Meta CTO Andrew “Boz” Bosworth said this week that the announcement of Quest 3, which came just days ahead of Vision Pro reveal, had nothing to do with the timing of Apple’s first public foray into XR.
“People won’t believe me, I don’t care—I’m telling the truth, you can believe me or not, that’s up to you […],” Bosworth began in a Q&A hosted on Instagram this week in response to a question about the curious timing of Quest 3’s announcement, which came just days ahead of the reveal of Apple Vision Pro. He continued:
What we found out… especially last year… is that when we announce a new headset in September/October, a lot of people—especially when you already have headsets out in market—a lot of people have already made buying decisions in the summertime, or they’re kind of committed to a path, so you’re not capturing the full holiday season.
So we sent a note to [Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg] long before we even knew about WWDC timing or substance, saying ‘hey for Quest 3 we want to announce it early, so that people know it’s coming, so they can plan well in advance of the holiday season what they want to do’.
So that was our plan from a long time ago, and the timing worked out unbelievably well [laughs]. I’m not mad about it… I’m not saying I’m mad about it, I’m just saying that was the plan that we developed in terms of go-to-market, and it had nothing to do with [Vision Pro].
The announcement of Quest 3—which came four days before Apple’s Vision Pro reveal—was certainly curious as far as the company’s prior patterns. Compared to the kind of formal announcement we’ve seen, the new headset was first teased and then revealed on social media through Mark Zuckerberg’s feeds. Even when more formal information was shared shortly thereafter, the company didn’t share the headset’s full specs, instead promising more details to come at the annual XR event, Meta Connect, which wouldn’t be held for nearly four more months.
Regardless, Bosworth maintains the Quest 3 announcement was decided well before the company knew what Apple would reveal or when.
Bosworth, who heads Meta’s XR division, Reality Labs, also answered some other questions about Apple Vision Pro during the Q&A.
Q: Thoughts on Apple’s decision to have attached battery pack rather than all-in-one headset?
A: At some point these headsets are a physics problem. You can spend your thermals and your weight one way, or another way, but at some point the equation has to square. [Apple’s] headset, I think, is roughly in the same ballpark of weight as our headsets, and they wanted to have this battery life, so they wanted to go external with [the battery]. It doesn’t matter who you are, what company you are, who you work for… physics is a uniform belligerent to this space. We’re making progress hand-over-fist as an industry; I think Apple’s entry is going to help with that a lot. But yeah, you have to square the circle somehow, and they had to do it with an external battery pack and a cord.
Q: How does the Vision Pro change Meta’s roadmap?
A: Andy Grove—famous Intel CEO and kind of godfather of Silicon Valley—always used to say “only the paranoid survive,” and we try to embody that. You try to approach your work with a lot of humility. Whenever a great competitor comes out, whether it be the Pico, whether it be Apple Vision Pro, certainly; you’re trying to look and see, what did they do differently, and why? What did we miss? Did we get it wrong, or did they figure something out? So you try to learn from it. And then be humble about it. At the same time, you can’t constantly be chasing every competitor because then you’re getting thrown off your own game. You’re getting thrown off what you can uniquely do and what you’ve done right, and that they need to learn from. In our case I think we’ve got a great ecosystem, we’ve got a great set of devices, we’ve got a great price point. So it’s a balance to try to learn from them and not over-rotate on that. Nothing that we hadn’t looked at before […] we were focusing on gaze and touch for AR as well—it’s a natural AR interaction—is that something that needs to get more priority in VR? Not sure yet. So we’re looking at it… we’re not sure yet.