Meta nixes planned Apple Watch competitor ‘Milan’: report
Meta has reportedly nixed development on a smartwatch prototype that was set to directly compete with the Apple Watch – a decision that comes as slowing revenue growth forces the Facebook parent to dial back on its spending in some areas.
The device, which was under development in a project codenamed “Milan,” featured a removable watch face, two cameras and was capable of a variety of functions, including text messaging and music streaming.
Meta was aiming to release the smartwatch device by next spring with a sale price of roughly $349, Bloomberg reported. But employees who were working on the “Milan” project were purportedly told this week that the company was ceasing development of the device.
The second camera included on the wrist-facing side of the watch was reportedly a source of trouble during development because it was interfering with a key feature that allowed the device to use nerve signals to execute digital commands.
While the “Milan” device is being scrapped, Meta is reportedly working on other smartwatch-like devices – with executives seeing the technology as a benefit to the company’s planned “metaverse.”’
Meta representatives did not immediately return a request for comment.
Meta has prioritized its development of the metaverse following a series of scandals related to its social media platforms, including reports about the harmful effects of Instagram on the mental health of teen users that culminated in hearings on Capitol Hill.
While the company has poured money into various projects developed through its Reality Labs division – the unit leading development of the metaverse – executives have indicated that spending will slow in the months ahead.
During Meta’s April earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company would “slow the pace of some of our investments” due to “our current business growth levels.” Meta’s revenue grew just 7% to $27.9 billion in the first quarter — its slowest rate of expansion since going public.
Company officials said overall annual expenses would decline by $3 billion this year. Meta was further rocked by the stunning resignation last week of longtime COO Sheryl Sandberg.
As The Post reported last month, Meta has also slowed or entirely paused hiring for most of its mid- or senior-level positions.
At the time, a company representative said Meta has no plans to conduct layoffs. The freeze was enacted after a heavy recruiting push by the tech giant that saw its overall headcount grow 28% to 77,800 employees in the first quarter.
“We regularly re-evaluate our talent pipeline according to our business needs and in light of the expense guidance given for this earnings period, we are slowing its growth accordingly,” a Meta spokesperson told The Post. “However, we will continue to grow our workforce to ensure we focus on long term impact.”