Years of Magic Leap’s hype-building seems for many to be turning from excitement to disappointment, as the company continues to evangelize its AR headset with little attempt to demonstrate what it’s actually like to use it. During the company’s latest livestream where it was teased that viewers would get to “meet Magic Leap One,” mundane details like power buttons and LEDs were talked about as the hosts dodged or ignored the audience’s most pressing questions.
Since the beginning, Magic Leap has been a masterful tease. Between more than $2 billion in venture funding, evocative descriptions of “magical” technology, behind-closed-doors demos, and celebrity endorsements, Magic Leap has captured the curiosity of many, promising no less than to change the world as we know it. But, at least for many of the company’s closest followers, the hype high seems to be turning into a disappointment hangover.
The company’s ‘Magic Leap Live’ livestream today had promised that viewers would finally get to “meet Magic Leap One,” the company’s first headset. But after offering up mostly mundane details—such as which buttons did what and how the compute unit fits in a pocket—and stopping well short of any demonstration of the headset’s capabilities, the audience was visibly annoyed, especially as the hosts dodged the most asked questions.
The livestream chat was packed to the brim during the Q&A session with viewers who wanted to know the field of view of the headset, to the point that other questions were difficult to even pick out among the chat stream. The hosts proceeded to not just dodge the FOV question, as they did with some others, but they instead ignored it completely, to the dismay of viewers. Other widely asked questions, like launch date, price, and weight, went unanswered as well.
One perplexing moment in the stream was revealing about how little information the company is willing to divulge at this point—host Alan Noon framed a rather innocent sounding question as some sort of trap:
“Can you give us the specs of the device, you know, processor, so on and so forth,” the viewer asked. “You’re not gonna get me with those trick questions! Additional specs will be released in the future,” Noon replied (timestamp).
Disappointment from viewers was clear from the chat—remember, this is a stream where Magic Leap is ostensibly talking to potential developers about building for their headset… which almost no one can buy or use yet, and which the company has repeatedly made no effort to demonstrate. And that’s where it seems much of the frustration lies—Magic Leap continues to invite people to come learn more about what it’s doing, only to dangle the headset in front of them without attempting to explain what it’s like to use. Like a friend who just got the hottest new game console, and invites you over to listen to them talk about it how much fun it is while you get to stare at it on their lap.
A sampling of post-stream responses from enthusiasts over at the Magic Leap subreddit elucidates current attitudes toward the company’s continued teasing:
Spent 39 minutes learning how to expand a headband and clip something in my pocket before they said “no hardware demo”. Really pathetic, ML.
Not a single spec detail during the whole livestream. That was bold to do another marketing video rather than a developer video. They must be really delayed in terms of software if they’re this hesitant about showing the device details.
Was hoping for details on eye tracking specifications for developers. Still can’t get hard numbers to even see if the device is viable for my project.
Especially as a developer you feel completely left out. Nothing they said was of real value to developers. The information they gave was already available on the website/creator portal or common sense. What developers care about is when it’ll be available and what the specs are so you know if it fits your use-case.
Legit kept referencing amazing demo’s that they won’t show us. This is what $750 million gets you. lol
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Aside from the big unanswered questions, what did they actually say about the device? You can watch the clip where they talk specifically about the headset here, and here’s the high level:
- The Magic Leap One isn’t designed for outdoor use.
- The headset has a LED indicator on the front to let people know if you are recording video or snapping photos.
- There’s on-board audio thanks to speakers built into the headband, as well as a 3.5mm jack on the compute unit.
- Eye-tracking was mentioned once again, as well as talk of a calibration process during headset setup.
- The little box hanging off the right side of the headset was described as an “antenna” for tracking the controller (potentially indicated magnetic controller tracking).
- The controller has LEDs on the trackpad which can be used to indicate to the user different contextual input areas. There’s also haptics in the controller.
- Brow and nose pads are interchangeable for the right fit, and the headset will come with different sizes (in addition to there being a small and large version of the headset itself).
- Magic Leap is working with a partner to eventually offer a prescription lens add-on for those with glasses; the headset itself isn’t designed to accommodate glasses.
- The compute unit is designed to clip onto a pocket, with part of it exposed for cooling purposes; a belt will be included for times when the user may not have a pocket available.
- The device has WiFi and Bluetooth
- ‘Magic Leap World’ is the company’s app store platform
- The headset will support voice commands.
- The company is working on a stand for the device.