Mixed Reality (MR) headset manufacturer Magic Leap didn’t have a particularly great 2020, even though it raised $350 million USD, as there were layoffs and CEO Rony Abovitz stepped down. Now with ex-Microsoft and Qualcomm veteran, Peggy Johnson at the helm the company is looking towards a brighter future, confirming Magic Leap 2 is on the way with the initial launch beginning later this year.
Talking to Protocol this week, Johnson said the Magic Leap 2 will be focused on enterprise customers with those part of the early adopter programme gaining access to the new headset in Q4 2021. This will then be followed up by a general release in Q1 2022.
While no images or detailed specifications have been released just yet for Magic Leap 2 Johnson did have this to say: “For frontline workers, the product has to be something comfortable that they can wear all day long. So we’ve made the product half the size, about 20% lighter. But most importantly, we’ve doubled the field of view.” She went onto comment: “That’s a hard thing to do. The optics around that are complex, but we have a very talented engineering team.”
Making the product lighter and more convenient will be an important step when it comes to offering a product that can offer a better experience than Magic Leap’s competitors. The main one is Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 which recently secured a $22 billion deal with the US Department of Defense to supply soldiers with augmented reality (AR) headsets based on HoloLens technology. Even though Magic Leap lost that deal it will continue to look at the military sector. “I think our next-generation product hits all the right feature sets that are needed for soldiers to wear the device for longer periods of time. It needs to be comfortable indoors, outdoors and [in] all types of environments,” she mentions.
It’s certainly a focused shift away from the gaming apps that Magic Leap One has seen appear. Studios like Resolution Games have released titles such as Glimt: The Vanishing at the Grand Starlight Hotel and Angry Birds FPS: First Person Slingshot whilst BBC Studios and Preloaded have taken a more educational route with BBC Earth – Micro Kingdoms: Senses.
Hopefully, the new Magic Leap 2 will offer a lower price point allowing more companies to get involved in AR and the possibilities it brings. For further updates from Magic Leap, keep reading VRFocus.