‘Vans World’ Opens Shop in the Metaverse via Gamer Roblox

Lifestyle apparel firm Vans has teamed with Roblox to bring skateboard destination “Vans World” to the online gamer’s vast audience. The creator of iconic footwear for boarders of all stripes is the latest brand to plant its flag in the metaverse, where kids are spending increasingly large chunks of time. Sony Music Entertainment, Gucci, BMG, Warner Bros. Pictures, Hasbro and Nike are among the firms that have partnered with Roblox, a global social platform with its own currency that in Q2 reported more than 42 million daily users who create and share immersive 3D experiences. Continue reading ‘Vans World’ Opens Shop in the Metaverse via Gamer Roblox

Apple Buys Primephonic, Plans to Debut Classical Music App

Apple officially inked a deal to acquire Primephonic, a popular classical music streaming service. The tech giant reportedly plans to launch a standalone classical music app sometime in 2022. Due to the acquisition, Primephonic stopped accepting new customers immediately and will temporarily go offline on September 7, when Apple begins to integrate the app into Apple Music. Apple told worried fans that it will combine Primephonic’s classical user interface “that fans have grown to love with more added features.” Continue reading Apple Buys Primephonic, Plans to Debut Classical Music App

Illuminarium to Launch ‘Wild’ Immersive Experience in Atlanta

On July 1, experiential entertainment company Illuminarium Experiences will open its first location in Atlanta, Georgia, offering “Wild,” a virtual safari shot by RadicalMedia. The company’s immersive entertainment is intended to offer a kind of virtual reality — but without the clunky headsets. Instead, visitors walk through exhibits with 4K video on giant screens, spatial sound systems, haptic flooring and other interactive features including scent. Tickets for “Wild,” at $35, give the visitor an hour to walk through an 8,000-square-foot room. Continue reading Illuminarium to Launch ‘Wild’ Immersive Experience in Atlanta

Apple Unveils New OS, Privacy Updates and More at WWDC

Apple’s WWDC annual week-long developer conference kicked off with a first peak at iOS 15 enhancements. That includes the next version of FaceTime, which will more closely resemble Zoom, including a grid view for group calls and spatial audio and voice isolation features. The company teased new software updates for AirPods Pro and AirPods, and a multitasking menu for iPadOS 15, coming this fall. The upcoming watchOS 8 will boost fitness, sleep and meditation features. Among numerous other announcements, the company showed data privacy improvements and revealed that HomeKit will now support Siri. Continue reading Apple Unveils New OS, Privacy Updates and More at WWDC

Snap Introduces Augmented Reality Spectacles for Creators

During last week’s Snap Partner Summit 2021, Snap showcased Spectacles, a new augmented reality version of its glasses that is not yet commercially available. Instead, the goal is to inspire creators to design new augmented reality experiences, with the aim of capitalizing on e-commerce. The company also updated the Scan feature, which, in concert with partners, allows use of the camera to identify everything from plants to dog breeds and car models. Chief executive Evan Spiegel said the moves are “a meaningful step forward in our platform strategy.” Continue reading Snap Introduces Augmented Reality Spectacles for Creators

Google I/O: Android 12, Remote Working Tools, Wear Update

At this week’s Google I/O developer conference, the company unveiled its Android 12 mobile operating system with numerous visual changes and new privacy features. The company also showcased Project Starline, a prototype virtual meeting booth that could replace Google Meet. In addition, Google is tweaking its smartwatch Wear OS and has improved Photos’ discovery and Chrome’s built-in password manager. More remote working tools and new natural language skills were debuted. Google also tweaked Maps and shopping tools. Continue reading Google I/O: Android 12, Remote Working Tools, Wear Update

Amazon Music, Apple Music Unveil Hi-Res Audio for All Subs

Apple Music and Amazon Music are unveiling high-resolution audio to subscribers at no extra cost. Amazon Music had announced that its Amazon Music HD is available to all eligible Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers and Apple revealed that subscribers will be able to access Lossless Audio, “to hear the exact same thing that artists created in the studio.” Apple Music users will, based on their connection, be able to choose music resolution from CD quality (16 bit/44.1 kHz) up to Hi-Resolution Lossless at 24 bit/192 kHz. Continue reading Amazon Music, Apple Music Unveil Hi-Res Audio for All Subs

ETC Executive Coffee: USC Students Meet with Dolby Execs

In the final Fall 2020 installment of ETC@USC’s Executive Coffee with… series on November 12, Dolby Laboratories proposed two discussion topics: 1) Virtual and augmented reality; what are they good for, and what concerns you about them? And 2) Privacy, security and controlling your own data. Richard Doherty, senior director of technology strategy, Office of the CTO at Dolby Labs led a group of 14 Dolby employees in a discussion with seven USC students studying cinema, engineering, music, communication and business. Continue reading ETC Executive Coffee: USC Students Meet with Dolby Execs

WWDC: Apple Unveils New Silicon Chips, macOS, iOS, More

At WWDC this week, Apple officially announced its plan to move from Intel chips to ARM-based “Apple Silicon” chips. With its own chips, Apple will no longer have to rely on Intel’s update cycles. It also means that Apple will be able to bring its customized neural engines to Macs for tasks that use machine learning. Apple stated that developers will be able to create apps that run on ARM-based Macs in Xcode’s new version, which will also continue to support Intel x86 Macs. Additionally, the company announced iOS 14 (with home screen widgets), iPadOS 14 (with Scribble handwriting-to-text conversion), macOS and Safari upgrades, spatial audio for AirPods Pro, Apple TV updates, and more.  Continue reading WWDC: Apple Unveils New Silicon Chips, macOS, iOS, More

CES Features the Latest Advances in VR and AR Headsets

During CES we saw a number of VR and AR headsets that illustrate the emerging trends and most recent developments in this space. LetinAR showcased its PinMR optical solution with glasses that leverage 11 pinhole micromirrors per eye in order to deliver a clear and bright image. Panasonic demonstrated a prototype of its new VR headset with micro OLED 2,048 x 2,048 resolution, HDR and spatial audio. Human Capable presented its lightweight and affordable glasses expected to ship Q2 this year, while Pimax showed an updated tethered HMD with native 4K per eye display. And Nreal showed significant improvement to the brightness of its AR display. Continue reading CES Features the Latest Advances in VR and AR Headsets

Oculus Quest to Launch With YouTube VR’s Million Videos

When Facebook’s Oculus Quest debuts on May 21, Google’s YouTube VR and its more than one million public VR videos will be available as an app. The app — first launched in 2016 — is already released for Oculus Go, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR, Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream View. YouTube VR will allow Quest headset wearers to search for videos via voice and find VR (and non-VR) YouTube content with a “VR-optimized interface.” The VR movie theater Bigscreen will also launch on Oculus Quest and the Rift S headsets. Continue reading Oculus Quest to Launch With YouTube VR’s Million Videos

CES: The Next Wave of Immersive Media Tech and Markets

For a long time, we have posited that the future of immersive media will be 10 percent virtual reality and 90 percent augmented reality. In the coming year the VR and AR technologies and markets will continue to advance, but in different directions and for different reasons. VR is moving into niche markets, location-based entertainment (LBE), business applications and eSports. Meanwhile, we expect AR to focus on innovation across numerous fronts, including high-end niche business and professional applications, low-end consumer experiences and new glasses with limited feature sets. Continue reading CES: The Next Wave of Immersive Media Tech and Markets

Sony Showcases Interactive Hologram Experiences at SXSW

The South by Southwest (SXSW) technology, media and culture conference is taking place in Austin, Texas this week. From March 10-13, Sony invited guests to its WOW Studio, an interactive exhibit blending art and technology that featured displays and prototypes involving spatial audio, AI and robotics, tabletop projection, VR gaming, and more. Sony created interactive augmented reality without the fuss (or added cost) of goggles, glasses or other headgear, and SXSW attendees had the opportunity to participate in immersive hologram experiences.

Continue reading Sony Showcases Interactive Hologram Experiences at SXSW

HTC Beefs Up Resolution and Adds Headphones to Vive Pro

HTC’s new Vive Pro VR headset made a major splash this week in Las Vegas and received notable Best of CES awards, including the Best Gaming Product from Engadget and the Best VR/AR award from The Verge. HTC added built-in headphones to this version and increased the resolution of the dual-OLED displays 78 percent to 2,880 x 1,600 (1,400 x 1,600 per eye). The headphones offer spatial audio support, but no noise-canceling functionality. HTC added dual microphones and dual front-facing cameras, which should attract developers. Continue reading HTC Beefs Up Resolution and Adds Headphones to Vive Pro

VR and AR Expected to Further Redefine Experiences at CES

Virtual reality, augmented reality and immersive experiences crossed over the apex of the hype curve and are now tracking the slope of enlightenment as they develop into niche market applications or pivot into location-based entertainment. Resolution, frame rate, horizontal and vertical field of view in the HMDs (head mounted displays), and head and body tracking technology, have all improved over the last year with further advances expected next month at CES 2018 in Las Vegas. This applies equally to next generation HMDs, projection, and heads-up approaches to immersive experiences. Continue reading VR and AR Expected to Further Redefine Experiences at CES