The year is 2018. You just received your own Magic Leap One: Creator Edition. What now?
Rewinding back to today, we know of one specific app that will be available for Magic Leap's device, along with two others that could be tagged as highly likely. Paired with Magic Leap's own experiments and demonstrations, we can get a sense of what the playground for this new toy will offer.
First, announced at New York Comic-Con in October, Madefire will adapt its motion comics app for Magic Leap. The company will leverage Magic Leap's digital lightfield, visual perception, and soundfield audio features to fully immerse readers in its comics. Story panels will float in air, and readers will be able to look inside the panels and view the action from numerous angles.
"Our goal is to be where the myths of the 21st century are created and we've built a creator-first platform to enable anyone to create a Motion Book and tell their story," said Ben Wolstenholme, CEO of Madefire, at the time. "Magic Leap is developing the ultimate stage for storytelling--with the same belief in the power of stories and creators."
More recently, Magic Leap revealed a collaboration with Icelandic experimental rock group Sigur Rós. Dubbed Tónandi, the app pairs original compositions written exclusively for the app with interactive visuals. With hand gestures, listeners can manipulate the visuals to amplify individual instruments and voices. (It's kind of reminiscent of this scene from the Marvel TV series "Legion.")
Will it be available at launch? That's a big...maybe.
"After four years under wraps, we are more than excited to finally go public about our relationship with Magic Leap," the band said via Twitter. "Even now, though, we are still at the very inception of a project with near unlimited potential for creativity and fun."
Another strong possibility for launch, as reported by Rolling Stone, is a first-person shooter game from the gaming division of renown special effects shop Weta Workshop, best known for its work in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Featured prominently in Magic Leap's infamous concept video (produced with help from Weta), the game challenges players to shoot robots that transport into the real world via virtual portals.
"We have been working on it for about five years," said Weta co-founder Richard Taylor. "We've been developing the game in direct correlation with the hardware and software development at Magic Leap."
Another possibility is a holographic personal assistant, like Siri or Alexa, with a body that you can see. Previously described by NBA star Andre Iguodala, the assistant would not only respond to voice commands, but also utilize the device's sensors to track eye movements. However, it's unclear whether the assistant has graduated from concept to actual usable app just yet.
After that, we're left with demonstrated potential. Along with revealing images of the device and an outline of its features, Magic Leap has shared descriptions and artist's renderings of experiments it has developed for Magic Leap One.
The company's vision for Magic Leap One does not deviate far from what we've seen from currently available technology, like HoloLens, Meta 2, and even ARKit apps that appear destined (eventually) for headsets instead of touchscreens.
Open up multiple screens and hang them in your environment. Communicate and collaborate with colleagues remotely while interacting with the same 3D content. Defend your living room from zombies and robots.
Along with the report from Rolling Stone, past reveals of demos indicate that these things are on the way for Magic Leap's device.
For example, Alibaba, which has an investment stake in Magic Leap, also worked with the company on a potential shopping app. As the video above demonstrates, Magic Leap One may offer the ability to allow "web developers to optimize content extraction and spatial browsing."
Magic Leap also wants to "transport us to different worlds," as demonstrated by its partnership with Lucasfilm.
These demos and experiments may be nothing more than proof of concept projects at this point, but they also show that Magic Leap has no designs on breaking the mold cast by the likes of Apple, Microsoft, and Google with regard to introducing new platforms.
Like its predecessors, Magic Leap wants to act as the catalyst for development, giving developers and creators a nudge in the direction of what the company believes is possible, and perhaps even guiding the hands of developers a bit as they find their way. Ultimately, Magic Leap benefits more from allowing the community to grow on its own creativity and innovation.