When it comes to immersive experiences, should you pledge allegiance to Meta's Quest 3 or Apple's Vision Pro?
The battle between Meta Quest 3 and Apple Vision Pro isn't just about devices; it's a face-off between two tech philosophies and as we all already know by now - we can’t make a decision about either of the two devices, but we can look at what they represent for the XR field right now.
The fact is, the two headsets are vastly different from each other, and they serve different purposes.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR) have become increasingly popular in recent years, and with the release of new devices, such as the Apple Vision Pro and Meta Quest 3, the future of XR is looking bright. The spotlight is definitely brighter on the Apple Vision Pro - the device introduced at WWDC 2023 in June. A launch is set for early 2024, which means January to late April.
In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of each device, covering aspects such as design, features, performance, and price. Whether you're a tech enthusiast, a gamer, or a professional in the augmented and virtual reality industry, this article offers valuable insights and practical guidance to help you make an informed decision.
Of course, we’ll have to wait until devices are released to the public for thorough testing and we have to keep in mind that this is Apple’s first entrance into the XR world and there’s a lot we don’t know about their strategy.
The design of a VR headset is crucial for both comfort and functionality. And let’s be completely honest here - we expect Apple to take the W on this one just based on their company’s philosophy for designing outstanding products.
But let's take a closer look at the design and features of the Apple Vision Pro and Meta Quest 3.
The Apple Vision Pro is a mixed-reality headset that boasts a sleek and modern design It features a high-resolution OLED display, which provides a clear and immersive viewing experience. The device also comes with built-in speakers and microphones, allowing for seamless communication with other users. The Apple Vision Pro is also compatible with the Apple Arcade game controller, making it an excellent choice for gamers.
Here are the key details about the design features of the Apple Vision Pro:
Apple Vision Pro (as expected) has a premium yet balanced and adjustable design focused on comfort, light blocking, sensory inputs, and ventilation for all-day use.
The Meta Quest 3 is a standalone VR headset that is designed for portability and ease of use. It features a lightweight and comfortable design, making it ideal for extended use.
Source: Android Authority
Meta Quest 3 is an update of a previous Quest version but with a slimmer, more balanced, and more comfortable form factor through upgrades like its cameras, panels, and adjustable fabric-based head strap.
The device also comes with built-in speakers and microphones, allowing for easy communication with other users. Additionally, the Meta Quest 3 has a wide field of view, which provides a more immersive experience.
Here are the key details about the design features of the Meta Quest 3:
When it comes to design and features, both the Apple Vision Pro and Meta Quest 3 have their strengths and weaknesses but they both seem to be polished products.
The Apple Vision Pro is more advanced in terms of display quality and compatibility with their family of Apple devices. The Apple Vision Pro's sleek design and high-resolution display are definite pros, but it may not be as comfortable for extended use as the Meta Quest 3. Quest engineers have learned a lot from previous versions of the device and have learned about the UX of the hardware.
The Meta Quest 3's lightweight design (slimmer than Meta Quest 2) and wide field of view are definite pros, but it may not be as advanced in terms of display quality and backward compatibility. The Quest 3 is (supposed) to be more portable and comfortable for extended use.
The features of an XR headset are what make it stand out from the competition. Apple’s philosophy has always been on how their devices are integrated into their ecosystem but let's take a closer look at the features and capabilities between the two as of what we know right now.
The Apple Vision Pro comes with a range of features and capabilities that make it an excellent choice for what looks like professional use - the $3,499 price tag already signals that this isn’t a device for an average consumer.
Source: NBC News
It features a high-resolution OLED display, built-in speakers and microphones, and compatibility with the Apple Arcade 3rd party game controller. Additionally, the device comes with a range of sensors, including an accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer, which provide accurate tracking and movement.
But that’s just looking at the plain device. Vision Pro is going to
The Meta Quest 3 also comes with a range of features and capabilities that make it a popular choice among VR enthusiasts. It features a standalone design, built-in speakers and microphones, and a wide field of view. Additionally, the device comes with a range of sensors, including an accelerometer and gyroscope, which provide accurate tracking and movement.
When it comes to features and capabilities, both the Apple Vision Pro and Meta Quest 3 have their strengths and weaknesses. The Apple Vision Pro is more advanced in terms of display quality and compatibility with gaming controllers.
With Apple’s 64 times the pixel density of the iPhone Meta Quest 3 can even compare. However, it’s more portable and has a wider field of view.
On the other hand, the Meta Quest 3's wide field of view and standalone design are definite pros, but it may not be as advanced in terms of display quality and compatibility with gaming controllers.
Apple’s main SDK in use for XR until today was ARKit. Until recently Apple devices were fairly limited for creating XR apps and games, mainly because you needed strong graphic processing capabilities which Apple devices weren’t made for.
With Apple Vision Pro, which Apple calls a “Spatial Computer” these will change.
The good part?
You’ll be able to use the ARKit with the visionOS - the Vision Pro’s platform that controls the device.
ARKit in visionOS is expanded in a way to support the functionality of the Vision Pro headset.
These new capabilities include:
Most of these APIs are still in the beta phase, so they might not be perfect. You can access the developer's documentation here.
But designing for Vision Pro goes beyond ARKit. As for other Apple devices, you’ll use Xcode, SwiftUI, and RealityKit, as well as support for Unity and the new 3D-content preparation app Reality Composer Pro.
Everything you need to create next-generation spatial experiences.
Apple shared some of the key tips for designing engaging apps and games for the Apple Vision Pro and its operating system, visionOS:
XR Creators already have access to the documentation about creating your first visionOS.
It’s clear that Apple aims to take full advantage of its most powerful features of visionOS and the sheet performance horsepower of the Vision Pro headset.
Meta’s solution for creating experiences for XR is the Presence Platform. The company introduced the platform as the bundle of new developer tools for Meta Quest Pro back in October 2022.
Although the company didn’t say whether the Quest 3 will also support the SDKs for the Presence Platform, the features of the upcoming Quest are telling us that this is to be expected.
The platform aims to provide developers with the tools, frameworks, and design principles to build innovative and engaging VR/MR applications that take advantage of Quest devices' capabilities in terms of mixed reality, natural interactions, and social connectivity.
Learn more about passthrough and how you can customize it, using the official Meta’s documentation.
Interactions: Interaction SDK enables natural interactions like grabbing and poking. Hand Tracking tracks hands. Voice SDK integrates voice recognition through Wit.ai. Tracked Keyboard renders a VR representation of a physical keyboard. Audio SDK provides spatialized sound.
More on how to use Voice SDK here.
More on Tracked Keyboard SDK here.
Social Presence: Movement SDK enhances social experiences by tracking body, facial expressions, and eye movements to represent users. This brings a sense of realism to interactions.
In summary, the combination of advanced tracking, graphics, controls, and interfaces work together to create seamless immersion while the social features enable voice chat and shared experiences to connect users.
Immersive experiences are power-hungry. And there’s a huge contrast between Quest 3 and Apple Vision Pro.
The Apple Vision Pro comes with two chips: the M2 and R1 processor. Both are designed by Apple and boast impressive performance and specifications, including a high-resolution OLED display, built-in speakers and microphones, and a range of sensors for accurate tracking and movement.
The M2 processor handles the hardware portion of the premium ski goggle-like headset, while the second chip, the R1, works alongside M2 to process data from Vision Pro’s sensors and cameras.
Additionally, the Apple device has a battery life of up to 2 hours which doesn’t seem much. Apple says it’s better to use it plugged into a wall which doesn't make it as “standalone”-friendly as the Quest 3 but it does come with an external battery pack that should fit into your pocket.
The Meta Quest 3 also has impressive performance and specifications comparing to the previous models. The new Quest has a wide field of view, built-in speakers and microphones, and a range of sensors for accurate tracking and movement.
Additionally, the device has a battery life of up to 3 hours (yet to be confirmed), making it suitable for shorter VR experiences.
The Apple Vision Pro comes with unrelenting horsepower and clear intention to serve the power users.
However, the Meta Quest 3 has a wider field of view, could be more portable and serves as a perfect introduction to AR/VR for beginners.
In all fairness to the Quest 3 (and even Quest Pro for that matter), it was at a disadvantage from the start. Meta is dedicated to using Qualcomm's mobile processors, which are unable to match the power of computer-designed chipsets.
While these mobile chipsets offer certain benefits such as power efficiency, they cannot rival the pure performance of the Vision Pro's combination of M2 and R1 chipset.
The price of a VR headset is an important consideration for many users. Let's take a closer look at the price and value of the Apple Vision Pro and Meta Quest 3.
The Apple Vision Pro is priced at $3,499, making it one of the more expensive devices on the market but its aim is to create a new environment and serve different audiences.
While the price is steep, we’ll have to wait and see what kind of environment that is. For now we can just admire its range of advanced features and capabilities, making it a worthwhile investment for professional use.
The Meta Quest 3 is priced at $499, making it a more affordable option for VR enthusiasts. It comes with a range of features and capabilities, making it an excellent choice for personal use.
When it comes to price and value, the Apple Vision Pro is more expensive but comes with more advanced features and capabilities. The Meta Quest 3 is more affordable but may not have as many advanced features as the Apple Vision Pro.
The fact is, these devices have different target markets, and different aims and goals which makes them difficult to compare.
In case of what’s more valuable, we can’t say. At this moment the Quest 3 feels like a safer choice - it’s already known device with a track record of success and performance.
Apple on the other hand is creating a new category of spatial computing with the headset and is undoubtedly aiming to engage with Apple device fans. As we all know… the Mac users lucked out on most XR experiences and there’s a clear hole in the market in terms of immersive experiences catered to Apple’s users.
Apple is promising the apps you’ve already familiar with - Messages, Notes, Keynote, and Photos for example. And as you might expect - it’s synced between all your Apple devices via iCloud.
With the new XR device, Apple did a unique thing - it doesn’t call an Apple Vision Pro a “VR” or “MR headset” - it’s calling it a Spatial computer hence rendering this comparison rather strange. But we have to compare it to what we know so far.
Apple’s headset is run (and we never thought it’s going to be any other way) by their own operating system called visionOS.
Apple promises a suite of apps catered towards productivity gurus who are already used to Apple devices.
Some of those are:
We don’t know yet how rich the content will be at the release date (early 2024), but we know from Apple's history that they take their product launches seriously.
By the looks of it, Apple may get into the entertainment space as well which should be exciting for the whole industry.
The Quest 3 aims to be an intro device for gamers and the device doesn’t hide that. One of the main Meta focuses with the new Quest is also backward compatibility.
This means that the Quest 3 is fully compatible with the Quest 2 catalog, which includes over 500 VR games, apps, and experiences.
But saying that, the new VR and MR titles for Quest 3 have been announced as well.
Meta’s third generation Quest was announced only a week before Summer Game Fest and the other video game showcases that have replaced E3’s prior dominance over the June game news cycle.
As such, we can expect to hear more about the games coming to the platform in the next week. However, the company did hold its Meta Quest Gaming Showcase event right after announcing the headset.
The show gave us a look at 25 games that will be coming to the Quest 3.
In summary, the way we see it, both platforms will be teeming with new content at the launch stage. The difference will be the aim of the content - Quest 3 serves a younger demographic with gaming-focused content while Apple at this time is showing the intention of going forward for productivity power users.
Apple Vision Pro
Meta Quest OS
Updated Touch controllers
Controller-free with Eye Tracking, Hand gestures
LCD, 2064x2208 per eye
Dual 4k micro-OLED displays
Snapdragon XRGen 2
Apple silicon chip M2
Refreshed Quest form factor, which is 40% lighter and slimmer than Quest 2
Premium lightweight ski-google design
Front cameras for AR and tracking
Over dozen cameras for advanced AR, iris scanning, etc.
Onboard speakers, 3.5mm jack
Advanced spatial audio, high fidelity speakers
Physical adjustment dial
Lenses adjust automatically
Controllers and some hand-tracking
Full body motion capture via cameras
Starts at 128GB, 512GB rumored
No word on storage capacities yet
Some built-in support, but mostly third party plugins are used, like Photon, Normcore or Mirror
Built-in support out of the box is very good and battle tested in games as Fortnite
Incredibly high resolution passthrough
2 - 2.5 hours (unconfirmed)
up to 2 hours
Focus on games/apps and backwards compatibility built of Quest Store
High-end productivity, 3d viewing, mixed reality integration and compatibility with iPhone/iPad
In conclusion, the Apple Vision Pro and Meta Quest 3 are both looking to be excellent VR headsets, each with their strengths and weaknesses.
But at this point, we’d be comparing apples (pun unintended but let’s use it) and oranges.
Vision Pro is positioned as a premium and more powerful “headset” compared to Meta VR headsets, optimized for Apple devices. It doesn’t really want to compete in the “headset” category but rather create its own - spatial computing one.
But for the sake of comparison, Vision Pro aims to outperform in display quality, computing power, and AR capabilities for professional and advanced consumer use cases especially when it comes to high-level productivity and synchronization across their devices.
But it may not be as portable or affordable as the Meta Quest 3 and there’s the price issue as well.
Also, we’re yet to see what kind of apps and partnerships Apple is going to pull with the new headset release.
The Meta Quest 3 is more affordable and portable, but it looks like it’s an iteration from the previous model - it’s essentially the people’s VR headset that serves as an affordable entry point for AR/VR enthusiasts to start their XR journey as a developer or a gamer.
The new Quest promises upgrades in processing power, resolution, and design while maintaining compatibility with Meta's growing VR/XR ecosystem. It aims to take virtual and mixed reality to the next level in an accessible all-in-one package.
The goal of the Quest is to create a platform for Oculus Store and become an entry-level device for apps/games and developers.
It may not have as many advanced features as the Apple Vision Pro but it serves a different purpose as well.
Ultimately, the choice between the two devices will depend on your personal preferences and intended use.
If you're a professional in the XR industry, then ask your employer to buy the Apple Vision Pro for thorough testing.
But If you're an XR enthusiast looking for an affordable and portable device that has enough documentation and support, partnerships and tutorials from companies like Unity, and a huge developer community for support, the Meta Quest 3 is a good (and safe) choice for now.
The real battle might be between Meta’s flagship product - Meta Quest Pro and Meta Quest 3.