Meta envisions its own ‘iPhone moment’ with fully fledged AR glasses in 2027

The glasses, in development under the codename Orion, will reportedly be capable of projecting holograms onto the real world.

Meta’s employees might get a chance to test the company’s first fully fledged AR glasses during an “internal launch” next year, but the product will not be released to the wider public until 2027, according to a leaked internal presentation seen by The Verge.

The glasses, said to have been in development for eight years, will be capable of projecting high-quality avatar holograms onto the real world in what Meta expects to be a revolutionary tech moment akin to an iPhone launch in 2007.

Believing AR glasses could be technology’s next big thing and replace smartphones, CEO Mark Zuckerberg sees it as Meta’s chance to have its own “iPhone moment,” according to sources in the company cited by The Verge earlier.

With Apple rumored to be releasing its mixed reality headset later this year, the iPhone maker seems keen to keep that moment for itself. Other companies, including Microsoft and Samsung, are in the race. The latter partnered with Qualcomm and Google earlier this year to develop mixed reality.

Meta hopes to capitalize on its early mover’s advantage – if it gets it right, that is. Its VR headsets have been released to mixed reviews and are doing less well than the company’s executives would like, with 20 million Quest headsets sold to date.

The number was confirmed in the leaked presentation that shared details of Meta’s hardware plans with thousands of employees in its Reality Labs division, responsible for the company’s AR and VR development.

The employees were told that Meta’s flagship Quest 3 headset was coming later this year and would be two times thinner, twice as powerful, and slightly more expensive than Quest 2 released in 2020.

A more “accessible” Ventura headset is also in the pipeline for 2024. It will be followed at an as of yet unspecified date by Meta’s “most advanced” headset, codenamed La Jolla, that would feature photo-realistic avatars.

Less sophisticated models will also precede flagship Orion glasses. The second-generation camera-equipped Ray-Bans will launch this fall, while third-generation smart glasses with a display and “neural interface” smartwatch to control them are planned for release in 2025.

Meta's bet on the metaverse resulted in a loss of $14 billion last year. As a result, the company was forced to cut thousands of jobs.

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