I don't know about you but I have had a whirlwind ride this year. Simulation Magazine is a year old now, and over a hundred and fifty articles have been published.
So as we look at closing the door on another year, I thought this would be a good time to look over our shoulders and see what the hits and misses were in spatial computing and to look back over some of the topics and content that were such a hit with the readers and subscribers.
Apple Vision Pro
I don't know what your opinion of this headset is, yes, controversial price tag (but is it really (Varjo👀), but for a moment, let's put tech specs to one side.
What excites me as a businessman (and I have been writing about this all year) is the business models that the Apple ecosystem will open up to. For starters, we will see much more utility focused VR/MR/AR/XR or whatever you choose to call it (thats another argument) applications that will work seamlessly across iCloud, iPhone, iPad and Watch.
That's so powerful, put down your headset and pick up your phone and carry on, albeit on flat screen, what you were just working on, playing on etc.
The key with facial computing (I actually heard someone call AVP an "eye phone" this week, which was pretty spot on actually) is that outside of games and a couple of other highly watered down products that are quintessential to Meta and it's model, there are no apps to bring people back daily out of a sense of need, to date it's always been a nice to have.
This is all rumoured to change in February 2024 (according to Mark Gurman at Bloomberg) when AVP is available in a few USA stores.
NEW: Apple Vision Pro manufacturing has reached an advanced stage with a launch planned by February. Details on production, the timeline and how it’ll be Apple’s most complex retail sales process ever. https://t.co/0mdi7qOCtb— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) December 20, 2023
So we'll see many more apps that there has been pent up need for that would normally need to be sold and supplied with an enterprise headset.
Bring it on.
This partnership also excites, with a rumoured headset launch late in 2024, expect a similar range of use cases to that of AVP. What we will see if 2 to 5 years is a dominance (just my opinion) of Apple and Google in this space. Two similar competing platforms with connectivity with a range of devices at its core. Transferability and distribution wins every time. It's way too early to talk tech specs, and thats not really what we write about here anyway.
Meta, Pico and the others
Meta launched the Quest 3 in the later part of this year, and it's a really good improvement over the Quest 2. Better form factor and weight distribution, having the weight closer to the face and not protruding from it etc. Expect (we are seeing it already are we not) a great pivot by Zuckerberg who bet the house on a tightly gated games platform only for the the foundations of the house to shake when Apple announced its offering to the world.
Pico are essentially selling what they have after disappointing sales in China and home markets, so this has allowed Meta a route in (for the time being). After much rumour, Pico is in fact regrouping, in light of AVP the game has now changed, so it's focussing it efforts on an AVP competitor.
We'll see if it is, but with everything that comes from China, expect it to be competent, not equal to AVP but at a better price point.
HTC Vive launched the Vive XR Elite, on the face of it, it looked like a good unit, I wrote about it being a great form factor for fitness games, but I don't really think it lived up to the hype and expectations. Which is a recurring theme with Vive.
Varjo announced its new range of XR4 headsets and variants, primarily focused at high end enterprise, the team at Varjo never disappoint when it comes to what they do.
For the whole year, people from all over world were reading about using non fitness games to keep fit. Who thought this would be our most read article of 2023!
We also saw new inventions come to life, like Freeaim shoes, I've been following their progress and they have made the shoes sleeker, more efficient and I can't wait to try them and do a follow up piece.
Anyways, that just about wraps up this year, it just leaves me to thank the readers and subscribers for continuing to believe in make virtual make believe and to which you all a happy xmas, a break to recuperate, and an awesome new year!