Magic Leap 2 will be more expensive than the previous model
With Magic Leap 2, the AR glasses maker has a Herculean task ahead of it.
After the exaggerated fuss and the botched market launch of the first Magic Leap glasses, the new boss Peggy Johnson has to give her company a new image in a business context: as a serious partner with strong technology.
Dreaming too long: Hololens takes over the market
Magic Leap founder Rony Abovitz, who has since left the company, originally had the consumer market in mind, but only changed his strategy to business applications when it was almost too late for his company. However, neither ML1’s hardware nor software were intended for businesses, and the application scenarios were limited accordingly.
As a result, Magic Leap sold only a few thousand AR glasses instead of the planned millions, and Microsoft was able to take over the market for business AR glasses almost without competition with Hololens.
Medical and military: Magic Leap tries a new direction
Ex-Microsoft executive Peggy Johnson took the helm at Magic Leap in the summer of 2020. And she made her orientation clear from the start: Magic Leap 2 is AR glasses for the industry.
Magic Leap 2 is scheduled for release in mid-2022 and, according to Johnson, will be “slightly more expensive” than the first model. Magic Leap 1 was officially priced at around 2,300 US-Dollar, even though the AR glasses were available at a much lower price due to poor sales figures.
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Johnson sees a particular target group in occupational groups that wear glasses at work anyway, such as surgeons or industrial workers. Johnson also does not rule out cooperation with the U.S. military, especially for training applications, which Johnson considers ethically acceptable.
Magic Leap and Microsoft with Hololens have competed in the past for a contract with the U.S. military, which went to Microsoft. A military version of Hololens is also expected to be used directly in combat, which has earned Microsoft criticism that the AR glasses make real-world combat look like video games and could trivialize killing.
In the long term, Johnson said, the company is open to making a new attempt at the consumer segment. But for that to happen, AR glasses technology would have to become more comfortable and affordable. Hololens inventor Alex Kipman takes a similar view, even deeming a “transformative leap” necessary for consumer glasses.