Meta Unveils New Mixed Reality Headset in Push for Traction on Metaverse - Kanebridge News
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Meta Unveils New Mixed Reality Headset in Push for Traction on Metaverse

Facebook parent also showcases AI assistants for social apps, new Ray-Ban smart glasses

By SALVADOR RODRIGUEZ
Thu, Sep 28, 2023 8:01amGrey Clock 3 min

Facebook parent Meta Platforms on Wednesday announced the release date of its coming Quest 3 mixed-reality headset and new Ray-Ban smart glasses along with a bevy of AI assistants for its social apps.

“The limits of your physical space are going to be able to expand,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said when announcing the new products. “You’re going to be able to be a part of much larger worlds.”

The company is hoping the devices will jump-start its push to bring users into the so-called metaverse, an effort on which it has spent billions of dollars and seen limited returns. Apple is set to release its Vision Pro headset in 2024, years after Zuckerberg renamed the company in an attempt to focus on what he’s said may be the next emerging computing platform.

The Quest 3 will place an emphasis on the ability for users to work or play in apps that overlay virtual objects within users’ physical spaces, Zuckerberg said. The headset will begin shipping to users on Oct. 10, with preorders for the $499 device starting on Wednesday. Zuckerberg said the device will place emphasis on the ability for users to work or play in apps that project virtual objects within users’ physical spaces.

Zuckerberg said the company designed the device to have the “world’s best immersive content library.” As part of the presentation, Zuckerberg showed a demonstration of a Lego game and announced that Meta has joined with Microsoft to bring Xbox Cloud Gaming to the device in December. Additionally, Microsoft 365 will come to the Quest by the end of the year, Zuckerberg said.

The Quest 3 “is going to be the best value spatial computing headset on the market for a long time to come,” said Meta Chief Technology Officer Andrew Bosworth, adding that the device features no wires or a battery pack, a shot at Apple’s Vision Pro device. That headset will cost $3,499.

Meta will also release the second generation of its Ray-Ban smart glasses on Oct. 17 for $299. The Wall Street Journal had previously reported that the devices would arrive as soon as this fall.

The second generation Ray-Ban smart glasses will allow users to livestream their perspective to their followers. The new smart glasses will include a 36-hour battery life and will be available in more Ray-Ban models than its predecessor.

The device will also come equipped with Meta AI, an artificial-intelligence assistant announced by Zuckerberg on Wednesday. Users will also be able to point at objects or landmarks they are looking at and ask Meta AI for information about it.

“Smart glasses are the ideal form factor to let an AI assistant see what you’re seeing and hear what you’re hearing,” Zuckerberg said.

Meta AI is built on the company’s Llama 2 large-language model and is a general purpose AI assistant that can answer user questions within Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. Meta AI will be able to provide users with real-time information through a partnership with Microsoft Bing, Zuckerberg said.

Additionally, Meta announced that it will also release 28 AI chatbots that users will be able to interact with. Meta joined with a number of celebrities, including Tom Brady, Paris Hilton and Snoop Dogg, whose faces provide facial expressions as users interact with the chatbots. The Journal had previously reported that Meta would release AI chatbots with personalities.

“This is our first effort at training a bunch of AIs that are a bit more fun,” Zuckerberg said, adding that they will have a number of limitations that will become apparent to users.

Zuckerberg said the AI chatbots will be released in a limited beta mode on Wednesday.

In addition to the chatbots, Zuckerberg announced EMU, an AI model capable of taking users’ text prompts and turning them into images within five seconds. EMU, which won’t be open sourced, will be integrated within Meta AI and will roll out to English-speaking users over the next month, starting on Wednesday. The image-generating model will allow users to create custom stickers they can send to friends, and it will also allow users to edit their images on Instagram next month, Zuckerberg said.

—Meghan Bobrowsky contributed to this article.



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From Gucci to Valentino, designers have a new ethos: Fun

By JACOB GALLAGHER
Wed, Jun 19, 2024 3 min

Not long ago, designer Jonathan Anderson attended a music festival where he surveyed the crowd and thought, Now this is where all the fashion has been lurking.

“I saw more people dressing more in high fashion than actually what was happening in fashion,” said Anderson , who designs the British clothing brand JW Anderson, as well as LVMH’s Loewe.

The free expression of these festival goers stuck with Anderson as it clashed with the risk-shy attitude that has guided much of luxury fashion in recent years. “I wonder,” said Anderson this past weekend in Milan, “has fashion become so conservative whereas what’s happening out there is actually way more avant-garde?”

Just a couple of years ago in Milan, “quiet luxury” was on the tip of everyone’s tongue. This collocation was a simplistic shorthand for where fashion was going: pricey but prim; light on logos but heavy on the wallet; all cashmere everything in gray, beige, navy.

Fashion is a creative industry and designers can only cup their mouths for so long. At the latest edition of Milan men’s fashion week, shouts in the form of new, notice-me clothes broke out from the runways.

“People want uniqueness, maybe they want something which is challenging somehow,” said Anderson, speaking after the latest JW Anderson show, which was widely held up as the most successful collection of a muddled Milanese sprint.

Highlights included winsome cardigans with children’s book depictions of London terrace houses, leather jackets contorted by ski-slope-like hems and a kitschy sweater showing a smirking pint of Guinness—an upmarket riff on a Dublin tourist souvenir.

The day after Anderson’s show, came the surprise online release of a bulging 171-outfit lookbook from Valentino, the first stab from the label’s new creative director Alessandro Michele, who helped lift Gucci to a more than $10-billion brand before leaving in 2022.

At Gucci, Michele ushered in a maximalist fashion moment, and based on this initial showing, his taste for theatrics is intact. Against a backdrop of winter-mint curtains, feather-haired models (often wearing gigundo nerd glasses and hoops of pearls) sported floppy dog-ear ties, Kermit-green suits and tapestry prints. Flipping through the collection, all the tired but fitting Michele comparisons came rushing back: Wes Anderson films, kooky grandmothers and leopard-clad psych-rock bands.

Model on the runway at the Gucci fashion show during Milan Fashion Week Menswear Spring/Summer 2025 held at Triennale di Milano on June 17, 2024 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Aitor Rosas Sune/WWD via Getty Images)

Valentino, which is part-owned by Kering, also made its commercial intentions clear by sending out 93 close-up photos spotlighting easy-to-buy accessories like V-logoed sandals and rectangular handbags.

Notably, Sabato de Sarno, the still newish creative director who replaced Michele at Gucci, seemed to be shrugging off his own restraints. Neither De Sarno nor François-Henri Pinault, CEO of Gucci parent company Kering, spoke to the press after the show, but the collection was a departure from the brand’s recent strategy of focusing on classic, trend-agnostic pieces that cater to older, wealthier clients.

De Sarno’s surf-inspired offering bounded between skin-revealing mesh polo shirts, skimpy thigh-high shorts and camp-collared shirts with blooming hibiscus flowers prints. It would be hard to imagine much of it on anyone over 29. (Actor Paul Mescal, 28, was already in the front row in a pair of those shorty shorts.)

Youthful abandon was the theme at Gucci’s mightiest Milanese competitor, Prada. “Sometimes when you get older you start to overthink a lot and you limit yourself,” said Raf Simons, who is co-creative of the brand with Miuccia Prada , the grand doyenne of Italian fashion. “When you are young, you just go. We like that spirit.”

Models wore navel-exposing shrunken sweaters and pre-wrinkled sportcoats, a seeming nod to teens who haven’t yet learned the wonders of ironing. A lurid palette of hot pink and electric blue spoke to juvenile fashion experimentation.

Throughout the long weekend in Milan, the feeling settled in that this new, shoutier tone was a necessary course correction during an unsteady period for the apparel industry, and really, Europe at large.

The chatter of the front row centred on this month’s European Union elections which saw a surge in support for right-wing candidates, catching pundits and leaders like French President Emmanuel Macron by surprise. Inflation also remains stubbornly high.

Pressingly, for the fashion world, some of the world’s largest luxury labels have been reporting a glut of unsold products and a dearth of shoppers. Past strategies don’t seem to be working and one could tell that brands were ready to try anything to spur shoppers to spend a bit more.

Even at Zegna, a label so synonymous with quiet luxury that the cast of “Succession” wore it on that money-mad show, the clothes were more conspicuous. In between its Learjet-bound sotto voce suits, one found vivacious coral patterned jackets in blue and yellow.

“For sure playing more with colors and prints, we had fun,” said Zegna’s artistic director Alessandro Sartori following his show. “It’s a sense of freedom that I wanted to express.”