Meta Quest 3 Gains Vision Pro-Style Features

Meta quietly rolls out Layout, a UI system mirroring Apple's spatial computing vision

Meta Quest 3 Gains Vision Pro-Style Features
Mixed RealityInsights

Published: April 8, 2024


Rory Greener

Recently, reports have emerged that Meta Quest 3 users can now access Layout, an experimental application for the MR headset that seemingly mimics the Apple Vision Pro’s spatial computing user interface (UI) approach.

The Meta Quest 3 storefront now contains the Layout application, touted initially to be released alongside the device’s v60 update. However, Meta quietly debuted it on the store – most recently, updating the service on March 31st – audiences should expect the official and fully optimised solution to drop soon.

What is Meta Layout

Meta Layout seems to adopt Apple’s approach to spatial computing interaction by mimicking the device’s immersive pop-ups surrounding a user on the Vision Pro.

The Vision Pro looks to expand traditional 2D desktop screens, translating desktop icons as interactable AR applications, which users can launch as immersive pop-ups alongside their real-world environment.

Following updates to the Quest 3’s spatial anchoring and AR asset interaction earlier this year, Layout leverages the device’s most recent update to allow users to place and interact with AR/MR assets however they please.

Moreover, the application allows Quest 3 users to scan their environment and objects with it to correct place AR/MR assets that can accurately react to the real world. The services provide Quest 3 users with tools to measure an object’s length and height so that AR/MR assets can exist realistically alongside the immersive visuals.

Meta to Optimise Immersive Object Interaction

Even though the Menlo Park-based firm has not officially released Meta Layout, Meta has worked to optimise its Quest 3 OS to enhance the device’s immersive asset interaction.

Earlier this year, leaks emerged suggesting new features for the Quest 3, just as Apple was poised to debut its headset.

The recent leaks highlight “Augment”, a feature Meta first introduced at Connect 2023. It places spatially anchored visualisations that Quest 3 users can interact with and put around their real-world environment. The leaks confirm Augment’s debut on the MR headset, powered by Spark, the firm’s in-house AR/MR development framework.

Apple Vs Meta

The Vision Pro’s debut has put a lot of industry vendors, veterans, and leaders on the note; the fresh face in the industry is creating buzz due to the firm’s ability to drive interest and investment into its chosen computing segment.

However, Apple’s fresh approach may be concerning for firms like Meta that have invested much time and capital into its XR ambitions, as the Vision Pro looks to own the productivity market. A space that Meta is seemingly failing to grasp.

Therefore, the Layout application could be Meta’s reaction to Apple’s spatial computing approach, with Meta looking to develop a similar MR experience to match.

Moreover, Meta is scaling back features related to its Horizon Workrooms application for enterprise clients. Perhaps in a bid to simplify the service, then, in turn, integrate Layout features to its business-facing solutions – over purely virtual productivity services the firm offered previously.

As of March 30th, Meta removed Workrooms features, including functions such as interactive whiteboards, custom posters logos/environments/layouts, chat files/links, and tracked keyboards. Moreover, Meta has also removed all user data related to these features.

Just days before Meta updated Workrooms, the firm also deleted all Oculus user data on March 28th.

In the future, Quest users will no longer be able to log into their XR devices with an Oculus account. Reports at the time stated that if an Oculus account is deleted, then users will no longer be able to use their Meta Quest alongside a pre-existing Oculus account. While the firm also stated that users “won’t be able to reactivate or retrieve anything from the account,” Meta noted that Oculus account users can migrate their data via Meta’s website.

In a recent blog post highlighting the firm’s ten-year immersive journey, the company teased that new smart glasses are incoming. During the blog post, Meta noted that a new AR device is coming that combines AR and AI in more sophisticated ways.

The blog post also said that just like the smartphone didn’t eliminate laptops or desktop computers, AR glasses won’t be the end of mixed-reality headsets. Instead, we see a constellation of devices forming the future of XR, with AR smart glasses having a broader appeal.

Moreover, the report noted that Meta is “committed to continuing to build out in the open with partners,” notably a partner helping the firm design potential AI immersive smart glasses is LG. With new products and optimised productivity features in the works, Meta may ramp up its systems to take on the growing immersive industry with a paradigm-shifting approach.

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