Magic Leap came out as a Microsoft Hololens-killer and but a latest report says there’s more to the truth than meets the eye. Turns out all the video and amazing holographic technology that Magic Leap had been overhyping as a breakthrough was nothing more than fancy computer animation, labeled as real-time AR visuals. The company CEO Rony Abovitz took to the tweeter in protest and argued the augmented reality technology will soon be out there for everyone to witness.
The claim that Magic Leap has been overhyping the true quality its augmented reality (AR) technology first came from The Information. The article highlighted a series of misleading brand advertisement stunts by the HoloLens competitor, going as far as saying that the demo video the tech company previewed in 2015 was completely fake while onscreen video description claimed the footage were the direct result of the Magic Leap technology.
The internet has somehow managed to become a breeding ground of misinformation where readers perpetuate the known facts without getting to the other side of the story. So I’m putting both allegations and defenses back to back so readers can dig out the truth for themselves. Yes, I’ll form an opinion in the end, but not necessarily by taking a side.
Magic Leap Exposed?
Publicity Stunt: The news website had thrown several hard bites at the AR technology company. Beginning with the fact that the attempt was clearly directed at dethroning Microsoft HoloLens to yield great funding which it did by hitting a total valuation of $4.5 billion, making it the fastest growing startup. The critical blogger claims that Magic Leap is years away from manifestation and its current visual quality is way lower than Microsoft’s $3,000 developer kit offer.
Prototype: Magic Leap was further exposed in terms of how sophisticated is the state of current prototype. Where the AR technology company claims could start shipping a sunglass-like wearable anytime soon, the tech news website claimed that the actual device hasn’t evolved past a bulky helmet-sized interface with poor quality visualization.
Overly secretive: Tech journalists have always been weary of the fact that Magic Leap is a very secretive startup, living miles away from America’s lucrative startup incubator: the Silicon Valley. Does it have to be so secretive to hide from scrutinizing eyes of the journalists and reporters?
Demo video: Yet, the real controversy is about the AR technology itself. The report reveals that all the fancy demo augmented reality wonders were actually visual effects created by Weta Workshop. Weta studios were previously thought to be only responsible for creating the demo augmented reality game for the platform called “Dr. Grordborts invaders”.
Fiber Scanning Display is Magic Leap’s secret technology that will change the augmented reality forever. The problem is everyone knows about it, but only the Florida-based AR startup is claiming to have shrunk the equipment from a refrigerator-sized device called the Beast down to a Snapchat Spectacles kind of wearable. Did the famously now called the HoloLens-killer pulled it off or the tech company is still stuck with a massive equipment with multiple connected cables?
Magic Leap Hoaxed?
In a series of defensive tweets by Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz responded to the report saying, “Tech startups are hard and intense – but it takes a different breed of awesome to strap yourself into a rocket.”
He also retweeted what Benedict Evans of Andreessen Horowitz, an investor in the AR startup, had to say about the Magic Leap’s augmented reality technology.
Magic Leap is one of only a handful of genuine ‘holy shit I can’t believe I’m seeing this’ moments I’ve had as an adult. Previous was iPhone- Benedict Evans.
To a few of the grumpy mouse tech blogger writers: you too will get to play the real thing when we ship
— Rony Abovitz (@rabovitz) December 9, 2016
Abovitz highlighted the current state of the prototypes as “mini-production test runs” which virtual reality and augmented reality enthusiasts will soon be able to experience. There’s wasn’t anything pretty much to save the day but reinforcement of the earlier promises and reassurance to the investors and fans without giving out an actual date.
Magic Leap Exposed: Summarizing the Current State of Information
Racking a $1.4 billion in funding from the tech giant like Google and other big names like Alibaba and Silicon Valley-based Andreessen Horowitz isn’t very easy. Google especially, because it is a tech company and knows the ABC of technology to be fooled by any random AR startup. On the other hand, Abovitz could have shown the bulkier version of the Magic Leap to the executive visitors from the above companies just to get the funding in motion.
One thing is for sure, the pressure is on for Magic Leap than it was ever before and now their engineers have to give out at least something to the public and the investors. Abovitz has stalled the truth for long enough and he is well aware that controversies like these just keep raging on until they consume the target. Sadly, publicity stunts sometimes can be ascribed to tech bloggers who have the power to create such articles to get the truth out. Exposed or hoaxed, it can’t stretch beyond 2017 without consequences.