Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly criticized Apple’s recently launched Vision Pro virtual reality (VR) headset during an all-hands internal meeting, where he also outlined the company’s AI strategy and reiterated his metaverse goals.
Zuckerberg said that Meta’s vision for the metaverse is “fundamentally social,” while Apple’s vision seems to be more focused on individual use.
“Their announcement really shows how our vision and values are different and what’s at stake in shaping this platform,” the founder said at the June 8 meeting, according to a New York Times report.
“Our vision of the metaverse and presence is fundamentally social and about people interacting and feeling closer in new amazing ways. By contrast, every demo Apple showed was someone sitting on a couch by themselves.”
Apple’s lack of ‘magical solutions’
His comments come just days after Apple unveiled its much-awaited VR headset Vision Pro, $3,500 high-tech googles that the firm did not call a “headset.”
Apple even refrained from any references to the metaverse during its Worldwide Developers Conference 2023, where it launched the device promising a new era of “spatial computing.”
Zuckerberg also took a swipe at Vision Pro‘s $3,500 price, calling it expensive. He highlighted Meta’s Quest 3, the company’s latest headset, which will be released later this year starting at $500. He said Meta has been working for years to make its headsets more affordable.
The company cut the price of its headsets by more than 40% in the past few years, which has helped to make virtual reality more accessible to a wider range of people.
“I was really curious to see what they [Apple] would ship,” Zuckerberg said, per the report.
“It’s a good sign for our own development that they don’t have any magical solutions to the laws of physics that we haven’t already explored.”
“The $3,500 price, on the one hand I get it with all the stuff they are trying to pack in there, on the other a lot of people aren’t going to find that to be affordable,” the CEO added during an interview with podcaster Lex Fridman.
Zuckerberg has a grand plan to build the metaverse, a virtual world where people can work, play, and socialize. Quest 3, considered the “first” headset that can provide both virtual reality and mixed reality experiences in a single device, will be a key part of that strategy.
But his ambitions have suffered some setbacks. Meta’s VR division, Reality Labs, reported a loss of $13.7 billion in 2022 as the metaverse struggled to capture the attention of users. The company also sacked over 10,000 employees since November as part of efforts to cut costs, including those working in metaverse-related units.
Meta integrates AI into metaverse
During Meta’s internal meeting, the CEO said Meta will focus on creating artificial intelligence models that are more accessible to people than those of its competitors.
He said the AI models will be designed to fit into the company’s plans for the metaverse in order to create more immersive and realistic experiences.
“Democratizing access to this has a bunch of value,” Zuckerberg said, The Times reported.
“But it’s also aligned with the product vision of enabling a lot of different AI’s instead of just trying to consolidate this ourselves into one singular AI that’s going to try to rule everything.”
The billionaire plans on building AI models that help people “create content to express yourself and your ideas so much better,” or an artificially intelligent version of “a coach that gives you advice, encourages you.”
Mark Zuckerberg also spoke about integrating artificial intelligence into a future version of its Ray-Ban smart glasses, which were released in 2021. He sees Meta’s development of open source AI software as complementary to the virtual world.