With the holiday season fast approaching, if the XR crowd was expecting a lull in updates and announcements from major tech leaders, they’d be wrong.
This week proved to be a dark horse in terms of announcements; with CES just around the corner, major XR companies are gearing up for 2024. It looks like 2024 will be a milestone year for XR. With the impending rise of the rebranded industrial Metaverse and the potential mainstream introduction of MR headsets, XR may finally reach its breakthrough moment outside of the gaming market.
On the other hand, as the competition in the market increases, so does the pressure. Big companies like Apple are sending staff to stores across the US to train staff to use their new MR headset. Meanwhile, a major XR company plans to drop a leading headset brand after poor sales.
Will the XR market become a shark tank in the new year? With increased competition, the answer may be yes. By the time December 2024 rolls around, the XR market and its leaders may look very different.
Pico 5 is being scrapped
ByteDance has announced that they will not release Pico 5, as Pico 4’s revenue did not meet expectations.
However, ByteDance plans to launch an updated version of Pico 4, although it has not provided further details.
The company is also working on a VR headset project called Swan, which is still in the experimental and concept stages and therefore has no indication of a release date yet.
Additionally, Pico has halted development of its Beat Saber rival and Ubisoft-hosted Just Dance VR game.
Previous reports suggested that ByteDance planned to lay off 20 to 30 percent of its workforce by 2023, but according to a recent report from The Information, the numbers are expected to be much higher.
Apple Preps Retail Stores for Vision Pro Debut
Apple is preparing for the launch of its Vision Pro device, which was announced earlier this year. Although the company has not confirmed a specific release date, it is aiming to launch the product in March 2024. Despite some production slowdowns, recent developments indicate that Apple is ready for its proposed release window. The company demonstrated this by introducing Vision Pro training sessions for its store staff in the new year to familiarize them with the new product.
Apple is well known for its in-store expertise in its product portfolio, such as iPhones and Macs. However, Vision Pro’s new spatial computing framework requires specific training, which Apple provides to its resellers before the product is released. Apple is holding two-day training sessions for its US store workers, where it will fly out headsets and experts from its headquarters to train workers.
Reports suggest that training will take place in mid-January to show retail employees how to set up the headset for individual potential buyers. This training will ensure an excellent introduction to the device and help customers overcome the common hurdle of motion sickness and other difficulties during the headset installation and onboarding process.
Apple employees will help install devices in the store, allowing potential buyers to experience the company’s unique spatial data view. This approach can promote XR education, allow potential buyers to adopt the hardware, and help customers demonstrate the productivity benefits of MR headsets.
First on Meta’s Next Headset
During a speaking session at the University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences, Douglas Lanman, Meta Representative and Director of Display Systems Research at Reality Labsannounced that the company has developed a prototype device called Mirror Lake that offers an improved level of immersion compared to previous devices.
According to Lanman, the proposed innovative MR headset can be built with today’s resources. Lanman presented a 3D rendering of the Mirror Lake device in action during a session discussing the “visual Turing test,” which aims to create a visual XR display indistinguishable from real life.
Douglas Lanman added:
We are fine. We have been focused on all these problems. How close are we to passing the (visual) turnaround test? Probably not that close; this is a grand dream. Through dozens of prototypes, we will eventually get there. But we’re getting close. Here’s a rendering (of the Mirror Lake prototype) of a device we felt a few years ago was practical to build now. Using holocake (lens), using multi-view eye tracking, using reverse passthrough, with hardware components present. – I think the industry is ready to move to another plateau.
Mirror Lake could potentially solve one of the main problems with XR headsets when it comes to business use: their size, weight and invasive design. Although smart glasses also try to solve this problem, headset manufacturers need to improve the portability and usability of VR/MR headsets to ensure practical use in environments such as factory floors.
Orlando’s ground-breaking digital twin project named 2024 Top Tech
Orlando Economic Partnership (OEP) is an organization focused on economic and community development, and the company uses digital twins and XR technology to promote regional growth by improving the local economy, attracting businesses, creating jobs, driving investment and promoting competitiveness . .
Fast Company recently recognized OEP’s digital twin as one of the next “big things” in XR technology for 2023. This year has been a busy one for the XR industry, with groups like OEP, Microsoft and Meta working tirelessly to revive the sector via significant workplace XR solutions.
OEP’s President and CEO, Tim Giulianisaid Fast Company naming OEP’s digital twin as a “Next Big Things in Tech” — which “includes among many of the world’s most innovative companies demonstrates the strength of Orlando’s technology and innovation ecosystem” — is “recognition that our region is on the cutting edge of emerging technologies, shaping the future by pushing the boundaries of what is possible in experiential entertainment and immersive, data-driven economic and community development.”
“Moreover, this win further strengthens Orlando’s reputation as the MetaCenter of the digital revolution and highlights how innovation makes Orlando Incredible real,” Giuliani said.
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