Big XR News from Meta, Apple, Sightful, and Arvizio

Mid year reshuffles lend insight into months ahead

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Mixed RealityNews Analysis

Published: July 5, 2024

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Rory Greener

Gears are turning as the mid-year crossover is in full effect. Soon, Meta will host its Connect 2024 event, whereby the firm will announce innovations in its XR product portfolio.

Meanwhile, Apple is working to boost the availability of Vision Pro as the firm gears up to announce a new XR device in the coming years.

The second half of 2024 is packed full of events. Expect the XR industry to react with groundbreaking news and products as these showcases come about.

New Meta Hardware and Dropping of Quest Security Support

Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta, recently spoke with a YouTube content creator to share details about the company’s roadmap from AI to XR. This conversation provided insight into what Meta may have in store for its upcoming showcase event. During the discussion, Zuckerberg discussed the lessons learned from Meta’s collaboration with Ray-Ban, the future of smartphones, neural interface wristbands, and the development of powerful new AR glasses.

Zuckerberg explains:

When people hear neural interface, the first instinct is it must wire into your brain. But I think most people are not going to want something wired with their brain. But your brain sends signals to your body through your nervous system. – So you can have a wristband that gets trained to pick up different signals and pathways of your brain communicating to move your hand.

Zuckerberg mentioned that workers could potentially use a neural interface for tasks such as typing documents or controlling a cursor. He believes that when combined with AR glasses, this will enable a wide range of unique use cases. Additionally, he stated that neural interfaces will not only be a part of Meta’s plans but will soon be considered by companies working on different APIs.

In addition to significant interface advancements, Meta is also developing a new pair of AR smartglasses, which the company suggests will be more powerful and groundbreaking than the Ray-Ban device.

Additionally, alongside the announcement, Meta noted Quest 1 owners that the firm will no longer support security functionalities on the device.

Meta has announced via email that they will continue to provide security and bug fixes for the legacy device until August 31, 2024. After this date, official support will cease. Additionally, Meta emphasized in the email that Quest 1 devices holding sensitive user or business data are vulnerable to potential exploitation by hackers who can take advantage of emerging security vulnerabilities.

Apple Ramps Up Vision Pro International Supply Chains

As of Friday, June 28, Apple debuted its MR headset in China (mainland, 24,502 CNY), Japan (484,415 JPY), and Singapore (4,725 SGD). Apple is also debuting the Vision Pro in Australia (5,195 AUD), Canada (4,725 CAD), France (3,245 EUR), Germany (3,245 EUR), and the United Kingdom (2,785 GBP) starting Friday, July 12.

In the buildup to this increase in general availability, reports show how Apple reacts to this new influx of potential customers. Apple is refining the distribution process to improve the supply chain from manufacturing to customer-facing in-store demoing.

Chinese reports state that Apple is approaching new partners to request the materials required to develop its OLED+CF display. Apple is working with two of the region’s panel manufacturers to secure this new OLED order.

Following Apple’s desire to increase Vision Pro production capacities, Apple is moving from its Sony OLED manufacturing reliance that requires a maximum cap of 900,000 units per year.

Instead, Apple sent a Request for Information to Samsung Display and LG Display to analyze whether either firm was equipped to take on Apple’s order.

Moreover, Apple is altering the Vision Pro for in-store demos in China, Japan, and Singapore.

After the device’s launch in different regions, Apple is showcasing the product with the Dual Loop Band instead of the Solo Knit Band. This decision emphasizes Apple’s preference as the company designs in-store demonstrations to introduce its mixed reality headset to new consumers and provide the best experience.

Sightful Lays off Staff and Shut Hardware Division

Sightful, the company behind the upcoming AR laptop device “Spacetop,” has announced that it is laying off 20 employees and disbanding its hardware division. This decision is part of a long-term strategy to focus on developing AR software solutions.

In an official press release, the company stated that the layoffs were not part of its original plan, especially as they are developing the Spacetop and the recent G1 model. In May, the company reaffirmed its commitment to the product by introducing a new sleeker Spacetop G1 device, which would cost early buyers an initial $100 and a total of $1700. Sightful also has an early adopters program that allows users to request devices before the general release window.

The Spacetop was designed to provide users with a spatial computing productivity device. With support from smart glasses vendor XREAL, it integrates leading technology without compromising the device’s form factor.

However, Sightful explained that rapid advancements in the broader market align with the company’s long-term strategic vision to scale down staffing, focus on software, and bring AR productivity to as many people as possible.

Arvizio Welcomes New CEO

Arvizio has appointed Taimoor Nawab as its new CEO to expand the firm’s business opportunities. The company aims to enhance its capability to provide AI-ready AR/MR hardware for enterprise uses such as training, productivity, and operational efficiency.

Nawab is bringing his expertise from his previous role as SVP & Head at Syntronic R&D Canada, where he gained experience in business growth and complex product solutions for a wide range of clients. With the new CEO at the helm, the company intends to speed up the deployment of its enterprise-grade XR devices.

This appointment will also allow Arvizio to improve the distribution of XR products to clients, offering advanced features and products suitable for enterprise needs. The company stated that its products are poised to “revolutionize” enterprises with innovative realty tools.

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