Mark Zuckerberg Wants Meta's AR Glasses to Be Its 'iPhone Moment'
Mark Zuckerberg wants to make Meta's forthcoming AR glasses an "iPhone moment" that will cast him and the company in a new light, according to a former employee who worked on the project.
The comment was made to The Verge for a report outlining Meta's roadmap for AR glasses, which includes at least four different versions to be launched over the next six years.
According to the report, Meta's first-generation AR glasses, dubbed Nazare, will be designed to work independently from a smartphone with the use of a wireless, phone-shaped device that offloads part of the computing required for the glasses to function.
A marquee feature of the device will be the ability for users to communicate with and interact with holograms of other people, similar to fictional scenes depicted in a video last October announcing Facebook's corporate rebrand to Meta.
The report says Meta intends to deliver the first-generation model of its AR glasses, aimed at early adopters and developers, by 2024. In the same year, the company also plans to release a pair of cheaper smart glasses, codenamed Hypernova, that will pair with a smartphone to show incoming messages and other notifications in a heads-up display.
Looking further ahead, Meta's AR roadmap includes a lighter, more advanced version of the Nazare glasses set to arrive in 2026, followed by a third version in 2028, according to details shared with The Verge by people familiar with the matter.
If the AR glasses turn out to be a success, Zuckerberg reportedly hopes they will cast Meta and himself in a new light and make the company he founded innovative once again, which is why "Zuck's ego is intertwined with [the glasses]," the former employee told The Verge.
But Meta will have to go up against Apple, which has its own AR ambitions. Apple is working on at least two AR projects that include an augmented reality headset set to be released in late 2022 or 2023, followed by a sleeker pair of augmented reality glasses coming at a later date.
Rumors first suggested that Apple's AR/VR headset would come out in 2022, perhaps at WWDC in June, but there are development issues that Apple needs to overcome. Reliable sources like Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and Bloomberg's Mark Gurman have indicated that the headset will likely see a 2023 launch date, with the glasses to follow in 2024 or 2025.
For everything we know about Apple's AR plans, be sure to check out our dedicated guide.