What you need to know
- Apple’s Vision Pro, an augmented reality headset recently launched, is taking the tech world by storm.
- Microsoft’s HoloLens is an AR headset released almost a decade ago but never hit commercial success with consumers.
- With other competitors entering the AR glasses market like XREAL, Microsoft could tweak the HoloLens platform to be more consumer and app-forward.
The initial Microsoft HoloLens was launched back in 2016 to little fanfare. In 2019, the HoloLens 2 was released, but again, it wasn’t attractive to the consumer market. The devices have been used for military contracts and in corporations for different sectors. Once again, one of Microsoft’s chief competitors took their ideas, improved upon them, and made the tech sleek and shiny to consumers, which seemed to have a hit on their hands.
Apple’s Vision Pro, while costing $3,500, is being seen out in the wild all over social media and the internet, and influencers and TikTok videos are doing a great job at selling the concept of augmented reality glasses. A video that hits a bit too close to home with the failings of Microsoft products discusses how the HoloLens should be better than the Apple Vision Pro but, in reality, falls short in many ways.
Is HoloLens 2 better than the Apple Vision Pro?
The painfully obvious truth here is no. The technology might be better as it usually is with Microsoft hardware, but implementation, follow-through, and continued support are far behind the newly released Vision Pro.
This video is obviously made in jest, as this YouTuber pretends to be a member of Microsoft. Some points are valid, though, and highlight where the company could turn the HoloLens 3 into a better, more consumer-friendly product than the Vision Pro, as with the Windows Phone and Microsoft Surface before.
As pointed out in the video, it wouldn’t be an Apple product without some exceptionally absurdly priced accessories and ‘solutions’ to problems engineered by Apple, like not being able to wear glasses inside the headset and requiring expensive custom prescription magnetic lenses to use with the Apple Vision Pro.
Is Microsoft making a HoloLens 3?
In August of 2023, we discussed a new patent showing the HoloLens 3 could be made more affordable. This is the real move that Microsoft needs to make if they want to blaze forward in the AR glasses market. With new entrants into the AR market, with XREAL’s Air 2 Ultra coming in at $799, there is a lower entry point for the market than the insane $3500 that both the HoloLens 2 and Apple Vision Pro are currently occupying.
Wondering if you should pick up a pair of XREAL’s Air 2 Ultra glasses or the Apple Vision Pro? Check out our extensive comparison between the two devices. While we are all waiting to see what Microsoft does with the next HoloLens, and hopefully has some integration with Xbox, I have a hard time recommending the Apple Vision Pro, but if you want to try out a pair of the XREAL Air 2 Ultra’s they seem to be awesome devices, and you can pick them up at XREAL’s site.
I’ve been thinking about picking up a used HoloLens 2 if I could find a good deal on one. However, I started doing some research, and unfortunately, outside of corporate or bespoke software, there aren’t really any apps on the device. It’s funny that Apple only put basic apps on the Vision Pro, and it’s being seen as the next great thing. AR might be the true next frontier, especially over virtual reality. It will be interesting to see if Microsoft can evolve to compete in the AR space.
Maria Malik is your guide to the immersive world of Virtual Reality (VR). With a passion for VR technology, she explores the latest VR headsets, applications, and experiences, providing readers with in-depth reviews, industry insights, and a glimpse into the future of virtual experiences.