Meta Quest 3’s next update steals the Vision Pro’s best productivity feature… kinda

The Meta Quest 3 looks set to be taking yet another step towards being an Apple Vision Pro that doesn’t cost $ 3,499 / £3,499 / AU$ 5,999, by taking yet another feature from the Apple headset for itself.

This time it's a new window layout style, though it’s not really fair to say Meta is stealing this idea from Apple, merely improving its current approach. Rather than simply having three 2D apps docked side by side in fixed positions (which is what is currently possible on the Meta Quest 3 and other Meta headsets), you can now have three windows that are freely placeable anywhere in your virtual home office, and another three docked – making a total of six.

The experimental setting has been unlocked as part of the HoizonOS v67 update which is currently in beta for members of the Meta Quest Public Test Channel. Clips of people testing it out also show users switching the windows between curved and flat, as well as a feature that can lower the brightness of 2D environments – though this doesn’t work if you’re using the windows in mixed reality with passthrough.

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While this does bring the Quest 3 closer to matching the Vision Pro’s approach to 2D apps in a 3D space, it’s not quite one-to-one yet. The biggest difference is if you stray too far from a window it returns to its default docked position on the Quest 3 – whereas on Vision Pro you can leave windows in their custom floating positions indefinitely like they’re real objects.

That said, it’s also worth noting the Meta Quest 3 only costs $ 499.99 / £479.99 / AU$ 799.99, so it’s forgiven for not being a direct copy.

A closing gap

The Apple Vision Pro will always be better than the Meta Quest 3 on a technical level with its vastly better displays and chipset. But Apple hasn’t done enough to leverage its advantages in ways that matter, but that was probably always going to be the case.

The Vision Pro with its eye-tracking, laptop-level power, focus on less active XR experiences, and approach to hand-tracking offers app developers a vast array of tools to create interesting software for the device. 

However, what makes the headset unique is also its downfall – it’s too dissimilar to its rivals. If you make a VR app that takes full advantage of the Vision Pro it probably won’t be well suited to other platforms (and vice versa). So if you’re weighing up your options, making a non-Vision Pro app just makes more financial sense as it can run on more popular platforms; that is, unless Apple is offering some kind of financial incentive.

A Meta Quest 3 user throwing a giant die onto a virtual medieval tabletop game board full of castles, wizards and knights

Demeo is great, but the Apple Vision Pro needed more than this (Image credit: Meta)

Some classic VR games and apps have started to get Vision Pro ports, but they are in small numbers and have trickled in months after the headset launched and the hype has died down.

Instead, most of the apps that it can run are XR versions of iPad and Mac apps which begs the question of what you really gain from buying a Vision Pro – especially as you likely already have those other gadgets, or could buy them for less than the cost of Apple’s headset.

Meta on the other hand has continued to fund exciting exclusive apps – we’re getting a bonafide Batman: Arkham game to name a recent example. At the same time, it's rolling out monthly major software updates that have only narrowed the gap between the Vision Pro and Quest 3.

We’ll have to wait and see how things continue the rest of the year and beyond, but my advice remains the same as it always has: if you want to try VR then get a Quest 3 or Quest 2 – there’s no good reason to get a Vision Pro instead.

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Windows 11 steals a great Microsoft Teams feature for better video calls

Windows 11 is set to get one of Microsoft Team’s best features, thanks to “Voice Clarity”, which will use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to make your voice in calls and recordings much clearer.

Microsoft Teams, an app that many people use for video calls, has a very similar feature that does an excellent job at minimizing and eliminating background noises for people in noisy environments, ensuring they can be heard clearly.

With the feature being so acclaimed, it’s little surprise to see Microsoft bring it to the wider Windows 11 operating system, which would allow the feature to work with other video calling apps. Voice Clarity was announced at Microsoft’s recent ‘Hybrid Work’ event as one of the ways the company is making its products better for people who are now spending their time working from home, as well as in an office.

While the noise-canceling features in Microsoft Teams have proved popular, there’s not a huge amount of love for the application itself, so bringing it to Windows 11 itself could prove a popular move.


Analysis: There’s always a catch

Surface Laptop Studio

(Image credit: Future)

While the idea of making Voice Clarity available to more apps and users, the catch is that at the moment, the feature will only work on the Surface Laptop Studio, a relatively niche product from Microsoft.

That’s certainly a shame, as it means that the vast majority of Windows 11 users still won’t be able to make use of the feature.

It’s a bit of a puzzling decision, and we’ve contacted Microsoft to ask why this is the case. It may be due to some hardware-specific requirements that only the Surface Laptop Studio has. Or, Microsoft could just be limiting the availability of the feature to help boost interest in the Surface Laptop Studio.

But, with an increasing number of us relying on video calls for keeping in contact with friends, family and co-workers, any tools that can help make those calls better is certainly welcome, and we’d love to see Microsoft make the Voice Clarity feature more widely available.

Via Windows Latest

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Windows 11 steals a great Microsoft Teams feature for better video calls

Windows 11 is set to get one of Microsoft Team’s best features, thanks to “Voice Clarity”, which will use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to make your voice in calls and recordings much clearer.

Microsoft Teams, an app that many people use for video calls, has a very similar feature that does an excellent job at minimizing and eliminating background noises for people in noisy environments, ensuring they can be heard clearly.

With the feature being so acclaimed, it’s little surprise to see Microsoft bring it to the wider Windows 11 operating system, which would allow the feature to work with other video calling apps. Voice Clarity was announced at Microsoft’s recent ‘Hybrid Work’ event as one of the ways the company is making its products better for people who are now spending their time working from home, as well as in an office.

While the noise-canceling features in Microsoft Teams have proved popular, there’s not a huge amount of love for the application itself, so bringing it to Windows 11 itself could prove a popular move.


Analysis: There’s always a catch

Surface Laptop Studio

(Image credit: Future)

While the idea of making Voice Clarity available to more apps and users, the catch is that at the moment, the feature will only work on the Surface Laptop Studio, a relatively niche product from Microsoft.

That’s certainly a shame, as it means that the vast majority of Windows 11 users still won’t be able to make use of the feature.

It’s a bit of a puzzling decision, and we’ve contacted Microsoft to ask why this is the case. It may be due to some hardware-specific requirements that only the Surface Laptop Studio has. Or, Microsoft could just be limiting the availability of the feature to help boost interest in the Surface Laptop Studio.

But, with an increasing number of us relying on video calls for keeping in contact with friends, family and co-workers, any tools that can help make those calls better is certainly welcome, and we’d love to see Microsoft make the Voice Clarity feature more widely available.

Via Windows Latest

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Google Chrome steals one of the best new Edge features

Although Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, Google has highlighted several new features in Chrome designed to make your last minute holiday shopping easier.

According to a new blog post, these features will make it easier to keep track of price drops, search for deals, manage items in your shopping cart and simplify the checkout process when using the search giant's browser on your mobile devices.

If you're waiting on a good deal for an item but don't want to constantly keep refreshing a page, Chrome for Android now allows you to see an item's updated price right in your open tabs grid. This means you can leave the page for an item you want to buy open in Google's browser and easily see when its price has dropped. While this feature is now available for Chrome on Android in the US, it will be launching on iOS in the coming weeks.

Have you ever spotted an interesting item while window shopping and wanted to learn more about it? Now you can search your surroundings with Google Lens in Chrome on Android to do just that. From the address bar of Google's browser, you can now tap on the Lens icon to start searching with your camera. It's also worth noting that this feature will soon be available in Chrome for desktop. When it launches, you'll be able to right-click on an image and select the “Search images with Google Lens” option to learn more about a product.

Shopping carts, passwords and checkout

Sometimes we add items to our shopping carts for later and lose track of them which is why Google has added a new feature to Chrome that allows you to quickly rediscover the items in your shopping carts across multiple online stores.

Beginning with Chrome on Windows and Mac in the US, users can now open up a new tab and scroll to the “Your carts” card to quickly see any site where you've previously added items to a shopping cart. At the same time, some retailers like Zazzle, iHerb, Electronic Express and Homesquare might even offer a discount when you come back to check out.

Keeping track of all the logins and passwords for various online stores can be a pain which is why you can use Chrome's built-in password manager to store and access them instead. Finally, by saving your address and payment information with Autofill, Chrome can automatically fill out your billing and shipping details to make online shopping even easier.

Whether you're already finished with all of your holiday shopping or just looking for some last-minute gifts, Chrome's new shopping features can help you make sure you've crossed off everyone on your list this year.

We've also rounded up the best shopping cart software, best ecommerce platforms and best browsers

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