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Zuckerberg wants an 'iPhone moment' when Meta launches AR glasses in 2024

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(Image credit: Meta)

What you need to know

  • The Verge reports that Meta plans to release three standalone augmented reality glasses models in 2024, 2026, and 2028.
  • Meta also plans to release another AR glasses model, codenamed Hypernova, that pairs with your smartphone.
  • Meta will use an Android OS spinoff for its AR OS, having abandoned plans for its own system.

Meta internally hopes to sell "tens of millions of smart glasses" by 2030, The Verge (opens in new tab) reports. The tech site acquired Meta's internal roadmap for its AR ambitions, while revealing that CEO Mark Zuckerberg's intense interest in the project is likened to "the eye of Sauron" by former employees.

Meta's first AR glasses are slated to arrive in 2024, and one Meta ex-employee told The Verge that Zuckerberg "wants it to be an iPhone moment." The 1st-gen Nazare glasses will work independently from your smartphone, and Zuckerberg reportedly hopes it will help Meta "get out from under the thumb of Apple and Google."

Reportedly, the first-gen Nazare glasses will have a four-hour battery life, eye tracking, a front-facing camera, microLED projectors, and stereo audio built into the frame.

We learned last month Meta had scrapped plans for its own VR/AR OS, reassigning hundreds of employees. Now we know from this report that Meta did this because the OS wouldn't have been ready by 2024. Instead, like the Quest 2, the first Meta AR glasses will use a spun-off Android OS.

That same year, Meta reportedly plans to release Hypernova, AR glasses with a smaller display than Nazare that pairs with your smartphone and displays notifications in your field of view. It also plans to release new Ray-Ban Stories glasses as well. 

It's fair to compare this plan to the Oculus Rift, Quest, and Go released in close succession to one another. Meta clearly wants to throw different AR glasses at the wall and see what price point and form factor sticks with consumers.

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(Image credit: Meta)

From there, The Verge claims, Meta plans to ship a "lighter, more advanced design" in 2026 and a third design in 2028. 

With the first glasses as an expensive prototype, it'll be interesting to see how many sell when people know a better version is on the way. Apparently, Meta itself thinks Nazare 1.0 will only sell in the "low tens of thousands" at first.

We know from Meta's last earnings report that the company lost $10 billion on AR/VR last year, despite record-breaking Quest 2 sales. Its Project Cambria headset may offset that somewhat, but with huge R&D costs and with AR glasses not expected to make huge profits for years, it'll be intriguing to see whether Zuckerberg's single-minded AR vision bears fruit or not.

Michael spent years freelancing on every tech topic under the sun before settling down on the real exciting stuff: virtual reality, fitness wearables, gaming, and how tech intersects with our world. He's a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves running, D&D, and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at @Michael_L_Hicks.