Magic Leap, oft-cited as a hyper-hush-hush augmented reality startup, is unraveling more and more.
Magic Leap Shows Off Early AR Tech Device
An image of the company's first prototype device has just been leaked, with the source referring to it as "PEQ0," a placeholder derived from an internal prototype naming scheme employed by the company.
The photo, leaked to Business Insider, is the public's first glimpse of what Magic Leap is cooking up in its offices. It looks like, well... a prototype: a really shoddy-looking early version of what hopefully ends up looking polished when the final version is finished.
It's clear that the device, which appears to be a backpack-ish equipment with shoulder straps and gung-ho wiring, needs a lot of work before it could look palatable. It's worn on the back, of course, with a cable snaking up to the wearer's tethered goggles, which The Verge notes looks similar to a "Star Trek" VISOR. Also visible is a battery pack juicing up the whole makeshift unit.
— Alternative Dave (@redletterdave) February 11, 2017
Earlier this week Business Insider reported that Magic Leap employees are "scrambling" ahead of an important board meeting where the prototype is expected to be shown off. That report stated that the said prototype uses two different packs, one dedicated for battery life, and the other for the system's computing power.
This unfortunately means that Magic Leap's promise of a compact and mobile AR-device so small it could fit into a pocket or a belt, as previously reported patent applications have suggested.
When Will Magic Leap Release Its AR Glasses?
This past December, The Information revealed pressing details about Magic Leap pertaining to its faulty and misleading marketing material which suggested it was more successful in its development stage than it actually was. Rony Abovitz, the company's CEO, however, argued that Magic Leap didn't oversell its AR tech.
Apart from a concept video, which according to a report wasn't even recorded using Magic Leap technology, and now this prototype device, Magic Leap has had very little to show. The secret product will spell the company's future. It's a bit odd that it's already valued at $4.5 billion, according to Business Insider's report, but it's futuristic pair of AR glasses is still in early development.
The report claims that Magic Leap is the best-capitalized augmented-reality startup, and it's being observed by field competitors ODG, Meta, and Microsoft, companies which have released and demoed their own smart glasses publicly.
It's worrying that despite its sizable funding rounds and a steep valuation, consumers have until now never seen any Magic Leap products yet, and the first photo of the prototype doesn't look too promising, either, given how far it looks from what the patents laid out.
Obviously, there's no release window to be announced yet, and consumers have no idea if Magic Leap will end up delivering on its promise. Take a look at the company's teaser video, and when time comes that a finished product is released, see if it actually fulfilled the hype it generated.
What do you think about the first Magic Leap prototype? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!