December 12, 2019
Magic Leap formally released Magic Leap 1, its much-anticipated augmented reality headset. The name was changed from the beta version, Magic Leap One Creator Edition, that has been selling at $2,295. Magic Leap 1, priced at $2,995, is targeting enterprise customers since the price is too high for most consumers. Accordingly, the headset was released with enterprise-oriented apps, including 3D visualization, communication, collaboration, location-based services, learning/assistance and “copresence.”
VentureBeat reports that Magic Leap chief product officer Omar Khan stated that the company’s strategy “for a long time” has been to focus on enterprise customers. “Over the past 16 months, we’ve been working on a hardware, software, and solutions platform necessary to serve the enterprise and business customers in a scalable fashion,” he said. “We tend to be classified as a consumer device because a lot of our enterprise work was behind the scenes and behind the doors of our enterprise customers. The enterprise has absolutely been in our strategy from the beginning.”
According to The Information, the company sold only 6,000 Magic Leap One Creator Edition headsets of its initial target to sell 100,000; Magic Leap countered that this report was “littered with inaccuracies and misleading statements and erroneously portrays Magic Leap’s operations, internal plans, and overall strategy.”
Also reported was that, due to poor sales, Magic Leap has had to cut costs and lay off workers. Chief financial officer Scott Henry and senior vice president, creative strategy John Gaeta are two high-profile executives who left the company. VB reports that, “Magic Leap reportedly signed over its patents to JPMorgan Chase,” opining that the focus on enterprise could be chief executive Rony Abovitz’s “Hail Mary” play. Since 2010, Magic Leap has raised “an estimated $2.6 billion.”
The new Magic Leap Enterprise Suite is available online and includes “everything a business needs to efficiently roll out spatial computing to employees and enable them to log into their device using their enterprise credentials, manage the device and data, and deploy enterprise or custom-built applications.” In the offing, Magic Leap plans to begin beta-tests for Jump by Magic Leap, “a platform for communication, collaboration, and copresence that will allow people who are either physically present or digitally co-present to collaborate.”
Global French banking group BNP Paribas is an early Magic Leap enterprise customer; in 2020, JetBlue Vacations plans to “pilot an immersive experience for customers to visit and explore one of their premier international hotel destinations using Magic Leap 1.”
The Verge reports that there is “no significant change” in the headset from the beta version, which is likely why Magic Leap does not call it a “next generation” device. The company also stated it plans to release Magic Leap 2 in 2021. In addition to being available online, Magic Leap 1 will be available through AT&T. Khan also noted that Magic Leap is not “abandoning plans for consumers,” but that this market is still small.