reportedly refreshing the front design, adding three vertical pill-shaped outlines. The two pills on the flank are each said to house a regular RGB camera — that is, a color pass-through camera to let users see the real world around them. The Quest 2, for comparison, has four corner-positioned infrared cameras. Alongside the bottom edge of the Quest 3 headset are position tracking cameras, according to Gurman, alongside volume rockers and a lens adjustment wheel.

The latter is a crucial upgrade. On the Quest 2, there are only three settings available for adjusting the inter-pupillary distance (IPD), which is defined as the distance between the pupils in your eyes. This is used as a measurement to adjust the lens positioning in order to get the best viewing experience. The Quest 2 supports IPD values between 56 and 70 mm and divides them across three settings: narrow (IPD < 66 mm), middle (61 mm to 66 mm IPD), and wide (IPD > 66 mm). The Quest 3 will allow reportedly support adjusting the IPD without taking off the headset.

Mixed-reality experiences to undercut Apple's premium headset

Meta reportedly hasn't refined the display hardware, but the biggest upgrade on the Quest 3 is enhanced support for mixed reality, thanks to the passthrough cameras on the front. Gurman claims the next Quest features a pair of RGB color cameras that include pass-through video support. The cameras can provide "an almost lifelike rendering of the real world," Gurman says. That's no small feat, especially considering the price segment of the Quest 2 and the imminent comparison with Apple's mixed-reality headset.

Apple's upcoming "Reality Pro" headset is said to offer mixed-reality experiences using state-of-the-art eye tracking and imaging hardware, but it is reportedly going to cost over $2,000. The Meta Quest 2, on the other hand, sells for $399.99, which is a sign that even after a generation-over-generation price hike, the Quest 3 will likely be at least four times cheaper than Apple's headset. Meta has also improved the performance of the Quest 3 and even redesigned the controllers to look like those shipping with the Quest Pro flagship headset, the report claims.

The Quest 3 controllers reportedly drop the ring grip and rely on improved in-air hand tracking. The headset is also said to feature a depth sensor at the front that relies on tech called environment meshing to automatically identify real-world elements like the walls in your house. Meta's headset, with mixed reality perk in tow, will likely cost over $400 and is expected to ship later this year with an expanded content library.