Got a Meta Quest 3? There are 12 new reasons to get a Quest Plus subscription

Meta Quest 3 and Oculus Quest 2 owners with a Meta Quest Plus subscription are about to get a lot more bang for their buck as the program is getting a Netflix-style catalogue of rotating software.

Previously, Quest Plus owners got two free games a month that they could keep and use for as long as they were subscribed – the software for March 2024 is shooter Contractors and immersive puzzler Shadow Point. Now, on top of those two free VR apps they’ll also get access to a rotating library of other free titles they can enjoy while they’re available at no extra cost.

The current selection of 12 joining the service in March 2024 includes some excellent sports apps in The Climb and Sports Scramble, as well as some of my favorite VR games with Walkabout Mini Golf and Until You Fall.

The first 12 Meta Quest Plus catalogue titles including Demeo, Fruit Ninja, Walkabout Mini Golf and A Township Tale

The first 12 Meta Quest Plus catalogue titles (Image credit: Meta)

If the deal wasn’t sweet enough for you already there’s an extra offer available for people who buy an annual Meta Quest Plus subscription before May 31, 2024 – this includes people who buy new subscriptions, but also existing users who upgrade from a monthly Quest Plus plan.

That’s because you’ll not only get the best-value Meta Quest Plus subscription – paying just $ 59.99 / £59.99 a year instead of the $ 95.88 / £95.88 it’d cost by paying $ 7.99 / £7.99 monthly – but you'll also get $ 25 / £25 store credit to buy any Quest game or app you want.

Unlike the Meta Quest Plus software, you won’t lose access to it when you unsubscribe.

It’s unclear how long apps will be available in the rotating catalogue – if they’ll all change monthly, or if it depends on the specific title title. We also don't know if you'll get a discount on the software if you choose to buy it before it leaves (which is a benefit offered by other similar services). 

At the very least, this catalogue will offer you an extended demo for any games and apps you’re interested in – informing you if it’s worth buying once it’s gone, or not. You might even manage to finish a whole single-player adventure before spending a dime (ignoring the subscription cost).

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The 3 reasons people are sending back their Apple Vision Pro headsets

Apple Vision Pro owners are announcing they’re returning their headsets because they’re disappointed by the experience offered by the $ 3,500 mixed-reality gadget. 

We’ve highlighted the positives and negatives of using the device in our Apple Vision Pro review, but if you’re still on the fence then the reasons people are giving for returning could help you decide if the headset is the right fit for you.

It also might be worth starting to keep an eye on the Apple Store’s refurbished section. While it’ll likely be a while before the Vision Pro appears – and it’ll probably still be fairly pricey – you might be able to buy one of these returned Vision Pros for a discount in the future. 

As an aside, we’ve been impressed with Apple’s refurbished tech; the checks and replacements it makes mean you’re basically getting a new gadget at a lower price so it’s worth checking its refurb store for the Vision Pro or any other piece of Apple tech you’re after before just buying new – provided you aren’t after something super recent.

Anyway, let’s get into why the Vision Pro headset is being returned.

Two Apple Vision Pros on stands with people taking pcitures

Why is the Vision Pro’s popularity waning? (Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

The end of a (trial) era

There are individual reasons people will be looking to return the Apple Vision Pro, and we’ll get to those, but the main reason you’ll be seeing social media post after social media post on the topic right now is because of Apple’s returns policy.

When you buy a new Apple product from its store you have 14 days to be able to send it back and get a full refund. The Apple Vision Pro launched on February 2 so at the time of writing we’re at that two-week mark.

If someone has decided the experience isn’t perfect enough for them to part with $ 3,500 – or more if they bought a model with bigger storage – then it’s getting to the stage where they either have to live with that subpar experience or send the device back.

Apple Vision Pro on a stand showing the Solo Knit band

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

Comfort is king 

As for the specific Apple Vision faults, a lot of people’s problems come down to comfort.

When you’re spending as much as you’re spending on the Vision Pro you’ll probably feel the need to use it a lot to feel your purchase is justified. But as we heard from some early test events that media were invited to the device could be uncomfortable to wear for long stretches – especially when using the Solo Loop band that offers zero over-the-head support.

On top of complaints that it’s too heavy people have said it can cause motion sickness and eye strain. These issues also exist for other VR headsets – especially among people who are new to VR – but the Vision Pro may exacerbate these problems as, again, people are probably immersing themselves for very long stretches to feel like they’re getting the most out of the headset.

Not only in terms of bang for their buck but also for productivity and watching films – the two main Vision Pro uses. Blockbusters can stretch on for two hours or longer, and typical work shifts are eight hours. Even if you are just sitting looking at virtual windows this is a very long time for new users to be spending in VR without long breaks.

Apple Vision Pro apps floating in front of a snowy background

What’s the Vision Pro’s killer app? (Image credit: Future)

What does it do? 

The other frequently cited issue we’ve seen on social media is the lacking software ecosystem. 

The Vision Pro does have a lot of apps (over 1,000 at the time of writing) at its disposal and has some really neat features. But as many reviewers have pointed out – such as The Verge – the majority of those programs are ported over from iPadOS. 

There are some bespoke spatial apps and improvements have been made to make the iPad programs feel more interactive in mixed reality, but when people think of VR software they imagine epic immersive gaming like Asgard’s Wrath 2, fitness apps like Supernatural, or educational adventures like Out of Scale from Kurzgesagt.

The Vision Pro doesn’t have a good answer (or in some cases any answer at all) to these apps that you can find on rival platforms, and unfortunately for Apple, this is something that will take time to change. And if it seems like all you’re getting are iPad apps, why not save a lot of money and just buy an iPad – or even an iPad Pro?

Given that people have to decide to keep or send the device back for a refund now it’s a lot safer to assume the software problems will persist until the next headset or two launch rather than pray some killer exclusive apps are on the horizon and risk wasting $ 3,500.

Two people sit at a desk with a Mac Studio, a Studio Display, and a Vision Pro headset in front of them.

Don’t like the Vision Pro? You can send it back (Image credit: Apple)

More to the story? 

Remember it’s worth taking the posts you see with a pinch or two of salt – and remembering that most people who bought a Vision Pro are probably keeping it.

Apple tech has a lot of devout fans and haters who will engage with every single post they see about people returning the Vision Pro because it either affirms their negative view or because they feel the need to defend the 2.8 trillion dollar company. No matter how someone chooses to respond to the post, their interaction will boost engagement and amplify the voice of what is very likely a minority of Vision Pro users sending the headset back.

We also wouldn’t be surprised if a chunk of people returning the headset always planned to send it back for a refund, and are just giving whatever excuse they can that isn’t “because I can’t actually afford it.”

Apple’s Vision Pro has, as many expected, created a buzz online with post after post going viral – be they someone giving their hands-on impressions, or finding a weird way to use it like that person who walked their robot dog down the street while sporting the Apple headset. There’s also just a certain level of perceived internet clout that comes from being able to show off that you own and have used a $ 3,500 device.

Once you’ve soaked up that early hype and boosted traffic to your socials do you want to be left with a $ 3,500 hole in your wallet? Or would you rather get the boosted attention and not have to spend a dime? 

That’s not to say there aren’t some genuine issues with the Vision Pro, but don’t let all these reports necessarily put you off if you’ve tried it yourself, love it, and want to own one. As these posts have made clear, you do have just under 14 days to use it at home before you’re locked out from a full refund if you decide the Vision Pro isn’t for you after all.

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4 reasons why this AI Godfather thinks we shouldn’t be afraid

Don't you hate it when the godfathers disagree? 

On one side, we have former Google scientist Dr. Geoffrey Hinton warning that we're going too fast and AIs could ruin everything from jobs to truth. On the other side, we find Meta's Yann LeCun.

Both scientists once worked together on Deep Learning advancements that would change the world of AI and triggered the flurry of advancements in AI algorithms and large language models that brought us to this fraught moment.

Hinton delivered his warning earlier this year to The New York Times. Fellow Turing Award-winner LeCun largely countered Hinton and defended AI development in a wide-ranging interview with Wired's Steve Levy.

“People are exploiting the fear about the technology, and we’re running the risk of scaring people away from it,” LeCun told Levy.

LeCun's argument, which in its TLDR form is something making to, “Don't worry, embrace AI,” breaks down into a few key components that may or may not make you think differently.

Open is good

I particularly enjoyed LeCun's open-source argument. He told Levy that if you accept that AI may end up sitting between us and much of our digital experience, it doesn't make sense for a few AI powerhouse companies to control it. “You do not want that AI system to be controlled by a small number of companies on the West Coast of the US,” said LeCun.

Now, this is a guy who works as Meta's Chief AI Scientist. Meta (formerly Facebook) is a big West Coast company (which recently launched its own open-source LLM LLAMA 2). I'm sure the irony is not lost on LeCun but I think he may be targeting OpenAI. The world's leading AI purveyor (maker of ChatGPT and DALL-E, and a major contributor to Microsoft's CoPilot) started as an open and non-profit company. It's now getting a lot of funding from Microsoft (also a big West Coast company) and LeCun claims OpenAI no longer shares its research.

Regulation is probably not the thing

LeCun has been vocal on the subject of AI regulation but maybe not in the way you think. He's basically arguing against it. When Levy asked about all the damage an unregulated and all-powerful AI could do, LeCun insisted that not only are AIs built with guardrails but if these tools are used in industry, they'll have to follow pre-existing and rigid regulations (think the pharmaceutical industry).

“The question that people are debating is whether it makes sense to regulate research and development of AI. And I don't think it does,” LeCun told Wired.

AGI isn't near

There's been a lot of talk in recent months about the potential for Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), which may or may not be much like your own intelligence. Some, including OpenAI's Sam Altman, believe it's on the near horizon. LeCun, though is not one of them.

He argued that we can't even define AGI because human intelligence is not one thing. He has a point there. My intelligence would not be in any way comparable to Einstein's or LeCun's.

You want AI to be smarter than you

There's little question in LeCun's view that AIs will eventually be smarter than humans but he also notes that they will lack the same motivations as us. 

He likens these AI assistants to 'super-smart humans” and added working with them might be like working with super-smart colleagues.

Even with all that intelligence, LeCun insists that these AIs won't have human-like motivations and drives. Global Domination won't be a thing for them simply because they're smarter than us. 

LeCun doesn't discount the idea of programming in a drive (a superseding goal) but sees that as “objective-driven AI” and since part of that objective could be an unbreachable guardrail, the safeguards will be baked in.

Do I feel better? Is less regulation, more open source, and a firmer embrace of AI mediation the path forward to a safer future? Maybe. LeCun certainly thinks so. Wonder if he's spoken to Hinton lately.

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Microsoft introduces Copilot AI to Windows 10 – but there are reasons you might not get it

Windows 10 has now got the Copilot AI with the latest patch for the release version of the OS – or at least some users have.

The cumulative update for December, which just arrived (patch KB5033372), debuts Copilot (in preview) on the desktop, as well as applying the usual security fixes, and a few extra features besides.

Copilot’s icon is positioned on the taskbar, at the far right in the system tray. However, if you don’t see the AI assistant on your taskbar after installing KB5033372, that could be due to a slight complication for Windows 10 users regarding the interface, which we’ll come back to shortly.

Or it might be simply because this is a limited rollout of the AI to begin with. As Microsoft notes: “[Copilot] is available to a small audience initially and deploys more broadly in the months that follow.”

If you do see the Copilot icon, and don’t want the AI on your desktop, the good news is that you can right-click to disable it, as Windows Latest reports.

The December update for Windows 10 also gives the News & Interests panel more screen real-estate, and it introduces another feature from Windows 11 aside from Copilot.

That’s the ‘Get the latest updates as soon as they are available’ option, which as the name suggests, is a way to offer up your PC to get updates as soon as possible – with the catch that you may experience wonkiness as an early adopter. But more choice is always good in our book.

Analysis: Sidestepping Copilot

Copilot is the major move here, of course, but what about that mentioned interface issue? Well, there’s a problem for those who’ve moved their taskbar away from the bottom of the screen, and to the side, in Windows 10. Admittedly, that’s a niche set of users who are seriously into their desktop customization, but still, there are people who will likely be annoyed by this.

Microsoft informs us: “Copilot in Windows (in preview) is not currently supported when your taskbar is located vertically on the right or left of your screen.”

The obvious workaround, as Microsoft points out, is to move your taskbar back to the bottom of the screen (or the top). If you’re a hardcore customizer, though, relocating your taskbar from its preferred vertical position at the sides will probably mess with your mojo and workflow in a meaningful way.

At any rate, Microsoft tells us that it’s working on resolving this hiccup with the UI, and will keep us updated as to the progress on that fix.

The reason this isn’t a problem in Windows 11, by the way, is that you can’t move the taskbar away from the bottom of the desktop (much to the chagrin of those mentioned keen desktop tinkerers).

At the moment, Copilot is only on a limited rollout anyway, and it could take months to arrive on any given Windows 10 PC – but at least the process has now kicked off.

You’re not missing that much, mind, given the AI’s current condition, where it’s basically just a glorified version of the Bing chatbot (now renamed Copilot itself). It can manipulate some Windows settings, but not many to begin with – that functionality will be ramped up as the months pass, though.

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