Apple and Meta’s looming headset war


Welcome to This Week in the Metaverse, where Fortune rounds up the most interesting news in the world of NFTs, culture, and the metaverse. Email with tips.

Meta took a jab at Apple this week by conveniently announcing its new Quest 3 just days before the possible announcement of Apple’s much-anticipated new VR headset. 

The Meta Quest 3, set to be released in the fall, is apparently lighter and less bulky than the Quest 2, with higher-resolution graphics and more processing power. Although its price tag is steeper than previous models, at $500, it’s considered a step up because of its improved mixed-reality technology. 

Instead of being immersed in a virtual world, you can play a virtual board game on your dining room table or decorate your living room with virtual art, according to Meta’s announcement. A preview video CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted on his Instagram shows him playing a mixed-reality tank game where it looks like the vehicles are driving around the floor in front of him. More details will be revealed at the end of September at the company’s Meta Connect conference. 

Potential applications for the headset are varied and could level-up Meta’s metaverse ambitions, especially when it comes to first-person shooter games and tools to increase productivity. But questions remain.

Although Meta has gone all-in on its VR and AR development—pouring billions of dollars into its Reality Labs unit—its metaverse is not the most popular—even with employees. 

Zuck has encouraged colleagues to spend time meeting and collaborating in virtual reality, but Bloomberg reported on Thursday that its employees generally don’t use the headsets, and even those in the VR division were lukewarm about it. Zuckerberg has also ditched remote work recently, asking most employees to start coming to the office three days a week starting in September. 

Perhaps the bigger threat to Meta’s success in the space will be Apple’s new headset, which could be announced on June 5 at its Worldwide Developers Conference.

Although details are even more limited for Apple’s headset, it may cost upwards of $3,000 and combine both virtual and mixed reality. It would be the company’s most significant new piece of hardware since the Apple Watch in 2015, or, a year later, AirPods. It could cut into Meta’s sales but probably not immediately given the cost difference.

Apple’s headset, which according to Bloomberg could be called the Reality Pro or XR Pro and looks like a pair of technologically advanced ski goggles made of glass, carbon fiber, and aluminum, reportedly has two pairs of 4K resolution screens and can be controlled by both a user’s hands and eyes. 

Although Meta has a clear first-mover advantage, Apple has often redefined a product category after a competitor has entered that space. It’s also been preparing for this release for nearly a decade with a series of acquisitions that could include tech used in the headset.

Apple entering the VR/AR market validates the sector’s legitimacy, and the competition could ultimately benefit consumers.

In other news

NFT artist FEWOCiOUS, whose real name is Victor Langlois, announced a new line of 20,000 profile picture NFTs called Fewos that will be incorporated into the artists’ unreleased virtual “FewoWorld.” The Fewos come in three types—humanoid, frankenstein, and misunderstood—with characteristics designed by hand that were later digitized. The NFTs will be released in August.

NFT artist FEWOCiOUS, whose real name is Victor Langlois, released profile picture NFTs called Fewos.

Courtesy of Michael Oxendine

Fashion brand Prada’s Timecapsule Collection entered its second year with the launch of its summer season on Thursday. This month’s product is a unisex tank top made in a bright floral pattern, with a triangle logo on the front and the month June on the back. Each comes with an NFT and an invitation to join Prada’s exclusive Crypted NFT community on Discord.

Prada’s newest Timecapsule Collection features a unisex tank top.

Courtesy of Prada

Nike’s digital arm is teaming up with EA Sports, creator of the FIFA and Madden franchises, in a partnership that could see the shoe giant’s NFTs featured in games. Although details were scant, in a press release Thursday, Nike said the partnership, will focus on “immersive experiences” and “unlock brand new levels of customization.” It will also help Nike’s .SWOOSH NFT community “express their personal style through play.”

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