If 12 years of development and billions of dollars of investment isn’t enough of a red flag for you that you should probably avoid Magic Leap’s augmented reality hardware, the average consumer can finally buy the Magic Leap headset starting this September: assuming the average consumer has $3,300 to drop on a fancy pair of AR goggles.
Founded by Rony Abovitz in 2010, Magic Leap has become one of Silicon Valley’s (although the company is actually based in Plantation, Florida) most infamous—what’s the opposite of success without completely failing?—stories, raising billions of dollars over the past decade in an effort to create a cutting edge augmented reality headset that blends the real world with computer generated imagery and interfaces in real time. To date, the most successful product the company has created is hype for a product that many assumed would never make it into the hands of consumers, but Magic Leap has finally proven them wrong.
In 2019, Magic Leap was valued at a staggering $6.7 billion, but by 2020, it was close to completely shutting down. The company cleaned house, fired a bunch of people, including its founder, Rony Abovitz, who was replaced by Peggy Johnson, a former Microsoft VP, as CEO. In late 2021, Magic Leap announced it had raised another half a billion dollars and revealed a render of the Magic Leap 2 headset, which it promised would be released this year. After so many years of empty promises, the company is finally delivering headsets for consumers, developers, and enterprise clients.
The pricing for the Magic Leap 2 headset, which will officially be available starting on September 30, 2022, is staggering. The base model “targets professionals and developers that wish to access one of the most advanced augmented reality devices available” and starts at $3,299 with a one year warranty. The Magic Leap 2 Developer Pro model includes access to developer tools and access to monthly early release software updates for $4,099, while the Magic Leap 2 Enterprise option adds an extended two-year warranty and “is targeted for environments that require flexible, large-scale IT deployments and robust enterprise features” for $4,999.
Unlike virtual reality headsets that are completely self contained, like the Meta Quest 2, the lighter Magic Leap 2 is tethered by a wire to a clunky wearable device, but also includes a wireless handheld controller for navigating AR content. With 12 years of development behind the hardware, most are expecting great things from the Magic Leap 2, but with companies like Apple expected to announce their own augmented reality hardware in the near future, Magic Leap’s timing has left it open to what will undoubtedly be some very stiff competition soon.