- Magic Leap showed off a 5-second video of a music app it developed with Icelandic rock band Sigur Ros.
- The video is colourful and beautiful, but Magic Leap’s hardware is not shown.
- Magic Leap has not announced when it will release its first product, which is a pair of smartglasses said to cost between $US1,000 and $US1,500.
Magic Leap is an unusual startup.
It has mountains of money, raising $US1.9 billion in funding from investors including Google, Alibaba, and Singapore’s Temasek Holdings. It’s based in Florida, not California. And it hasn’t released a product yet – nobody’s even seen the company’s product without signing a lengthy non-disclosure agreement.
Still, people who have demoed Magic Leap, which is said to be a pair of smart glasses with software and games, say it will change the world. Magic Leap is seen as one of the leaders in a technology called “augmented reality,” which integrates computer graphics into the real world.
On Monday, the Plantation, Florida-based company released five seconds of soundless new video of what its highly anticipated technology can do when it comes to music software. It’s the first Magic Leap demo video released since 2016.
This video was uploaded to the Icelandic rock band Sigur Ros’ YouTube page. They’re collaborating with Magic Leap to create a music app called Tónandi.
When asked if this video was shot through Magic Leap hardware, representative Julia Gaynor said that it was “captured in engine.” A watermark on images shared with Pitchfork note the new images were “shot in engine,” as opposed to a previous 2016 video that included the caption “shot directly through Magic Leap technology…no special effects or compositing were used.”
The latest video is dark and captured from a stationary perspective, potentially signalling issues with Magic Leap’s hardware that still need to be solved. It also appears to be filmed in Magic Leap’s demo room, which is laid out like a living room, like how the product is expected to be used. There are blank picture frames visible in the photo, which could be digitally filled by software images.
The music-centered announcement could also signal that Magic Leap is putting a lot of emphasis on the software and content experiences it’s developing, not just the hardware. Magic Leap has hundreds of comic book artists and other designers working on content for the company.
Pitchfork got to try the Tónandi app out. Here’s their take:
“Upon my arrival at Magic Leap, I’m quickly fitted with the current incarnation of their device (the company has strict agreements prohibiting visitors from discussing its hardware). And then it begins: There’s a nervous hum, and then I see a group of little sprites floating around in front of me. The jellyfish-like creatures seem to match the waveform of the music I’m hearing through headphones. Encouraged to explore with my hands, I reach out, causing the waveforms to alter shape-both visually and in the audio playback, like a SoundCloud embed that’s somehow alive, three-dimensional, and responding to my movements. After initial sheepishness, I chase these non-existent tónandi like a clumsily psychotic bear in a very expensive gadget shop.”
Magic Leap’s product is expected to cost between $US1,000 and $US1,500, Business Insider previously reported. It will be a pair of smartglasses with attached battery and processing packs. It’s primarily a gaming machine, people close to Magic Leap told Business Insider. One piece of software for the glasses is a steampunk shooter called “Dr. Grodborts Invaders.” No launch date has been announced, disappointing fans who expected a 2017 launch of some kind.
Still, Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz says there’s more Magic Leap news to trickle out this year.
A few more things this week. Stay tuned.
— Rony Abovitz (@rabovitz) December 19, 2017
Know anything about Magic Leap? Contact the author at [email protected]