Is Meta (Facebook) going to beat Apple in a future tech race? A look at Project Nazare

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Is Meta (Facebook) going to beat Apple in a future tech race? A look at Project Nazare
So a lot of us are excited about the newly-released Galaxy S22 smartphones, and the upcoming iPhone 14, but looking further into the future – AR is moving ever so closer to a boom, potentially changing our world.

What's AR? Augmented reality, and by many accounts, your favorite smartphone brands, and tech brands in general, are already either working on it and being open about it, or working on it in relative secrecy. Either way, most, if not all of them – are investing into this potential "next big thing".

Over the past months we already covered the Apple AR glasses several times. And the reason – as smartphone enthusiasts, those are currently the most exciting ones to look forward to, especially considering Apple CEO Tim Cook's promising words about AR, and the many Apple AR device patents we've been seeing.

But of course, it's not just Apple working on wearable AR devices. Another goliath of a company, that recently changed its name from Facebook to Meta, is also working on what it calls Project Nazare. And that's just what we'll familiarize ourselves with today.

Even if you feel like you don't care about neither VR (virtual reality) nor AR right now, but you are interested in where consumer technology might be headed – as a looker into the future you will definitely find learning about Project Nazare interesting.

After all, again – there's a good chance AR is the future, even if the world doesn't know it yet!

The Meta AR glasses explained, and what makes them exciting

Meta's Project Nazare, or what surely many would call it – Facebook's AR glasses, will essentially show their wearer holograms mixed with the real world, which is pretty much what the term "augmented reality" also means.

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Whether you'll be interacting with floating YouTube videos while cooking a meal in your kitchen simultaneously, attending a sporting event as a hologram yourself, or meeting friends half a world away from you, again in a hologram form… Well, that's all under the umbrella of AR.

What Meta's AR project aims to bring is pretty similar to what Apple's AR glasses will also provide – smartphone features, but in a whole new way.

Connecting with friends and using the internet in general will never be the same again, once these giant companies start releasing their cutting-edge AR glasses, and as Tim Cook once said on the subject of AR – "[AR] will happen, it will happen in a big way, and we will wonder when it does, how we ever lived without it. Like we wonder how we lived without our phone today."

But a picture's worth a thousand words, and what's a video, but a whole lot of sequential pictures… So let's just watch a video from Facebook and see what it aims to bring with Project Nazare.

You can see Facebook's exact vision… Oops, I meant to say Meta's exact vision for what its augmented reality glasses will offer you – the consumer, and everyone you know – in the company's recent "Gaming in the metaverse" video below:

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Interestingly, in a very Apple fashion, Meta has disabled the comments under the video, likely to prevent criticism or any potential negativity being attached to this project. Because yes, especially at first glance, AR coming from Meta (Facebook) may not be everyone's favorite idea…

But it's coming nonetheless. And speaking of which – when?

Will the Meta AR glasses beat Apple's AR glasses to market?

So, when exactly will you be able to put on a pair of (unusually thick and heavy) glasses crammed with tech, and pretty much begin living in the Bladerunner movies by seeing and interacting with holograms, mixed with your real-world surroundings?

Well, Apple has been very quiet about its AR glasses, but we do know, based on CEO Tim Cook's mentions and the Cupertino company's released patents that it has been working on AR for at least five years now. There's a reasonable chance Apple's AR glasses will actually be unveiled as soon as sometime this year!

Digitimes released a report from late 2021 supporting that theory, saying that Apple's first AR headset has completed the second phase of prototype testing and will be released during the second half of 2022. In addition, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, a respected tech analyst who's been reliable with his predictions in the past, has suggested a similar Apple AR glasses release date – sometime in the coming months.

As for Meta's AR glasses – well, those might be even further in development and come out, or at least be unveiled as a near-complete prototype even sooner.

Supporting that theory is the fact that Meta's actually had a much earlier start than Apple when it comes to wearable AR and VR.

Long before Facebook rebranded under the new Meta name, the company famously acquired Oculus back in 2014. And Oculus is one legendary VR company! Thanks in big part to it and its VR headsets, VR has now become quite a popular home entertainment format.

It's also worth noting that Oculus' latest consumer-friendly and standalone VR headset – the Android-powered Oculus Quest 2 – is actually capable of delivering an AR experience, which I've written about, and is promising! Impressive, even, considering that device wasn't even meant to do AR, just VR gaming.

Now, considering Meta owns about 10 years of experience in VR, in the face of its Oculus asset, while Apple has likely been working on AR for just about 5 years, it's reasonable to expect Facebook to beat Apple to the punch.

In any case, we can reasonably expect 2022 to be pretty exciting, the beginning of something new – a new era of consumer AR technology that will slowly but surely replace our smartphones. Just like smartphones slowly replaced many people's actual phones, calculators, MP3 players, TVs and even computers…

If you're interested in Meta's long-version of what it wants to achieve with AR, check out its nearly hour-and-a-half "The Metaverse and How We'll Build It Together" video below.

It covers a huge range of AR possibilities, from the obvious – AR gaming and socializing, to AR fitness, AR in education, and more. But of course, how far along this vision of AR actually is, only Meta knows…

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Want to learn more about Apple's AR glasses?

We didn't go over Apple's AR glasses too much in this one, but if you're eager to learn more about those, we've covered them before. Check out:

And share with us – what do you think about AR? And do you believe Facebook will beat Apple in the race to release the first consumer-friendly AR glasses? Or maybe Samsung will come out of nowhere with a pair, beating both, just like it surpassed every other major brand in the foldable phone race?

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