The week in AR business news started out with a bang with two bombshell reports that cast a shadow on the AR industry as a whole.
First, we discovered that Magic Leap has pawned its patent portfolio as collateral in preparation for a Series E funding round. Second, word leaked out from an internal Apple presentation that its long-awaited AR wearable debut has been pushed back to 2022.
However, there was some triumphant product news in the orbit of AR, as Snap's proto-AR smartglasses, Spectacles 3, are now for sale and Looking Glass launched a new holographic display that surpasses its previous efforts.
Is the augmented reality magic fading down in Plantation, Florida? That's the first question some may be asking following a casual revelation over the weekend that Magic Leap, the maker of the Magic Leap One, has assigned much of its patent portfolio over to JP Morgan Chase as collateral.
In documents filed with the US patent office on August 22 and signed on August 20, a massive 1,903 patents from Magic Leap (as well as from Magic Leap holdings Mentor Acquisitions, LLC and Molecular Imprints Inc.) were all assigned to JPMorgan Chase. The document (see below), which is a patent security agreement, is signed by Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz and JP Morgan Chase collateral agent Eleftherios Karsos.
REALITY BITES: After years of Google watching Facebook poach its AR engineers and product managers, Google is now playing the role of poacher. Reynold Wu, formerly head of AR product management for Rokid, recently joined Google as a product manager. Wu was instrumental in the global launch of Rokid Glass. Google also has an AR product called Glass. Coincidence?
After recently renewed enthusiasm for the arrival of Apple's long-awaited AR wearables -- the subject of multiple reports and rumors over the past few years -- some of that excitement may now be dampened a bit. But this time around, the Apple smartglasses news comes from Apple's own internal team, rather than analysts citing unnamed sources.
In a meeting with upwards of 1,000 employees at the Steve Jobs Theater, Mike Rockwell, Apple's vice president in charge of VR and AR initiatives, revealed the team's product roadmap for AR hardware. Instead of 2020 or 2021, the executive told his team that an untethered AR headset would instead launch in 2022, according to a report from CNBC citing The Information on the meeting's details.
Continue reading for more information on the AR devices that Apple is planning to release and what we can expect from them...
REALITY BITES: Taking a cue from Microsoft with its HoloLens 2, Ubimax is offering an "Everything as a Service" (XaaS) solution for companies seeking to deploy AR in their workplaces without the upfront capital investment into AR hardware. The service includes all the hardware, software, and services for a $200 monthly fee.
Following up on the initial tease over three months ago, Snap Inc. is finally letting the public get its hands on its new Spectacles 3 wearable device.
The limited release shades come Mineral (gold) and Carbon (black) and come packed with a number of features that are an upgrade from the previous version of Spectacles.
REALITY BITES: While North got Focals to market first, startup Human Capable is starting to gain some momentum in the consumer smartglasses race. The company's AR smartglasses, Norm Glasses, received the CES 2020 Innovation Awards Best of Innovation last week during the CES Unveiled event.
The next phase of the holographic display is upon us, and Looking Glass is aggressively making sure that it's at the tip of the spear when it comes to leading that charge.
On Tuesday, the Brooklyn, New York, and Hong Kong-based startup unveiled the latest in its product line, the Looking Glass 8K Immersive Display.
We had a chance to preview the Looking Glass 8K Immersive Display in person, so continue reading for first impressions and outlook on the category compared to AR wearables...
REALITY BITES: The cosmetics industry has been an early adopter of augmented reality for marketing, so industry recognition for being the best innovator in the industry speaks volumes. That recognition goes to Perfect Corp.'s YouCam Makeup, which recently earned the Beauty Service App of the Year award in the 2019 Beauty Independent Innovation Awards.
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.