As rumours of Apple VR headset swirl, Meta showcases new VR hardware


Meta's next device, which it wants to launch by the end of the year, is an augmented reality headset that can display both virtual worlds and also show the wearer the real environment around them with the help of cameras. — Meta/dpa

NEW YORK: Conventional VR headsets have mostly been heavy and clunky, but the latest from Facebook's parent company Meta is designed to be thinner and lighter.

The compact Holocake 2 - Meta's newest effort to bring more users into its planned virtual world - are only a few centimetres thick.

The demo of Meta's next planned headset comes amid various tech industry reports that Apple is preparing to muscle into the VR hardware market and potentially steal the thunder of Meta's big plans for virtual platforms.

Unfortunately, the Holocake 2 isn't not wireless, and this headset still needs to be hooked up to a computer by cable. In contrast, the company's Quest models do not require a connection to a PC.

The compact design of the prototype is mainly due to innovations in the lenses, notably holographic optics, which allows the lens to be practically flat, Meta says.

Meta says it's also working on a powerful VR headset the size of a pair of ski goggles.

Meta's next device, which it wants to launch by the end of the year, is an augmented reality headset that can display both virtual worlds and also show the wearer the real environment around them with the help of cameras.

And yet the timing of the announcements seems strange, given that Meta made no mention of when, if ever, these future headsets are set to be finished and go on sale.

But Meta's unveilings come after reports in recent months that Apple had demonstrated the prototype of a mixed-reality headset resembling ski goggles to its board members and is preparing to ready the product for market.

The iPhone maker is traditionally silent on upcoming products until they are ready to launch. According to the reports, the Apple glasses also have many cameras to be able to blend real surrounding with digital content on their display.

Apple is also said to be aiming for glasses with transparent lenses that can project digital objects directly into the user's field of vision so that they blend into their environment.

However, experts believe it will be several years before the necessary breakthroughs in computing power and power consumption are achieved.

Facebook founder and meta-chief Mark Zuckerberg bought VR pioneer Oculus for US$2bil (RM8.8bil) back in 2014 and has since invested massively in this technology before last year announcing plans to develop a full-blown virtual Metaverse. – dpa

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