Magic Leap's staggering VR goggle technology just got even better!
Rony keeps feeding the hype machine! Wow! Woo! Yay! Hoopla! Panowie!
Real versus virtual product
As to the product that Rony swears is coming, conference moderator Peter Kafka (no, seriously) gently prodded him noting that "everyone goes to [Magic Leap's HQ in] Florida, signs an NDA, and says: it's amazing but I can't talk about it." Kafka asks when it will finally arrive.
Back in December, having been forced to give some kind of launch date after two years of promising and not delivering, Rony finally gave "early 2018" as a date. This week, in early 2018, Rony revealed that date has already slipped back to "spring 2018." We'd be amazed if it didn’t keep slipping from there.
Rony also again refused to say how much it would cost, leading to a ludicrous game of Guess the Comparison. "It is a premium computer," Rony said about his product that still isn't for sale, "so I would think of [pricing] it that way."
He then waffled on about a whole range of forthcoming devices that simply don’t exist yet: the announced Magic Leap One is "prosumer-ish" or "hyper-pro" or "wide mass market."
Asked if mass market equated to, well, today's mass market price of $200-300, Rony said he thought of his product as a "higher-end mobile phone."
Keeping up the game, the moderator asked if his iPhone X – cost: $1,000 – was an example of a higher-end phone. Rony didn't disagree. And then went on to claim that his super device wasn't just AR goggles – it is so much more than that.
"The number of devices it's potentially replacing… if you actually add all that up – your phones, your televisions, your laptops, your tablets – that adds up to thousands or tens of thousands of dollars."
That's a stretch even for Rony. Literally no one is going to pay tens of thousands of dollars for a pair of goggles with a big round computer attached that generates the graphics and that you have to wear on your person.
In short, it was the same old game, all over again. Rony talking excitedly about the possibilities of augmented reality, painting new worlds, and implying that his startup is capable of making them happen.
Throw in a celebrity and a seemingly plausible authority figure – in this case, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver – and that's enough to buy another few months.
But as we have said before, multiple times, and will no doubt say again before Magic Leap is finally forced to put a product out into the market: this all amounts to absolutely nothing.
Literally none of the signs that exist when a company is about to launch a big product are there. Where are the product directors? Where are the manufacturing contracts? Where are the previews? Where is the community of third-party app and game makers?
Plus, as one knowledgeable engineer noted on his personal blog, using what tiny information is out there, the super technology that we are being asked to believe in looks like a lesser version of what is already being showcased by other companies.
At some point this year we will probably get some kind of Magic Leap product. And it will be far too expensive, far too large, far too underpowered, and run far too few games or applications.
Every time Rony appears on stage to give the same shtick, the inevitable train crash that is Magic Leap grows that much more painful to watch. ®