On March 1, 2023
A leaked hardware roadmap reveals when and what kind of VR and AR devices Meta plans to launch over the next four years
On Tuesday, Meta invited its Reality Labs employees to a presentation outlining its roadmap for VR and AR products through 2027. This information was leaked to The Verge, which wrote a detailed report about it.
The successor to the Meta Quest 2 is set to launch in 2023. Mark Zuckerberg and Meta’s head of technology Andrew Bosworth announced this as early as 2022, without revealing the name of the device, which will almost certainly be Meta Quest 3.
Interesting details about the upcoming device came to light from the Verge. According to its report, Meta Quest 3 will feature improvements in form factor and processing power, as well as a more advanced mixed reality similar to Meta Quest Pro. The device will also be pricier than Meta Quest 2.
A more “accessible” and possibly pared-down headset, codenamed Ventura, is then expected to be launched in 2024, following in the footsteps of Meta Quest 2 in terms of pricing and product strategy. Statements from Meta’s vice president of VR, Mark Rabkin, suggest that the next Meta Quest, due in 2023, will be marketed to enthusiasts rather than average consumers.
A possible successor to the premium Meta Quest Pro headset will be launched “way out in the future” and only after Ventura, and goes by the codename La Jolla. The device is said to support the photorealistic Codec Avatars, a futuristic type of VR conferencing that Meta has been working on for many years and which Mark Zuckerberg sees as a potential killer app.
“We want to make it higher resolution for work use and really nail work, text and things like that,” Rabkin says of La Jolla. “We want to take a lot of the comfort things from Quest Pro and how it sits on your head and the split architecture and bring that in for comfort.”
Last summer, Meta unveiled a series of VR prototypes that could be technological precursors of La Jolla: including Butterscotch, which supports retina resolution, and the Mirror Lake concept device.
The first to launch will be the second generation of the Ray-Ban Stories. The wearable is expected to be released in the fall of 2023.
The first to appear is the second generation of Ray-Ban Stories camera and audio glasses. The wearable is scheduled to launch in the fall of 2023.
The launch of the third generation of smart glasses is planned for 2025: Meta’s first display-enabled smart glasses, which will be sold with a wristband to control the headset. Himel describes the display as a “viewfinder” that displays incoming text messages, scans QR codes, and translates text in real time.
The wristband acts as an input device and neural interface. Meta unveiled a prototype of this futuristic technology in the spring of 2021.
According to the prototype shown, the wristband will be able to pick up neural signals on the wrist and convert them into computer commands using AI. In this way, the headset could be operated using only subtle finger movements and swipe gestures.
A Meta smartwatch is set to launch at the same time as the glasses, intended as an upgrade to the technically simpler wristband and offering smartwatch features in addition to the neural interface. “We don’t want people to have to choose between an input device on their wrist and smartwatch functionality that they’ve come to love,” Himel said.
“We don’t want people to have to choose between an input device on their wrist and the smartwatch functionality they’re used to,” Himel says. “So we are building a neural interfaces watch.” The smartwatch will offer integration with Meta apps such as Whatsapp, and support health and fitness features.
Finally, Meta’s first true AR glasses are expected to hit the market in 2027. The project, codenamed Orion, has been in development for eight years. It will be a more technologically advanced and expensive piece of hardware that can project high-quality holograms of avatars into the physical environment.
Meta is planning an internal launch for employees in 2024 to test the wearable. The commercial launch, however, is not planned until 2027 and will be aimed primarily at early adopters and enthusiasts.
Meta plans to launch two product lines in 2027:
- “Innovation” for AR glasses
- “Scale” for less advanced smart glasses
Himel sees great potential for Meta in the glasses and smartwatch market. ““If we can put on shelves a great product at a great price with the right value, we believe we can get into these upgrade cycles and have a lot of growth of our devices.”