Meta’s made the existence of its next VR headset public knowledge basically since the company rebranded as a “metaverse company.” And after the tremendous success of the Quest 2 — analysts now report Meta controls 90 percent of the VR market — it makes sense the company would want to maintain its head start with something new.
Cambria, as the headset is currently known, is designed to be a step up from the Quest 2, both in terms of performance and price. Meta reportedly thinks of the headset as a productivity tool rather than just another head-mounted game console, but we won’t know for sure until the company shows it off.
And that might happen relatively soon. Meta has reportedly settled on the name “Meta Quest Pro” for the new headset, Bloomberg writes, and is eyeing an October release date for its new VR baby. With that in mind, what exactly do we know about the Meta Quest Pro?
What we know so far
What will the Quest Pro look like?
From everything that’s been teased so far, the Meta Quest Pro will look significantly different from the rounded white blob of the Quest 2. Meta’s initial video teaser showed off a black device with an opaque front visor and an adjustable headband. Think Microsoft’s HoloLens 2, without the transparent lenses visibly dangling in front of your eyes.
Renders leaked by YouTuber and analyst, Brad Lynch, in April gave a somewhat clearer look. The Meta Quest Pro looks more like an expensive pair of goggles than anything else, with seemingly much larger passthrough cameras on the outside.
What kind of controllers will the Quest Pro use?
Meta has made big strides with hand-tracking support and will likely tout its hand-tracking tech as one of the go-to methods for controlling the Quest Pro. But even with the improvements, the company is reportedly also introducing new controllers. A supposed leaked tutorial from Meta’s new user experience for the Quest Pro shows what look like pen-like controllers that have triggers but are missing the distinct tracking loop of the Quest 2 touch controllers.
Lynch again had more details to share: The new controllers are codenamed “Starlet,” they can apparently determine their location in space independent of the Quest Pro thanks to built-in cameras, and they might have adaptive triggers like the DualSense controller that comes with the PlayStation 5. A pressure sensor discovered in leaked CAD files of the new controllers suggests they could also have a stylus attachment.
Interestingly, Lynch suggests the controllers and their required wireless charging mat might be able to be purchased separately from the Quest Pro at launch, for use with older headsets.
Will the Quest Pro be able to do both AR and VR?
The answer is “yes,” in a sense. As Meta CEO, Mark Zuckerberg demoed, Cambria, or the Meta Quest Pro, has improved HD color passthrough cameras that will allow you to see the outside world much more realistically than the current black-and-white feed the Quest 2 uses.
With the new cameras, Meta plans on overlaying digital images over what you see (not unlike the way Pokémon Go places monsters in the real world) to create the effect of augmented reality, without having to ship the transparent (technically limited) holographic displays currently used in the HoloLens or the Magic Leap One.
When you don’t want to see out, the Meta Quest Pro should function as a normal VR headset, giving you the best of both worlds. Apple is reportedly planning on offering something similar with its rumored headset.
What specs will the Quest Pro have?
Supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims that Meta’s new headset will feature mini LED displays with a resolution of 2,160 x 2,160. That means VR and AR that’s both clearer and brighter than what you can find in the Quest 2. It’s not quite the 5K of the HTC’s Vive Focus 3, but still a notable improvement.
For processing power, it’s not clear if Meta will opt for something other than the Snapdragon XR2 that the Quest 2 uses. Reports suggest Meta was very interested in transitioning to its own custom silicon for its hardware products but was recently forced to delay those plans at least for the immediate future.
UploadVR writes that Meta could put 12GB of RAM in the Quest Pro, doubling the 6GB in the Quest 2. That should allow for more applications running side-by-side and possibly for more of the complex “Infinite Office” setups that Meta has been slowly incorporating into the Quest 2.
What will the Quest Pro be used for?
It’s not entirely clear, but if I had to guess, Horizon Workrooms. Meta’s meeting platform, Workrooms, was one of the first ways it introduced its new metaverse obsession to the public. It’s a bit like an embodied Zoom, where avatars take up space in a virtual meeting room with the ability to write on virtual whiteboards, and take notes on keyboards Meta’s headsets are designed to recognize. It’s easy to extrapolate how the eye- and face-tracking the Quest Pro is supposed to feature could make these calls a little more lively. Or at least less creepy.
With Meta reportedly wanting to position the Quest Pro as a “laptop for your face” or a mobile office, the company will likely need more than just Workrooms and whatever you can get done in a web browser to make the case. In the meantime, the Quest Pro should be able to run everything already playable on the Quest 2.
How much will the Quest Pro cost?
At first, The Information reported a price of around $799. Now, Bloomberg says the headset will cost over $1,000. Analyst Brad Lynch's latest report predicts the bundle of the Quest Pro, new controllers, and their charging mat will start at $1,500.
There are a lot of variables that could determine the price of the Meta Quest Pro, including the final cost of the new controllers. For now, it’s safe to assume the new tech inside will put it well above the $399 price of the 256GB Quest 2.
When will the Quest Pro be released?
All reports point to a fall launch for the Meta Quest Pro, with October being the month most recently raised. Lynch’s guess is October 25, 2022 will be the date the new hardware is actually shipped out, with preorders happening at a Meta Connect event at some point before.
That lines up with the fall launch of the Quest 2, and the general onslaught of new tech products that get announced in the lead-up to the holidays.
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