Everything Speculated So Far About Meta's Next Line of VR Headsets
So, what can we expect in the future of VR headsets? With the VR market on the rise, competition is getting fierce when it comes to standalone headsets - what can we expect in the future of Meta?
Disclaimer: Its important to note that much information in this article comes from speculation, rumors and leaks and may not represent the full or true capabilities of the next Meta headsets, so take all this information with a grain of salt.
According to an internal roadmap of Meta posted by news site 'The Information', Meta plans on releasing four headsets by 2024. Currently we've only heard about two of them, the Meta Quest Pro, also known as Cambria or Project Seacliff, as well as the Meta Quest 3 which is expected to be a successor to the Quest 2.
Let's breakdown all the details and rumors of each headset below!
Meta Quest Pro/Cambria/SeaCliff
Project Cambria was initially announced at Facebook Connect 2021.
It's been slated to be more of a "Quest Pro" device aimed towards higher end consumers with a focus more on productivity and mixed reality. Zuckerburg hopes that one day VR will replace laptops, and is starting this experiment with the Quest Pro.
Unlike the Quest 2's black and white low resolution passthrough, the Quest Pro is expected to have 4k color passthrough, and a 2,160 × 2,160 resolution per-eye.
According to notorious hardware leaker/data miner Brad Lynch, the two circles on the front of the device are cameras, and the middle lens is a 16MP high-definition camera designed to overlay colors and enhance resolution to improve depth perception. The three cameras working together could be what improves the Quest Pro's passthrough experience.
The headset is rumored to also have face, eye, and hand tracking, as we've seen what appears to be a video showcasing calibration steps as well as reference to it in the Quest's firmware.
In this same video we also see what the controllers may look like. We've also seen some leaked images of what appears to be Touch controllers with onboard cameras vs the Quest 2's LED tracking ring. This means in combination with some of the sensors from the headset itself, these controllers may be able to track themselves using onboard IR cameras.
Through firmware decompiling, it was also discovered that the Quest Pro may have two cooling fans - for reference, the Quest only has one. While the chip set (Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 CPU) will remain the same in the Quest Pro as the Quest 2, having two cooling fans vs one can significantly improve the CPU clock speed, and possibly GPU overclocking as well. This means improved cooling capabilities and increased performance!
When it comes to the Quest Pro's lenses, Brad suggests it will have miniLED technology and pancake style lenses. This style of lens works in a way of folding light over on itself to become slimmer than current lenses.
Instead of having fixed IPD (interpupillary distance, or the distance between your pupils) adjustments in the current Quest (where you need to move the lenses closer together or further apart), its been estimated that users will be able to drag the lenses smoothly so that they can establish a more precise, more personalized IPD setting.
As far as pricing, there's been much more variation in guesses for Cambria from $799 to $1,500. This price guess would be for the full Quest Pro kit, which would include the headset, controllers, charging pad and cables. What's certain is due to the more prosumer nature of this headset, expect that it will be more expensive than the Quest 2 and most likely the future Quest 3 as well.
So, when can we expect the Quest Pro headset to be released? On the Joe Rogan podcast, Zuckerberg confirmed that the Meta Quest Pro will be coming out in October. Brad Lynch estimates a launch at the end of October, with pre-orders beginning during a Meta Connect event this year (no date for the event yet, but expectations based on past dates are September sometime).
Meta Quest 3
There is less known about the Meta Quest 3 compared to the Meta Quest Pro, probably because it's a bit further out from development.
Meta Quest 3 will probably have a 120HZ display natively, compared to the current Quest 2 which can get up to 120 but needs third party apps in order to achieve this. Not all games support 120Hz for the Quest 2, however this may change with it being natively integrated in the Quest 3.
Based on a data mine by Brad Lynch, the Quest 3 resolution will be at 4128x2020 pixels or 2064x2028 pixels per eye. For reference, the current Quest 2 is 1920x1832 pixels per eye meaning this would be a 30% increase.
Quest 3 is also speculated to have μOLED displays. The benefits with this is that blacks are truly black and whites are much brighter. You more commonly see this type of display on smart watches, TV's tablets, certain computer monitors and digital cameras. Other benefits include the fact that it's more energy efficient, the refresh rate is much faster, it contains fewer components (making it more lightweight) and supports a wider viewing angle without as much color loss as LED.
The Quest 3 will hopefully be sold at the same price point as the new raised Quest 2, (the 128GB version used to be $299 but is now $399), however, time will tell.
As far as release dates go, Brad Lynch also speculates that the Meta Quest 3 could be officially revealed at Meta Connect 2022 (which hasn't been announced yet) and that the release date would probably somewhere in 2023.
With all the leaks and speculations, only time will tell as far as to what the future of Meta headsets looks like, but for now its comforting to see that the industry is still alive and well.
Check back here on release and see how much the leakers and data miners got right (or wrong!)