Here we go again:

"I don’t just think that Quest is the better value, I think Quest is the better product, period."

Look, I actually don't disagree with Mark Zuckerberg's overall stance here. Meta's Quest, as it stands right now on February 13, 2024 is a better overall product than Apple's Vision Pro. The Quest is also 11 years old.1 The Vision Pro is 11 days old.

I mean, you better hope your decade-old product is a more complete product than a brand new one in its infancy. Or you have a much larger issue as it relates to product development and roadmaps and yes, vision.

I continue to dislike Zuckerberg's tone in giving such statements. Yes, it's awesome for the press and public that he's giving them – basically no one listening to their corporate comms department would ever be allowed to say such things. Of course, when you're in total control of your company, and on an incredible upswing, as Zuckerberg is right now... Well, I'm guessing he's feeling pretty emboldened at the moment. And clearly even more so after using the Vision Pro this past week, as many of us have. And again, I get it – more thoughts soon! – but if you're Zuckerberg, you have to play this out in your head.

Beyond the mildly corny, clearly canned video – he's saying interesting things, but not in an authentic enough manner, IMO – he continues to run a real risk of this all coming back to bite him in the ass. Steve Ballmer laughed off the iPhone – but actually, his stance at the time was quite reasonable! The first iPhone was too expensive (relative to the market). So much so that Apple rather quickly dropped the price. But no one remembers that. They just remember the dismissive laugh.

The RIM guys took similar approaches in attacking the early iPhone. Because, yes, the BlackBerry was a more complete overall product than the infant iPhone. Guess what? Where they were in June 2007 didn't really matter. Before long, all those RIM jobs would be gone. And Apple would be a $3 trillion company.

Newsflash: Zuckerberg isn't a moron. He has to know the risk in making such statements, or he's getting bad PR advice – or, perhaps more likely, he's not listening to the PR advice here. Again, maybe he's just feeling cocky. Or maybe it is a calculated risk to move some Quest units now. And I do like his casual "and it's like seven times less expensive" remark – the most natural and humorously dismissive part of his spiel. But if he think's Apple isn't going to iterate quickly here, he's nuts.

The question, of course, is how fast Apple will iterate. And I think that's a far more interesting one than how this first Vision Pro compares to a far more tested Quest. Don't get me wrong, that comparison does matter – especially for consumers thinking about diving into XR/Spatial Computing right now. But the price difference is so great that I'm honestly not sure Zuckerberg even has to say much. Just let the Vision Pro's wake raise the waters for the entire market and be there with the not insanely expensive option. Cha-ching.

His "I know that some fanboys get upset when anyone dares to question if Apple is gonna be the leader in a new category" comment is decidedly not helpful. This is a dismissal as old as time. Or at least as old as blogging. "Apple's products are not that good, it's just irrational 'fanboys' who are brainwashed and try to brainwash you," is the general vibe. Again, this is a $3 trillion company. Either the brainwashing is working to an extent that someone should investigate such witchcraft or there's something more to the company than smoke and mirrors.

Then we move on to "open vs. closed" blah blah blah. It's obviously not that black and white and we'll see how it plays out. But it's probably not going to play out exactly as things stand right now, on February 12, 2024, again, is my point.

One point Alex Heath makes:

But what Zuckerberg doesn’t say in his video is that Apple has obvious hardware and developer ecosystem advantages, the latter of which takes time to rev up with a new product category like this. Meta may be breathing a sigh of relief right now. But this is a game of endurance. And the headset wars are just beginning.

I would just add one more in here, and it's not only a big one, it's arguably the most important one in the long run: Apple's product distribution power. The company has the single best commerce capabilities to move anything. And, you might argue, their retail footprint is more important than it has ever been for a product like this, where seeing is believing. Meta has a few stores here and there. And some partnerships. But nothing like what Apple has. Throw Apple's marketing muscle into the mix and...

Again, all this may not matter too much for v1 of the Vision Pro. But v2 and v3? How is Zuckerberg going to feel on, say, February 13, 2027 about all of this? Quite different, I imagine.

It's entirely possible that Meta wins this particular race. There are issues galore as I see it – now quite literally; again, more thoughts to come – with the Vision Pro. But it's v1. It's almost more like v0. It's sort of weird Apple shipped it, to be honest. But now that they have, they'll iterate faster as a result. Mark Zuckerberg, beware.

1 Yes, this is counting the Oculus iterations from the Rift forward.