Will the Orion AR glasses be the Meta product to knock our socks off in 2024?

Will the Orion AR glasses be the Meta product to knock our socks off in 2024?
Okay, so: the Quest 3 is great. Arguably the best VR headset that you can get and in practice, something vastly different from the Vision Pro. Both of them are rather big and clunky, but only one of them is trying to make your day to day life easier.

And given that to most of us, our daily routines don't include a hefty amount of VR gaming, I’m talking about the Vision Pro. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to see a similar concept from Meta too, given the company’s expertise in the XR industry.

And Meta’s CTO — Andrew “Boz” Bosworth — obliged several times now, confirming that a pair of astoundingly-awesome AR glasses exist at Meta HQ. But he was also adamant that we won’t see them anytime soon, which only made me want to ask Andy why he had told us in the first place.

But you know what? A new report suggests that we may actually get to see them this year.

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This is what smart glasses were all about in 2023 and I’m already ready for us to move on.

So, in case you haven’t caught up with recent events, Andrew Bosworth has a habit of doing AMA (ask me anything) sessions over on Instagram. Thus far, he has brought up a pair of smart Meta-made AR glasses several times, but he called them “the most advanced thing that we’ve ever produced as a species” just once.

Which, if you’re like me, kind of gets you amped up to see them.

And this new report then talks about a conceptual AR glasses prototype called “Orion”. More specifically: about how we may get to see Orion — even at its current, unfinished state, which is something that Meta is historically totally okay with doing — during Meta’s Connect event for 2024.

Oh, and for the record, that’s when Zuck kicks off a huge, multi-day online event about all things Meta, with a huge focus on AR/VR.

Okay then, the obvious question: could Orion be the amazing pair of AR glasses that Boz mentioned numerous times on Instagram? Or could it be another iteration of Nazare — an earlier AR prototype?

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A recording from a stream, on which Zuckerberg talked about project Nazare. 

Well, yesn’t. By which I mean that we won’t know until we see the thing, if that happens at all. For all we know, Nazare could have evolved to become Orion and Orion could be the precursor to whatever Bosworth was talking about during the livestreams. 

An interesting part of the report specifies that Orion is meant to be a "true pair of AR glasses" and not a HUD-based system, such as Google Glass (RIP). And I find that mention fascinating, because a modern pair of AR glasses should be able to do both, but with spatial computing thrown in the mix, right? 

This is what I mean: if I'm wearing AR glasses, I'd want them to be able to act as my real-life HUD, guiding me on my path, displaying a shopping list while I'm at the store and even giving me weather updates. But then, it should be able to switch modes for more spatial stuff, like making a virtual workspace. Or playing next-gen Pokémon Go, which I'm hoping for. 

The difference is that only one of those modes requires spatial computing, which would not only alleviate the AR glasses' workload (hopefully increasing battery life) to an extent where they could be able to display a HUD without a wired connection to your phone. Maybe even standalone, that would be cool, right? 

With some luck, we’ll find out what all of this means when Meta Connect 2024 happens. Historically, the event takes place during fall, around September or Spooctober, so we have quite a lot of ground to cover before then. Maybe we’ll hear more about Orion before then.
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