Well, we have some potentially good news for those wanting to experience Magic Leap. The ultra-secretive company seems to be planning a big year in 2017.
Magic Leap's new CMO Brenda Freeman said in an interview with Recode that not only is Magic Leap on time, it is "racing to launch."
She declined to say when that launch might happen, or detail their timeline.
That's reassuring news for those troubled by The Information's reporting(paywall) a couple of weeks ago—and the multitudes of stories that followed in its wake. The Information story suggested that the Magic Leap team was having difficulties developing specific technologies their head mounted unit and suggested that the consumer version wouldn't include the amazing technology that impressed their investors.
When the reports came out that not only had Magic Leap misrepresented the actual technology they had, but could potentially be behind in their production timeline, the technology blogs seemed to go on a rampage calling out CEO Rony Abovitz and their product as fake. Our take here at NextReality on that concept video was a bit different. As a developer, you could say some of us understand the difference between a concept video and a product demonstration.
While it may fall on Magic Leap's head for not being a bit more clear in their presentation, they have seemed to roll with the punches well. The next day, Abovitz posted a simple blog that can be summed up in its final statement "Stay tuned—the fun is just beginning."
Freeman, who began with Magic Leap shortly before this public relations nightmare began, must have come in with "a ready for anything" attitude. She seems to be adjusting to her position well. When questioned about a consumer timeline, she spoke lightly of the challenges Magic Leap faces but seemed very positive in her outlook. She let on that production is going in the right direction.
[W]e feel really good about the fact that we're on track. Our investors are very happy about the timelines that we're working against. We feel really proud of that. We can't actually say, exactly—we can't share that yet publicly, but just know that we're very much on time, and we're on track.
It seems that Magic Leap has done a great job building hype. When building hype, it can too easily become a double-edged sword if the product does not live up to that hype. Brenda Freeman alluded to this when she spoke about a different approach to Magic Leap's marketing as well.
I'd say the team has got a great start. The first thing you have to do is establish the brand. And I think the team did a really great job of creating a brand voice that's unique in the marketplace. We need to make sure that we're talking to the right audience, with a tone that's befitting of the brand.
Regardless of her approach, Freeman will definitely have her hands full with this highly secretive, eccentric, and unique company. I am sure that is an absolute playground for someone of her caliber and background. A challenging playground, but a playground nonetheless.
Is Magic Leap guilty of over-hyping their mysterious product? Is Magic Leap only guilty of capturing the technology consumers imagination and we took it from there? Let us know what you think below.
All companies engage in this in one form or another. My beloved HoloLens did not have the FOV Microsoft portrayed in their early videos but it is still a magical device. However I am constantly having to explain why the FOV is not as shown in the videos to clients. I also viewed this Magic Leap video with skepticism when I originally saw it. But I understand what happens when the marketing team gets involved with promoting a product. Every ad out there shows products in the highest possible light it is called fluffing and something we always need to keep in mind. I would expect the high level investors in Magic Leap were not so stupid as to invest based on a video alone.
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