Magic Leap is getting ready to ship out its so-called ‘Magic Leap 2’ AR headset at the end of this year, which will be done via an early adopter program.

Update (April 21st, 2021): Speaking to Protocol, Magic Leap CEO Peggy Johnson reconfirmed that the company’s next-gen follow-up, officially named Magic Leap 2, is headed to select enterprise partners in the fourth quarter of this year.

Additionally, Johnson said general availability is slated for the first quarter of 2022.

There’s no information on price or hard specs, however Johnson reconfirmed it will be “half the size, about 20% lighter,” and feature “doubled the field of view.”

Original Article (February 1st, 2021): Johnson didn’t speak directly about the company’s next headset on stage at FII, however a slide was shown promising a Q4 2021 window for early access release.

There’s little else to go on for now, however the company says its second-gen headset will be “50% smaller, 20% lighter, with 100% larger field of view.”

Image courtesy FII Institute

Looking at the first-gen Magic Leap headset itself, and not taking into account the compute unit, the 2018 version weighs 316 g, which would make the second-gen device approximately 250 g.

As for FOV, Magic Leap 1 features a 4:3 aspect ratio, and an estimated horizontal FOV of 40 degrees, a vertical FOV of 30 degrees, and a FOV diagonal of 50 degrees. There’s no telling what aspect ratio the next Magic Leap headset will feature, or how the company will effectively market its “100% larger” FOV moving forward; the company only quotes the diagonal FOV of 50 degrees in marketing material.

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Here, it’s very likely the company is talking about a 100 percent increase of overall surface area, and not a 100 percent increase of a single spec (re: not going from 40 to 80 horizontal FOV). That would give it around a 55 degree horizontal FOV.

Note: To increase the specs of all provided FOVs by 100 percent, the surface area would need to increase by four times, which is a tall order.

This comes as a modest upgrade, but one that businesses can probably get behind if it’s delivered at a competitive price point comparative to Microsoft’s HoloLens 2, its largest competitor in the field of enterprise-focused AR headsets. Since Magic Leap’s pivot to enterprise last year, the company has been serving mostly the same clientele, which includes industrial applications, medicine, education, and manufacturing.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 4,000 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • kontis

    My theory: anything below 80 deg FOV doesn’t exceed the threshold of positive value that is higher than the negative value of using HMD (the discomfort of having to wear a display on your face) for a lot of people. If the overall perceived value is negative (especially when the novelty added bonus begins to wear off) people won’t use it even if it’s free.

    For example: even the cheapest earphones can mimic any sound in something like 90+% of perceived realism, so having to put these things into our ears creates positive value for majority of us as long as the content is decent. People expect even better than that from an expensive HMD, but instead get a worse proposition.

    • Lhorkan

      Nice theory. Luckily, ML officially pivoted away from targeting “most people”. I use the Hololens 2 every day for the development of an enterprise application, and it can already offer real benefits despite the current small FOV. Sure, AR headsets are not ready for consumer adoption – that was one of the main mistakes of Magic Leap to begin with. But for enterprise use, the technology is already really impressive (the Hololens 2 is, at least). And that’s what this new headset is aimed at. Will it beat the Hololens 3? I’m keen to find out.

      • The current AR technology is already impressive, whether for enterprise or consumer, although not ready for consumer markets.

        Was surprised how effective the limited field of view was on both Magic Leap and original Hololens, especially after many negative reviews.

        “Rise of the animals with David Attenborough” on ML was enthralling, demonstrating just how disruptive this technology will be, once it matures.

        Reminds me of early VR where potential was clearly demonstrated, but took years to reach consumers.

      • Anthony Jackson

        hi there. Off topic. I’ve been trying to break into Enterprise level MR, But it seems a case of chicken and the egg. I am currently using Unity with ARKit and ARCore. Excuse the pun, but how do you make the leap from Phones/tablets to working with ML or Hololens? Is it a case of proove yourself on mobile tech and then hope a Studio catering for Enterprise level work hires you? cheers

        • Lhorkan

          Hi Anthony, I started working at a creative agency. There were projects for both VR and mobile AR. I changed jobs to a company wanting to experiment with the HL2 afterwards, being able to take all my Unity and VR skills with me. VR is definitely a lot more useful if you want to get into head mounted AR than mobile AR – there’s no overlap there, whereas VR and head mounted AR are really quite similar in design.

    • crim3

      Last week I build a sonic transducer to enhance my flight simulation experience with vibration from the engine sounds. But because to use it every time I have to launch and configure two instances of the software that routes the sound both to my headset and the soundcard driving the transducer, most of the time I don’t bother enabling it. The benefit isn’t worth it the trouble.

      Just an example of how the slightest friction can make a person not use a product, and wearing a display on your face is quite a big one.

    • Well, let’s be honest, we’d all take one for free. But that doesn’t mean we’d use it after the first week or so.

  • Ad

    I guess XR doesn’t care about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

    • 3872Orcs

      I care, but Saudi blood money speaks I guess.

      • Jim P

        It’s either them or China. Biden will make sure it will be kept like that.

        • Ad

          So did trump in case this is smooth braining.

  • Jim P

    The AR headsets will not be viable for consumers until it is 100 FOV.

    • Boggle Man

      Yeah, but WTF does 100% really mean and then what would be 150% mean. If boggles the mind!

      • Jim P

        No such thing as 150. All things can only go 100.

        • Shy Guy

          That’s true for BS like ‘You’ve got to give 110%’, but not for general increases. If something used to cost $1, but now costs $2.50, that’s an increase of 150%.

      • guest

        “doubled the field of view” is such an improvement over 100% BS. Now they should stop just making death threats to developers that withdraw their agreements for the free hardware that doesn’t exist…

  • psuedonymous

    Just being price-competitive with Hololens is not enough: Hololens is backed by Microsoft’s software stack and support department. Magic Leap… isn’t.
    For developers who just want an AR HMD they can get started with their existing application on quickly and easily, Hololens knocks it out of the park. For developers who want super awesome hardware and are willing to fiddle and tweak their software to its quirks, Varjo covers that pretty well. Magic Leap offering just-about-adequate hardware with minimal dev support? Not a particularly attractive proposition.

    • Lhorkan

      The good thing about Microsoft’s MRTK for Unity is that it is hardware agnostic – you can develop just as well for other AR/VR headsets with it as you can for the Hololens.

  • I… can’t believe they are still in business. Hasn’t a class-action lawsuit hit them yet? There must be one, right?

    • dk

      lawsuit about what …they have basically a cheaper hololens which is better or worse in different ways ….last thing they did is targeting enterprise exclusively apparently and Abovitz is no longer ceo

  • dk

    smaller/lighter won’t be that hard …nreal is 88 grams and both have about the same fov

  • Improvements are always a good news, but I don’t see that improvement making it that competitive…. anyway, we’ll see… specs tell only a little part of the whole story

  • Cragheart

    55 degree horizontal FOV is still very bad

  • Innovation Investor

    2023 seems to be the year of consensus for when AR will go mainstream (Apple Glass released). If you all haven’t looked into Vuzix and their next gen AR glasses coming out this year, you definitely should. It’ll give you some insight into just how close we are to that breakthrough point of this tech

  • Ardra Diva

    Magic Leap is the “quibi” of AR/VR headsets. I don’t expect them to produce anything, but they’ll chew up a lot of venture capital.

  • Ad

    I can’t believe I have to root for these gulf oil fueled bubble blowers now that Hololens is working on “Augmented Murder”.

  • xyzs

    Magic Scam… not interested.

  • Get ready for some new memes about them…