Market Reality: Magic Leap Is Now David Versus Apple's Goliath, & Microsoft Goes Hollywood

Magic Leap Is Now David Versus Apple's Goliath, & Microsoft Goes Hollywood

While Magic Leap has gained attention for its ability to raise capital, the company (now with an actual product on the market) still faces an uphill climb against the titans of the industry.

Namely, there's the looming presence of Apple, who 18 months ago didn't even have an AR product or service to its name. Now, the trillion-dollar company leads the mobile AR app ecosystem, and its own AR wearable will reportedly arrive sooner than expected. And there's Microsoft, who didn't begin prototyping HoloLens until after Magic Leap's emergence from stealth and still beat Magic Leap One to market. Now Microsoft is moving even faster by nurturing the same developer market that Magic Leap is concentrating on by launching yet another Microsoft Mixed Reality Capture Studio.

A multitude of AR startups, like Ubiquity6, have similar hopes of bringing their technology to developers and customers, though they don't have near the war chest that Magic Leap has accumulated. But, like Magic Leap, Ubiquity6 now has new funding that makes it a company to watch in the AR space.

Magic Leap Impresses Developers & AR Enthusiasts

Next Reality had a few days to live with the Magic Leap One, and it's time to finally weigh in with some thoughts from the perspective of those who have been tracking this company from the beginning.

Let's get right to the meat of the matter: Magic Leap One is not a flop. Not regarding sales (the target, for now, is developers), and not in terms of performance and overall experience. This is the best augmented reality we've seen, full stop.

Read on for more details on what the Magic Leap One is like, and where the company now stands in the industry relative to another highly-anticipated newcomer...

REALITY BITES: A white paper by PTC notes that the enterprise segment is starting to shift from internal use cases to external audiences, with 86% of survey respondents expecting to "go live" with customer-focused AR applications within the next year (and half of those targeting a six month window for deployment).

Apple AR Glasses Reportedly on Track for 2020

As we predicted earlier this week, the focus has already begun to move from Magic Leap back onto Apple's rumored augmented reality smartglasses. The latest credible whispers come from none other than longtime Apple-focused analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Boasting a long track record of frequently accurate early predictions of Apple's moves, Kuo, now an analyst for Hong Kong-based TF International Securities, believes that Apple will reveal its own AR smartglasses in 2020.

Continue reading for more details of the latest Apple AR prognostication and what it means for other AR headset makers...

Image via Apple

REALITY BITES: While the market, for now, is limited to Pokémon GO and some also-rans, augmented reality gaming is expected to be a big business by 2023. Infoholic Research estimates that the market will reach a combined value of $284.93 billion, which represents a compound annual growth rate of more than 152.7%. Another report by HTF Market Intelligence expects Microsoft, Apple, and Sony to join the race behind Pokémon GO developer Niantic its financial backer/former parent company Google and its collaborator/investor Nintendo. Cast AR and Gamar are also cited as key players in the report.

Microsoft Goes to Hollywood with Mixed Reality Capture Studio

Microsoft is adding another important piece to its growing immersive computing arsenal by putting its newest Mixed Reality Capture Studio in the center of the movie business: Hollywood.

Following the Mixed Reality Capture Studios in Redmond, Washington, San Francisco, and London, the new studio is a partnership with Metastage, a new Los Angeles-based mixed reality production company headed by VR producer Christina Heller.

Read further to learn why these studios are important for the continued growth of the AR industry and what it can produce. For more Microsoft news, check out this story about HoloLens adoption at the UK's largest children's hospital...

Image by Adario Strange/Next Reality

REALITY BITES: Microsoft Mixed Reality Capture Studio partner Christina Heller also took the time to give a behind-the-scenes tour of Metastage's new operation, as well as some insight into the company's creation.

Ubiquity6 Banks $27M on AR Cloud Platform

Less than a week after debuting its AR Cloud platform in public with a multi-user installation of more than 100 participants, Ubiquity6 announced on Tuesday that it has closed a Series B round of funding totaling $27 million.

Led by Benchmark and Index Ventures, the latest round of funding comes less than five months after the company closed a $10.5 million funding round that included Gradient Ventures, Google's AI-focused venture fund, among the participating investors.

Read on to find out about Ubiquity6's debut AR experience and how it will differentiate itself from other AR Cloud platforms...

Image by Ubiquity6/YouTube

REALITY BITES: A former manager at market research firm Nielsen, Carolina Arguelles now leads AR monetization and product strategy at Snap, Inc. Now, in a recent interview, Arguelles provides some insight into her job and how Snap sets pricing for sponsored AR experiences.

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.

Cover image via Magic Leap

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