Meta hopes to augment reality
Future. Meta believes that AR glasses are the key to unlocking the potential of the metaverse and is readying its first pair for release in 2024. Packed to the gills in tech that could redefine how we interact with the world around us, Meta’s ambitious launch date doesn’t seem feasible to most outsiders. But, Meta may have no choice but to charge ahead anyway if it hopes to beat Apple (which is also developing AR glasses and mixed-reality headsets) to the punch.
Pair of Zuckerbergs
Mark Zuckerberg is developing a new reality for Meta.
- The company plans to release its first pair of AR glasses, the Nazare in 2024, followed by updated versions in 2026 and 2028.
- Looking like the pair of glasses Clark Kent wears to hide his identity as Superman, they will allow wearers to “communicate and interact” with other people’s holograms — a concept Zuckerberg hopes will be the evolution of video calling.
- It will work independently of a smartphone (offloading the computing power to a “wireless, phone-shaped device”) and include a wrist device that uses “differential electromyography” to let users interact with AR displays.
- Zuckerberg believes this is the next evolution of the mouse and keyboard (lots of evolutions happening here).
The price point for the Nazare is expectedly not cheap — much more than the company’s $299 Oculus Quest VR headset — so Meta also plans on releasing a cheaper version called the Hypernova (which will need to be paired with a phone) and also new versions of the smart glasses it has made in collaboration with Ray-Ban.
Analysts believe that Meta’s 2024 ship date is about as real as the holograms projected in AR, noting that the company doesn’t even have a wearable prototype yet — just a “stationary demonstration that sits on a table.” Meta doesn’t even think that the first iteration of the Nazare will sell that much — maybe in the tens of thousands to mainly developers and early adopters of cutting-edge tech.
Still, Zuckerberg is as bullish as can be in getting it done on time and getting it done right, putting 18,000 employees on the job at the cost of $10 billion a year and projecting to sell tens of millions of glasses by the end of the decade. To him, AR glasses will “redefine our relationship with technology,” with one former employee saying that the controversial CEO wants the rollout of the Nazare to be his “iPhone moment” that introduces a new era for the also-controversial company.