- Magic Leap has taken $US2.3 billion and eight years to release its augmented reality headset goggles, and its founder Rony Abovitz says he is open to raising more capital.
- Abovitz told the Financial Times that Magic Leap is taking on tech giants like Apple, which is believed to be working on its own AR headset – and that requires cash.
- Magic Leap’s headset, the Magic Leap One, tries to replace screens like the TV and smartphone by overlaying objects onto the real world.
- Initial reviews for the headset on Wednesday were pretty mixed.
Magic Leap has raised $US2.3 billion (£1.8 billion) to date for its augmented reality goggles, but its CEO and founder Rony Abovitz said the company is open to taking a further slug of cash.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Abovitz said: “Any company like ours attempting to do something at this scale, we are taking on some of the biggest companies in the world. We are probably always in the mode of being opportunistic about capital.”
Abovitz didn’t name names, but the “biggest companies” likely includes Apple, which is thought to be working on its own augmented reality headset. And compared to Apple, Magic Leap is a minnow in terms of resources.
The FT reports Abovitz as saying Magic Leap still has lots of its existing capital in reserve, but new cash would help the firm expand internationally, create new products, and educate consumers about the concept of augmented reality headsets.
Magic Leap has generated huge amounts of hype and venture capital for its augmented reality system, which comprises its smart glasses and an accompanying, circular computer which clips onto the wearer’s belt. The idea is that the wearer can overlay things that normally require a screen – like their emails – over the real world.
In one demo application, Magic Leap showed off the ability to project a solar system over the real environment, with the wearer able to interact with 3D objects that sit seamlessly over the real world.
It has taken eight years for the headset to come to market, with Magic Leap announcing the first batch available for pre-order on Wednesday for $US2,295 (£1,799). That money would buy you two iPhone X phones, with some change to spare. Initial reviews were mixed, with some suggesting the headset didn’t mark a major step forward in augmented reality.
Abovitz told the Financial Times this first set is aimed at creators like developers, rather than consumers. He hinted that Magic Leap will be loss-making for some time to come.
“Are we about instant profitability or revenue growth and innovation? We are studying what other great companies have done in the past,” he said. “These are the kinds of gears we are now thinking about.”
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