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What Apple's VR headset means for Meta

Apple takes on Meta with its announcement of the new Vision Pro mixed reality headset. Yahoo Finance tech editor Dan Howley breaks down how Apple's Vision Pro compares to Meta's Quest headsets.

Video transcript

SEANA SMITH: All right. Another stock that we're closely watching, and that is Apple. On the heels of Apple's headset, Vision Pro, marking the first new major product since 2014, bringing the tech giant into the mixed reality space. But what does Apple's presence mean for some of the other players within the market? Here to break it all down, Yahoo Finance's Dan Howley.

And, Dan, the name that everyone keeps bringing up is Meta and their efforts already within the space. So how did the two stacked up, do you think?

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DAN HOWLEY: It's night and day. I mean, it's wild how much better this is. Akiko and I were talking about this earlier, but--

SEANA SMITH: You actually got to try it.

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah. I got to try it on. I-- yeah, I mean, it was-- it was wild. I mean, the visual fidelity, the capabilities, the control-- I took that picture. The controls, it just-- it's second to none. It's-- Meta's got to be seething at this point. Mark Zuckerberg spending billions, tens of billions of dollars on the Meta Reality Labs segment. And for Apple to come in and just kind of, you know, swoop in, get the limelight, and prove that they have better technology right out of the gate. I mean, you got to imagine that Meta is just losing their minds right now.

And I mean, to try it on is, you know, I could sit here and just discuss it. But once people are able to finally try it on-- I mean, it truly looks like this. You know, we were talking about before have a lot of times when you see headsets like this, it's cool, it's CGI graphics. And then you put it on. And, oh, this looks pretty bad. This you put on, and you're like, oh, my God. It does look like that.

I-- and I'm an admitted skeptic. I-- you know, headsets just don't really do it for me. And I tried it on. And I left slack-jawed.

AKIKO FUJITA: And so, you know, I guess, you know, the question is, is it fair to compare what Apple has released to what is about to come from Meta, which is the Quest 3? I mean, the price point alone seems to point that Meta's product will be a lot more accessible, maybe not the top of the line technology. Although, you haven't tried that out yet. Is this kind of a situation where we start to see the divide like smartphones where it's the iPhones, the premium brand, and then you've got androids?

DAN HOWLEY: I think that's exactly it. And you know, what Meta is going to do is say, you can get an AR, VR experience, because the Meta Quest 3 is going to have AR elements. There's a see-through, full-color see-through experience. They're going to say, look, you don't have to spend a fortune to try this new technology. You can see the cameras there on the front.

You can get the same kind of experience, or not the same but a similar experience, to-- with us at a cheaper price. And you don't need to get specific lenses if you use the Apple I. You're going to have to get prescription size lenses if you can't-- have trouble seeing things that close to you. And I mean, it's going to be something where they are going to lean heavily on the fact that we have this ecosystem of apps already. We have the hardware already. We have-- you know, we've proven to a degree that people are willing to go out and buy this.

The issue that both of them have is there's no killer app. There's nothing that makes people say, I'm going to buy this, and then it's not going to be a paperweight that caused me hundreds of dollars or thousands of dollars down the line, right? I mean, I think there was a quote that a few months ago that the verge had gotten from an internal meeting at Meta where they had said, people aren't using this long enough. They get it, and then they just kind of ditch it. And I think that's the issue. I don't buy a Nintendo Switch and leave it to sit there. I use it.

AKIKO FUJITA: But is the key with Apple that the usage across the product? So you talked about that, having the headset on and then being able to pick up on what's on the MacBook Pro.

DAN HOWLEY: Right.

AKIKO FUJITA: You've got-- I've got the iPhone, I've got the watch.

DAN HOWLEY: And I think that's one of the things where, you know, Meta has been trying to and, you know, Microsoft tried it with the HoloLens. Meta has been trying to push the enterprise experience, you know, where you can hang out with your coworkers as avatars and everything. Nobody wants to do that, right? Like, it's I don't-- I don't turn my camera on for a reason. I don't want to-- I don't want a virtual version of me to be there either.

What Apple is doing is exactly, as you said, tying it into the broader Apple ecosystem. So there is one demo, and unfortunately, they didn't have this there, when I was trying it out. But you would look down at your MacBook and then the screen would explode, not like explode, but like blow up into a giant like 100-foot MacBook display, right? So everything on my MacBook is now on this, you know, massive screen that I can then use a Bluetooth keyboard. And I can do all my writing. And it's being powered by the MacBook. So it's not relying on the power from the headset.

I could do video editing. I could, you know, do tons of research. You know, grab this thing, move it over here. And I have this over here, I'm watching this movie. I'm bringing this into, you know, this dock. So that really is a powerful perhaps worthwhile experience. Now that they have this or getting it into developer's hands, give me something more. For $3,500, give me something more.

SEANA SMITH: Would you pay $3,500 for how it is?

DAN HOWLEY: I was saying to Akiko before, I'm balking at the price of the Air. And that's, like, what, $1,100, $1,200? So what do you think I'll do with 35? I'm like--

SEANA SMITH: It needs to come down a little bit.

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah, just drop the price a little bit.

SEANA SMITH: Well, it looks cool.

DAN HOWLEY: It does. It's amazing.

SEANA SMITH: Great job out there. You're a one-man man out there, did incredible stuff covering all of that for us. Dan Howley, thanks.

DAN HOWLEY: Thank you.