When the modern VR and AR hype exploded, one of the loudest voices to be heard was Magic Leap’s. The young company was already talking and boasting even before Microsoft could get its HoloLens out of the would work, but it has, so far, been unable to actually put out a publicly available developer kit, much less a retail product. It has also been involved in some rather ugly controversies that have seemingly died down by now. Gearing up for its promised 2018 release, Magic Leap is once again talking. But this time, it’s getting the NBA and basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal to help.
Actually, they can’t really talk much, bound by NDAs as they are. So other than Shaq singing praises about the unbelievable technology of the Magic Leap headset he was wearing, there’s not much he or NBA Commissioner Adam Silver could really reveal. Fortunately, Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz was willing to share some teasers.
First of all, Shaq obviously wasn’t wearing a normal Magic Leap headset. That would have probably snapped in half if he tried to put it on. Instead, it was what Abovitz confirmed to be a “Magic Leap Large”. That would hint that the mixed reality device would be made available in different sizes, unless they really just made one large version just for Shaq.
Actually, don’t call it mixed reality device. Don’t call it augmented reality either. Abovitz thinks those terms are now loaded with preconceived notions and are confusing to consumers. Instead, he offers the equally or perhaps even more alien term “spatial computing”. It’s not a totally new coined term, mind, but it’s even less defined than the others. In some aspects, it embraces VR, AR, and MR, and, in theory, any other computing interface that utilizes 3D space. It’s a catchall phrase, if you will.
Call it anything you want, but that won’t make the Magic Leap come out sooner. It’s still slated for a 2018 retail launch, Abovitz hints, but 2018 lasts until December 31. Next to its actual launch date, its price is going to be the most contentious. Abovitz isn’t shy about admitting that the first generation will cost as much as a high-end PC. But, in the distant future were “spatial computing” devices replace your PC and even your phone, that price is going to make sense. If we ever reach that point, that is.