back to article Wondering what to do with that $2,300 burning a hole in your pocket?

The day has finally arrived! After years of delays and endless over-hyping, Magic Leap has launched its augmented-reality goggles. And it costs a cool $2,295. Plus $60 for a hub to connect it to a PC. Plus $30 for a shoulder strap. Plus $40 for foam inserts. Plus $500 a year if you want its "priority service plan." Which …

  1. SeanR

    can hindsight be augmented?

    I am shocked. SHOCKED I tell you!

    1. K Silver badge

      Re: "does this read more like an ad-icle"

      After testing the Microsoft HoloLens, I'm not!

      All these "augmented reality" products are nothing more than hype, with the final product being 10% of what was promised (and the worst 10% at that). Unless a hooker is going to MagicLeap out of this thing and give the full "service" with MagicSensation (Ⓒ owned by me!), followed by a MagicLeap beer and smoke, that delivers a refreshing MagicSensation as you chug either of them - then these will be about as successful as dehydrated water!

      But I will chuck them one bone - this was a tech preview, so if things did crash out, you could cut a little slack for that. Even software deemed "production" ready suffers this. It's the age where beta is the new production it seems, my wife just spent £400 on a Nintendo Switch + Games for our child me, and every game I've tried so far, has had to download updates to fix bugs!

      1. Jim Mitchell

        Re: "does this read more like an ad-icle"

        Bad comparison choice, "dehydrated water" is quite successful! We call it salt. Heck, the Romans paid their soldiers in salt, hence why we call your pay a "salary".

        1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

          Re: "does this read more like an ad-icle"

          Dehydrated water is ... well, nothing. Dehydrated SALT water is different, obviously.

          1. jarfil

            Re: "does this read more like an ad-icle"

            This is a funny one. While "dehydrated pure/distilled water" is nothing, that's true... we also barely use pure water (distilled, without salts or minerals) for anything, the overwhelming majority osñf uses we have for water require some salt/mineral content, so "dehydrated water" (the salts/minerals) are actually something valuable.

            1. Muscleguy Silver badge
              Boffin

              Re: "does this read more like an ad-icle"

              Labs these days all have deionised water machines. Turns out for a lot of applications DeI water is better than double distilled. Can't remember the last time I saw a still in a Biology lab.

              Also us Aquarists, if we are serious, plumb deionising systems into the plumbing to provide change water free of more than chlorine or chloramine. Trying unsuccessfully to get the phosphate levels down in my tank I checked the tap water, significant levels. Cue email to Scottish Water, they put phosphoric acid in the water to prevent leaching from old lead and copper pipes.

              I've been eyeing a DeI system, I would do it except Mrs Muscelguy would have conniptions. We add stuff back into the DeI water, you can buy the salts necessary. But you get to control them. Those who keep tropical marines or Discus pretty much have to have DeI systems. The marines obviously put far more salt back.

              An entry level DeI system can be had for about GBP100, connection to your tap water being your responsibility. Some years ago I had cause to teach myself compression plumbing (I learned it from a book) when the toilet cistern failed during a little girls' birthday party. I haven't lost the nack.

              Every single time I have turned a stop tap on the plumbing in this house it has failed to work and required it be replaced. I have become a BIG fan of flexible tails of late. That cistern has one now, replacing a lovely series of copper pipes. ONE compression joint replaced 4.

              1. fajensen Silver badge
                Headmaster

                Re: "does this read more like an ad-icle"

                Every single time I have turned a stop tap on the plumbing in this house it has failed to work and required it be replaced.

                These valves are crap and needs to be operated every 3 months or so or they will seize.

                Same with the main shutoff valves. It is always a good show to have a leak, then go to the water mains shutoff to turn it off and it will not budge, then one applies a pipe wrench to the thing and the handle comes off. Good thing that there are usually two valves on the water meter :).

              2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

                Re: "does this read more like an ad-icle"

                Don't use those horrible 50p isolating valves. Get the ones that are physically bigger and cost more. Then they might actually work when you need them.

                1. Ledswinger Silver badge

                  Re: "does this read more like an ad-icle"

                  Get the ones that are physically bigger and cost more.

                  Pegler lever operated full bore ball valves are your one and only friend for this sort of application.

                  When encountering these afterwards, nobody in history has ever said "why did they fit this?", but many many many people have said "thank god somebody fitted this!". At trade prices, ten times the cost of a shitty screwdriver operated reduced bore valve, but worth one hundred times the cost.

      2. steviebuk Silver badge

        Re: "does this read more like an ad-icle"

        MagicSensation no longer owned by you as you've just mentioned it to the world before getting your official copyright on it*

        **

        *As far as I was aware that's what happens if you have a good idea and tell the world before patenting it.

        ** I'll get my coat.

    2. wayward4now
      Linux

      Re: can hindsight be augmented?

      I am more than shocked. I am REALLY shocked, I tell you!

  2. Kaltern Silver badge

    So..let me get this straight.

    In essence, the 1st iteration IS going to be on sale. It's going to be terrible. We all knew this.

    Also, there is ALREADY BUILT another 2 versions, which only 'investors' get to see? I mean, apart from the fact one wonders why they don't just release at LEAST version 2, this whole things is starting to sound very much like a scam.

    I think Abovitz has borrowed Jobs' Reality Distortion Field® - but hasn't figured out how to fine tune it.

    1. Youngone Silver badge

      The problem is they've got it running on a Hooli Box 3, you know, the one with the penis on it.

      They should use that middle-out compression I've been hearing so much about.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "The problem is they've got it running on a Hooli Box 3,"

        .... but did you look at the barmaid?

        As for Hooli boxes ... I recently was at a meeting where a company presented on overview of its technology to us and on a slide showing what they did in various markets were 2 generations of "boxes" for use in data centres - I was very tempted to ask if their future roadmap included a "Gavin Belson signature edition"

    2. Waseem Alkurdi

      In essence, the 1st iteration IS going to be on sale. It's going to be terrible.

      No, it's not called a first iteration! It's called the Creators' Edition, all Windows 10 and Elon Musk style!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I reckon he's built a pyramid scheme...

        Found one rich clutz, to invest, then offered them back 20% for every other clutz they suck into it.. rinse and repeat!

        Or, he's bringing the principle of Loot Crates for into the real world, "men that have everything". Here's something which is mediocre, but there is something potentially 10x better under this towel, before we show you, give us loads of money and sign this NDA!

      2. jarfil

        > Creators' Edition

        To be fair, creators/developers need to have access to beta hardware if you want to have a game/software catalog ready by the time the final version of the hardware gets released.

        The price though... it's a bit steep.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Developers needs hardware, and the current price isn't crazy compared to developer workstations or the MS Hololens.

          However, this version bears out Tim Cook's comment from last year: "The technology doesn't yet exist for an AR experience that isn't rubbish". And there's the thing - what does Magic Leap have that others can't do once the technology improves? A patent here or there maybe, but there's more than one way of skinning a cat (patents are for the *how*, not the *what*.)

          Microsoft are taking the sober approach, targeting professional markets with long standing form for buying pricey visualisation kit (architecture, plant engineering etc).

          Apple.. well, they've been spending silly money on R&D year on year. They have the custom AR silicon engineers, are researching Micro LED production (very high dpi displays), have form in working with content studios, a proven ability to sell pricey gear to the public, a mountain of cash to buy in any tech they need. If Tim Cook says decent AR goggles aren't possible yet, I'm inclined to believe he knows what he's talking about.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            If Tim Cook says decent AR goggles aren't possible yet

            Apple bought multitouch technology buying a smaller company. Breakthroughs not always happen in big R&D centres. And not always need billions and a lot of PR to be developed...

            My take is one day someone will buy some company which has developed the right tech without much fanfare.

            1. Dave 126 Silver badge

              Re: If Tim Cook says decent AR goggles aren't possible yet

              > Apple bought multitouch technology buying a smaller company. Breakthroughs not always happen in big R&D centres.

              For sure - that's my point: Apple know what others in the industry are doing, from big rivals, through Original Equipment Manufacturers, to tiny interesting start ups. If for example there's a company doing interesting stuff with optics that could be applied to AR, Apple will have noticed. I wasn't saying it will be Apple that will create the first really good AR system, I said Tim Cook's comments that the tech required - industry wide (display, optics, silicon performance ) - isn't there yet has been vindicated by Magic Leap's lackluster developer units.

              Apple combined FingerWorks' bought IP with the fruits of a Touch UI skunk works team from within Apple. - a big R&D budget means you can employ people to explore avenues that initially look unpromising. Similarly, the iPod was based around another companies HDDs. The combination of good ingredients is a skill - and often an expensive process - in itself.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In essence, the 1st iteration IS going to be on sale. It's going to be terrible. We all knew this.

      Come on, give it some time and it will be as popular as Google Glasses!

    4. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

      Also, there is ALREADY BUILT another 2 versions

      That is a magic leap of faith, this is Abovitz talking here. I wouldn't accept any more than:

      1) Version 1 has been built.

      2) A cloth covering something unknown has been seen.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Magic Leap

    They took the leap all right. Sounds like the ground finally met up with them.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Verge wonders why there isn’t more: "I’m not sure what its internal studios and partners have been doing with several years with virtually unlimited funding."

    Hookers and blow?

  5. imanidiot Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Well I'll be a monkey's uncle...

    And people are surprised by this news, why exactly? --> I think even she knew better

  6. LDS Silver badge

    Apple 1....

    I think if Wozniak had had a billion or so and whole engineering teams, he would have built a better prototype...

    Also, I'm sure Magic Leap has expensively designed frames for versions 2 and 3 - all they need to show investors. The hardware can wait...

  7. jonathan keith

    I've got a bad feeling about this.

    The ̶S̶i̶n̶c̶l̶a̶i̶r̶ Vega+ *and* Magic Leap in the same week? What next? Human Sacrifice? Dogs and cats living together? Mass hysteria?

    1. Aqua Marina Silver badge

      Re: I've got a bad feeling about this.

      I’m still holding out for the original Duke Nukem Forever. I’ll pretend that the hastily-cobbled-together-replacement never happened.

    2. fajensen Silver badge

      Re: I've got a bad feeling about this.

      The third instalment of Half Life 2?

      1. Kane Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: I've got a bad feeling about this.

        "The third instalment of Half Life 2?"

        Half Life 3 confirmed?

  8. Mark 85 Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Feels like a carnival grifter to me.

    Too much hype raises expectations too high. Lot's of yelling and handwaving. And then there's more promises of 'bigger and better" much like the grifter and his pea under the shell. But they just had to do it to get "funding".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Feels like a carnival grifter to me.

      In other words a cargo cult.

  9. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Hype

    Over-hyping things is what killed No Man's Sky, which is actually a pretty good game, just not what was it was hyped up to be.

    This isn't even a pretty good VR headset though. And the hype is making smart people run far away and write articles like these.

  10. Mayday Silver badge
    FAIL

    So they tell us version 2 and 3 are already on the way?

    And version 1 is both shit and expensive. Do they really expect anyone to buy a v1?

    I wont. Pity. Something like this would be good for my use case if it were any good (flight sim).

    1. jarfil

      Re: So they tell us version 2 and 3 are already on the way?

      It sounds like its main problems are with tracking a changing environment, like on the street or walking around the house, so if you just sit at your desk with a joystick and want to see your control panel, it might work well enough.

      1. Mayday Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: So they tell us version 2 and 3 are already on the way?

        Looks like it.

        However for $2300 (plus the accessories mentioned) I'd expect it to work as advertised and cook my breakfast and supply my hookers and blow habit.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: So they tell us version 2 and 3 are already on the way?

          A lot of what makes this headset expensive ( the AR lenses and room tracking) wouldn't benefit it use for flight sims. A VR headset would be a better match, and far cheaper. If you're interested, I'd hunt for some flight simulator forums, see how others have got on with it.

          - there's a really cheap option, an IR emitter you wear on your head to track where you look. I hear it works well with flight / space sims.

          1. SkippyBing Silver badge

            Re: So they tell us version 2 and 3 are already on the way?

            '- there's a really cheap option, an IR emitter you wear on your head to track where you look. I hear it works well with flight / space sims.'

            There's an even cheaper option, facetrack no IR which just uses your webcam to calculate the position of your head. It worked quite well when I tried it but I could never get used to turning your head one way to move the view and your eyes the other to keep the monitor in sight, it just felt unnatural but some people swear by it.

            1. stephanh Silver badge

              Re: So they tell us version 2 and 3 are already on the way?

              Telling your customers a much better product is just around the corner is always a great idea, just ask Adam Osborne.

  11. ma1010 Silver badge
    Trollface

    The BOFH has seen this before

    SALESDROID: "Well, that would be version one. But we promise that version 1.1 would have perfect performance, no lag, and so secure it'll seem like magic."

    BOFH: "You're lying aren't you?"

    SALESDROID: "Of course, I'm in sales!"

    Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

  12. IceC0ld Bronze badge

    Just a shame his billion-dollar headset is shit.

    I feel that this as a headline would have sufficed for the entire article, and that yes, yet again, mouth got WAY in front of brain

  13. JLV Silver badge

    much wailing and gnashing @ https://www.reddit.com/r/magicleap/

    imperial clothes have disappeared

    gravity has reasserted itself

    unicorns are not prancing over the rose colored clouds

    the future is not quite here and it's even less lumped in this particular snake oil shop

    asking $2300 takes some serious cojones

    But, damn fine job on all the social media and promotioning, ML. Good looking models, groovy spectacles. That's what counts most, after all.

    Good call, El Reg.

    Those were the days: https://www.reddit.com/r/magicleap/comments/8ym04z/the_registers_latest_article_on_magic_leap_sinks/

  14. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    FAIL

    TBH I'd thought they solved this problem decades ago.

    For update rates isn't the usual hack to make frame rate inversely proportional to rate of motion? As you move s-l-o-w-l-y it keeps up, then as you swing your head fast it skips them and gives you "motion blur" till your motion slows down and it can stabilize the image.

    Presumably these are the results with those tricks included, and they still sound s**t. :-(

    I always figured this "augmented reality" stuff would be great for overlaying diagrams of hardware (like engines and gas turbines) on the real hardware and showing how to take them apart ("exploding" them in real time). Or LURP style games?

    My other obvious question is this a $3K (with all the rest of the s**t) headset with $2 motion sensors inside?

    Still they seemed to have released more hardware than Tharanos and this Unicorn is not dead yet.

    But is that much of an achievement?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: TBH I'd thought they solved this problem decades ago.

      It's a different issue. This isn't VR's issues of tracking headset motion, this is AR with issues of tracking physical objects. Yeah, they'll be some tricks and techniques learnt from developing VR, but AR presents its own challenges.

      1. MrXavia

        Re: TBH I'd thought they solved this problem decades ago.

        "It's a different issue. This isn't VR's issues of tracking headset motion, this is AR with issues of tracking physical objects. Yeah, they'll be some tricks and techniques learnt from developing VR, but AR presents its own challenges."

        The MS Mixed Reality (that for now seems to be pure VR not mixed) works pretty damn well with its optical tracking so it is possible to do well.

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        It's a different issue... this is AR with issues of tracking physical objects.

        Fair enough.

        Well given how much cameras on phones have gone up in resolution and down in price I'd guess a ring of them round the helmet shouldn't be that difficult.

        Again, do you need maximum frame rate when the background is moving too fast to follow?

        This suggests the key issue is the mapping of the artificial onto the real world.

    2. fajensen Silver badge
      Angel

      Re: TBH I'd thought they solved this problem decades ago.

      I always figured this "augmented reality" stuff would be great for overlaying diagrams of hardware...

      The market for that is ... like 100 pieces per year - maybe. To get the volume up and push costs down where the "professional" price point would work out, they simply have be be able to render bouncing titties and bums accurately - that is where the volume is!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: TBH I'd thought they solved this problem decades ago.

        The market for that is ... like 100 pieces per year - maybe. You are Thomas Watson and I claim my £5.

        Fairly easy to imagine one of these for every engineer working on something big and expensive like a gas turbine or a commercial aircraft or a tank Then for techs working on things that cheap but complicated like a car or a human body. Then things that are simple cheap but there are lots of variants, like a domestic heating boiler or a laptop.

        Then the hobbyists get them - all those YouTube videos of how to fix your Dyson or your Morris Minor get the AR treatment.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: TBH I'd thought they solved this problem decades ago.

          I always figured this "augmented reality" stuff would be great for overlaying diagrams of hardware (like engines and gas turbines) on the real hardware

          Trouble is that displaying the instructuons over the top of complex parts make them impossible to read.

          You either have to set some white background around the text and diagrams, or the user is forced to move to 'look' at some blank wall to read them

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: TBH I'd thought they solved this problem decades ago.

            Oh if only humans had more than one sense - for instance could you synch subtle air pressure variations to transmit instructions?

            If that's too complicated I imagine some sort of split screen, maybe some sort of sidebar. Hey - I better patent that. 'Method of displaying information in a central area of screen focus, with ancillary information or adverts presented in two sidebars". No prior art there.

        2. fajensen Silver badge

          Re: TBH I'd thought they solved this problem decades ago.

          Then the hobbyists get them -

          The hobbyists needs to get them first or there will be no high-end market. The place where I work, they are very much into Big-Money, Big-Systems CAD from Dassault. Including 3D visualisation.

          The trouble is that none of it works very well.

          One reason that none of it works very well is that very, very, few people have the money combined with the lack of sense to "invest" in these tools. So the developers constantly runs into "new situations" every time they deploy something (The CAD workstations even have to use some special version nVidia graphics card which is about 2000 EUR ... If they had just stuck with normal, high-end, gamer-card compatibility, those would have been faster, cheaper and there would even be fixed drivers and support). Another reason is that most people "investing" in these high-end boutique tools are people like the F-35 project, with unlimited tax-payer funding and which does not have to deliver anything that really works for another 3-4 generations of engineers. Powerpoints and beautiful sims will do just fine.

          In "IT" I think it is more effective to go relatively low-end, where the volume is and people will accept limitations and faults, in order to get sufficient design iterations and volume needed to be able to also market a reliable high-end product for the professional market. The opposite strategy of Tesla.

  15. pavel.petrman

    ...to effusively wax lyrical about any new technology just because it's new

    Exactly - magic Leap isn't new anymore, even to tech journalists. Even the best paid PR babble eventually wears out (except, apparently, the political PR babble).

  16. MrKrotos

    Its simples :)

    Investors = Magic Sheep

    Product = Tragic Shit

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Coat

      Investors = Magic Sheep

      Isn't that what every tech startup is looking for a supply of?

  17. Woza
    Joke

    But but

    Where do they strap on the blockchain?!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is sounding more and more like General Magic.............well funded, impressive tech for the era but ahead of the this-is-acceptable-to-normal-human-beings-to-use capabilities. I'm optimistic though, that with some of the people I follow who've seen some of the later versions of the headset that what is to come will be more and more interesting. Whether they end up prioneering a lot of the field and burning out, or owning the field, is open to debate though!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Magic

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      FAIL

      This is sounding more and more like General Magic.......

      Bu***hit.

      You either know nothing about the history of computer tech

      or

      you're a Magic Leap investor, praying all those $ haven't been p**sed up against a wall.

      Or quite possibly both.

  19. hopkinse
    Mushroom

    Meh

    I'll stick with my Joo Janta 200's

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyone remember Occulus Rift?

    I haven't exactly been following this whole niche market very closely, but IIRC the Rift did more or less everything that this device has promised (altho possibly with the "AR" bit done by way of processing the take from a pair of cameras rather than trying to do an overlay/HUD-type display on a see-through surface) some.. *ponders* 15+ years ago? It seems to have vanished after being borged up by Facebook though.

    1. onefang Silver badge

      Re: Anyone remember Occulus Rift?

      "I haven't exactly been following this whole niche market very closely," ... "It seems to have vanished after being borged up by Facebook though."

      You really should have been paying more attention then.

  21. onefang Silver badge

    '"While the visuals tend to look sharp and stay still, when I swiftly shake my head, they sometimes split into red, green, and blue bits as I move around," warns MIT Tech Review.'

    I've been saying for some time that Magic Leap is a LSD delivery device. The problem is they have the wrong type of journo reviewing it. I wonder what High Times would say about it?

  22. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

    Now, where are all of those people who said this was a con?

  23. JohnFen Silver badge

    New corporate slogan?

    "Magic Leap: it will all come good soon"

  24. ozfoggy

    Fake it until

    Fake it until you Theranos it

  25. Fire At Will

    What happened to castAR's IP?

    What happened to the tech assets that castAR was developing before they ran out of cash? The fundamentals were already down and the prototypes worked pretty well, 4 years ago. It used retroreflective fabric and projected onto it, making it vastly cheaper and avoiding the problems of Magic Leap. They even managed to build a VR adapter and they weren't that far off mass production. They had the right people on that side of things at least.

    The tracking tech was superb, if nothing else I'd like to see that tech resurface.

    Anyone know who bought the assets or if Jeri or Rick have given more info somewhere?

  26. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
    Pint

    Blowing smoke

    If I may gush for a moment, this kind of thing is why I (and I'm sure so many others) read The Register in preference to the "mainstream" tech press. Here, they might not always be first to press (except when they are of course) but you know you're going to get some sort of analysis or opinion, rather than reformatted press releases or fawning cretins who won't call out terrible products for what they are. Cheers!

  27. mildy bemused

    They've weaponized the Osborne Effect

    Even before v1 has shipped, tell everyone that v2 will be much better. Show how close v2 is because there it is on that table covered by a sheet. So nobody buys v1 or develops anything for it, and nobody complains about it...

    Brilliant.

    .

  28. 0laf Silver badge
    Holmes

    Is AR/VR really going to take off?

    I can remember the hype around 3D TVs from about 10yr ago. I knew a few people who even bought them. they must have used the 3D function maybe 2 or three times then never again. I've nerve heard anyone mention getting a 3D tv ever again but I have heard people talking about 4k and HDR as desirable things.

    AR/VR might go the same way. It might be that the majority of people don't want to stumble around feeling sick whilst playing a game and that sitting in front of a non-3D telly playing a well rendered 4k game on an HDR set is what most people want.

  29. PaulR79
    Thumb Up

    Might I offer a few suggestions for the company's new name? It isn't magic, nothing is and that's a given but it isn't a leap either.

    Tech Shuffle, Electric Limp, Gadget Half-Step

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More of a "hop" than a "leap"

    It is a bit better than hololens because it's a bit lighter (in part because of the belt pack which is a of an annoyance having wires down your back to this other computer), it's field of view is larger, but still too small by far. Also, it's amazing how little content there is given all those game developers they hired. You get some cats, a flying saucer, some fish type things that make music which is "oh wow!" and then you'd never use that again. There is the 3D construction tool which you can kind of make your living room into an aquarium. It has flaws in tracking and in color registration. I wear contacts so it doesn't track my eyes well.

    Downside: after using it for 40 minutes, it had heated up my sinuses to an uncomfortable level which left a sinus headache for the next few hours.

    In short, it's a bit of a "hop" above hololens, hololens doesn't get as hot and I'd recommend limiting time on device to under 20minutes at a go due to this problem.

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