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Zuckerberg thinks Apple is making aggressive moves now to control the metaverse

The Meta Quest Pro, in simulated use

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg sat down for an hour-long discussion and held court on Facebook's future, the new Meta Quest Pro — and the moves Apple is making that have hurt his company.

An interview with Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg was held in the shadow of the release of the $1499 Meta Quest Pro, the company's first mixed reality headset intended for enterprise and professionals. The hour-long discussion ranged far, with the social media giant's CEO opining on a wide array of topics — including Apple.

Meta has made it clear that the efforts it began when it acquired Oculus are only the beginning. The hardware is new, the software doesn't exist yet, and there are still some big decisions for consumers and companies to make as it regards the "metaverse" as a concept.

"As we see this play out, is that in each generation of computing that I've seen so far — PCs, mobile — there's basically an open ecosystem and there's a closed ecosystem. So in PCs, it was Windows and Mac. In mobile, it was Android and iPhone," Zuckerberg philosophized. "In the closed ecosystem, very tightly integrated, relatively insular, a lot of the value basically just flows toward the closed ecosystem over time."

Zuckerberg says he's trying to build the entire ecosystem from the ground up. H stops short of discussing if it will be more open like Mac and Windows, or closed like iOS.

"I think that we're still early in the story, so I think that there are pieces of this that we've had to build just because there's no ecosystem yet," Zuckerberg said. "But our goal is to basically be able to spread that out over time."

And, he had thoughts about how Apple is handling its closed ecosystem. Alluding to Apple entering the marketplace with a product relatively soon, he's clear that he thinks that Apple is making moves to handicap Meta in the marketplace now, financially and otherwise.

"I think to some degree, it's really hard to know what documents or conversations they have that either connect or don't these different parts of the strategy," Zuckerberg posits. "It's certainly plausible that they see this competition in the future and want to hinder us."

When asked about the hit to finances that Zuckerberg attributed to Apple's anti-tracking moves, Zuckerberg responds with his view of what Apple is doing — and why.

"I mean, I do think that one thing that's been pretty clear is that their motives in doing what they're doing aren't as altruistic as they claim them to be," Zuckerberg again suggests. "I'm sure they believe at some level in the things that they're doing and think that they're good for their customers, but it can't just be a coincidence that it also aligns very well with their strategy."

"It's hard for me to go too deep on this because, I mean, I don't work at Apple," he added. "I don't know them that well. And, at the end of the day, I can't really control what they do."

The interview by The Verge also briefly touches on the economics of the new headset at present, but Zuckerberg is less clear on actual use cases for the gear. Like Apple CEO Tim Cook has made clear, Zuckerberg also believes that the technology will be compelling at some point, but at present, delivering a "sense of presence" isn't there yet.

Apple reportedly demonstrated its head-worn wearable to its eight board members in May 2022, a report recently claimed. That alone is a sign that the device, which has cranked the rumor mill for years, has reached an advanced stage of development.

In addition to work on the actual device, Apple has reportedly ramped up development of the headset's operating system, which is said to be called "RealityOS."

The Apple VR headset is expected to be a premium device that's lighter and more comfortable to wear than competing visors. It's rumored to feature a pair of 4K OLED displays, 15 different camera modules, and powerful silicon more akin to Apple's M1 than its A series of chips.

Additionally, it's expected to have advanced functionality such as eye tracking and support for detecting hand gestures. The headset won't come cheap, with an expected price of around $3,000.

The device could be followed by a much smaller and more augmented reality-focused "Apple Glass" model, though rumors of that device have recently slowed. The $3,000 MR headset is said to be more focused on gaming and VR experiences.

"I think AR is a profound technology that will affect everything," Cook said in a recent interview. "Imagine suddenly being able to teach with AR and demonstrate things that way. Or medically, and so on. Like I said, we are really going to look back and think about how we once lived without AR."