Market Reality: Magic Leap Draws Comics, Warby Parker Tries AR, Facebook Acquires GrokStyle, & LeBron Dunks via Snapchat

Magic Leap Draws Comics, Warby Parker Tries AR, Facebook Acquires GrokStyle, & LeBron Dunks via Snapchat

This week, the recurring theme in augmented reality can be summed up fairly succinctly: content is king.

For Magic Leap, content comes in the form of the delivery of the Madefire immersive comics app. In the case of Apple, content arrives via a virtual try-on tool from Warby Parker that results in some practical utility to the under-utilized TrueDepth camera. As for Snapchat, content is a slam dunk, as Nike wowed Lebron James fans with an in-store augmented reality promotion.

And over at Facebook, its acquisition of GrokStyle will give the company's AR platform new superpowers for e-commerce content. Elsewhere, the ghost of ODG continues to haunt the augmented reality industry as its remains go up for sale.

Magic Leap Delivers Immersive Comics from Madefire

Among the many partnerships mentioned early on in the life of the Magic Leap One, by far one of the most talked about has been the comic book app from Madefire.

On Monday, the two companies finally released the app to the public, and we got a sneak peek at how it works just before release.

Continue reading for our experience with the app and its potential to disrupt the comic book publishing business...

REALITY BITES: The face that Apple has assembled a formidable team of AR experts to work on a wearable augmented reality device is perhaps the worst kept secret in the tech world today. This week, that team lost a key member, as Avi Bar-Zeev, co-inventor of the Microsoft HoloLens, left his post on Apple's AR team. Bar-Zeev confirmed his departure on Twitter, noting that his departure was amicable. Outside of AR, Apple lost another key executive this week, with Angela Ahrendts, the leader of the company's retail efforts, departing the company. Deirdre O'Brien will assume Ahrendts' responsibilities, in addition to her current management of human resources and recruiting.

Apple's AR Toolkit Powers Virtual Try-on Feature for Warby Parker

If there's one company that is a fan of the TrueDepth camera on Apple's iPhone X devices, it's the popular eyeglasses retailer Warby Parker.

Last year, the company introduced the ability to measure customers' faces using the depth-sensing front-facing sensor on the original iPhone X. Now, with three new models sporting the TrueDepth camera, Warby Parker has updated its Glasses app to enable a virtual try-on experience.

Keep reading to find out more about the updated app and why this is an important development for mobile AR in general...

REALITY BITES: It might be about to become more difficult to launch web-based AR experiences on iOS. Digiday reports that release notes for Safari version 12.1 will require users to grant permission to web pages that use the accelerometer or gyroscope to track motion or orientation. Camera permissions are standard across all apps, but the Safari permissions add more friction to activate web-based AR experiences. So...will ARKit apps require the same permissions?

Snapchat's Nike AR Ad Featuring Lebron James Is a Marketing Slam Dunk

Lebron James, or King James to his royal subjects, is extending the reach of his kingdom beyond basketball and into the realm of augmented reality.

The NBA superstar, in his role as pitchman for Nike, is the centerpiece for a new in-store Snapchat AR advertisement at the House of Hoops by Foot Locker store on the Hollywood & Highland Center in Los Angeles.

Read further to find out why this particular AR advertisement was a hit for Snapchat and Nike and what its success says for basketball's love affair with augmented reality...

Images by Keith Stoeckeler/Twitter

REALITY BITES: After steadily losing users over the course of 2018, Snap finally stabilized its daily active user numbers in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to the company's earnings release. Snap reported favorable usage with its AR Lenses as well, reporting that more than 70% of users interacted with Snapchat's AR features daily. Users snapped or viewed AR Lenses 700 million times on New Year's Eve alone.

Facebook Adds to Its AR Capabilities with GrokStyle Acquisition

The recent pitfalls and media fallout hitting Facebook hasn't stopped the social media giant from looking to the future.

On Friday, the company revealed the acquisition of visual search startup GrokStyle, whose tool allows users to point their smartphone camera at objects like furniture, recognize that product, and then shop for it online.

Read on to find out how GrokStyle's AI capabilities might provide a boost to Facebook's AR platform and its smartglasses ambitions...

REALITY BITES: Unity's evangelism team is hitting the road, with the first stop on its Developer Day tour being New York on Saturday, Feb. 9. From there, the team will visit Montreal, Moscow, Hamburg, Colombia, Brazil, Brighton, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Haifa, Helsinki, and Paris.

Last Remaining ODG Headsets Available at Auction

While the story of augmented reality headset maker Osterhout Design Group has come to an end, the epilogue of its demise continues.

After ODG's intellectual property, including patents and trademarks, went up for sale via Hilco Bankstream last month, Heritage Global Partners is handling the auction of ODG's physical assets.

Continue reading to find out what's left of ODG that is for sale...

Image via Heritage Global Assets

Every Friday, Next Reality reviews the latest headlines from the financial side of augmented and mixed reality. This weekly Market Reality column covers funding announcements, mergers and acquisitions, market analysis, and the like. Check out previous editions of Market Reality for more news you may have missed.

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Cover image via Warby Parker/YouTube

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