The Verge has a long history of complaining about hyperbolic non-statements from Florida-based startup Magic Leap. But today, Magic Leap is taking its vague grandiosity to previously unknown levels, with a video called “How It All Began.”
Before I say anything more, I’d like you to go ahead and watch the video below.
Okay, now answer a simple question that we’ve been asking for years:
What is Magic Leap?
Seriously, pretend you’ve never heard of this company, and somebody shows you this video. What do you imagine Magic Leap is making?
Here’s a quote to help you out:
“Wouldn’t it be cool if you could have computing spill outside the computer, almost like an art project? I think Magic Leap really did start out as an art project first, and then it turned out like, maybe there’s some science behind this.”
Or maybe you could look at the only picture of Magic Leap-branded hardware in the video: a paper notebook.
Now, here’s what we’ve previously seen of Magic Leap. This is a patent filing that gets across the basic idea they’re advertising: augmented reality glasses.
Here’s a leaked photo of what’s supposedly a prototype, which Magic Leap says isn’t representative of the final product.
And here’s a little taste of what objects supposedly look like inside it, which is pretty cool — if we ever get a chance to see them.
Magic Leap recently redesigned its website, hinting that something new is coming. The video is billed as the first part of Magic Leap’s “whole story,” which is “coming soon.” So this video is supposed to function like the hype roll after an Apple or Google announcement, full of inspiring voiceovers about how some new product will change the world. Apple and Google, however, generally wait to release these videos once we’ve at least seen the supposedly magical thing.
It’s fine for a company to preserve a sense of mystique around its products — certainly better than announcing a specific product before it’s ready. But Magic Leap’s secrecy has made it hard to judge some very serious allegations against the company. It settled a lawsuit accusing company managers of egregiously bigoted and unprofessional behavior earlier this year, and has been dogged by claims that it’s nowhere near delivering the device that it promised.
The new website has a massive list of jobs open, which suggests that Magic Leap is genuinely gearing up to hit a milestone. So I can only hope that soon, we’ll be writing posts about something more than vaporware.