Apple Killing AR Glasses and 'Product Design Troubles'

· Andrew Orr · Link

A report from Digitimes has been making the rounds, claiming that Apple killed its AR glasses project. Jesus Diaz thinks that it speaks to Apple’s “product design troubles.”

The report came yesterday from Digitimes, which has a mixed track record through its sources in component and manufacturing companies. It contradicts Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst who in March claimed that supply sources confirmed that Apple may start producing AR glasses as soon as the end of 2019.

I want Apple Glasses to succeed, so I hope the report isn’t true. If Apple can pull off AR glasses that actually look like glasses, it would definitely be, to quote Steve Jobs, magical. I don’t think Apple is killing the headset entirely, but they might be setting it aside for now, like they did with the HomePod.

Minecraft Earth Registration Now Open

· Andrew Orr · Link

Speaking of Minecraft, registration for Minecraft Earth is now open for those who have iOS 10 or later.

Alas, since it’s a closed Beta, registering doesn’t guarantee you access — but in its FAQ about the Beta, the team notes that they’re planning to open it up to “hundreds of thousands of players” eventually, so your odds of getting in probably aren’t too bad. You’ll need to be over the age of 18, have a device running iOS 10/Android 7 or newer, and a Microsoft or Xbox Live account to get registered.

The registration page is here.

Niantic Surprises Us: Harry Potter Wizards Unite Available NOW

· Andrew Orr · Cool Stuff Found

Niantic has decided to surprise us. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is available to download now, with the original launch date being tomorrow, June 21. I’ve spent a couple of minutes playing and reached level 2. Certain aspects of the game are slow, like UI-wise, like when you level up. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is set in J.K. Rowling’s fictional universe where players help protect the wizarding world from exposure to muggles. Players will use their smartphones to capture magical creatures running loose, hunt potion ingredients, and use portkeys to travel to popular locations in the wizarding world. Download it hereApp Store: Free

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite Launches July 21

· Andrew Orr · Cool Stuff Found

Harry Potter Wizards Unite

Niantic announced that its upcoming augmented reality game, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, will launch this Friday, June 21. In a press conference outside Universal Studio’s Wizarding World in Florida, Niantic said it would hold Wizards Unite events similar to its Pokémon GO Fests. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is set in J.K. Rowling’s fictional universe where players help protect the wizarding world from exposure to muggles. Players will use their smartphones to capture magical creatures running loose, hunt potion ingredients, and use portkeys to travel to popular locations in the wizarding world.

Behind the Scenes of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

· Andrew Orr · Link

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is an upcoming AR game from Niantic and WB Games San Francisco. The Dev Diaries are a new series that will feature a behind the scenes look at the people who created the game and stories that inspired it.

“It’s what everyone imagines when you read the Harry Potter books,” said Marigold. “You imagine the characters and world coming to life around you. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite takes this a step further and brings it to life in your world so that you can actually see all the magical characters and fantastic creatures all around you. It’s almost like you can reach out and touch them.”

Really neat to hear from the team, and I can’t wait for the game.

Apple AR Hiring Increases to 33 Positions Since Last Year

· Andrew Orr · Link

Last May Apple had one AR job position open. It gradually increased to five by the end of 2018. Now, Apple AR hiring has increased to 33 open positions.

The hiring upswing is a clear sign that the Cupertino tech giant is looking to make AR a major part of its mobile iOS devices moving forward…Of the current 33 openings, the extreme majority — 30 — are located at Apple’s Cupertino headquarters.

'Harry Potter Wizards Unite' Trailer Offers New Hints at AR Gameplay

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

Niantic and Warner Brothers released a new trailer for their upcoming augmented reality game, Harry Potter Wizards Unite. I am super stoked about this game, as long-time listeners and readers will know, and this new trailer offers hints about what the game play might look like. The theme of the trailer is that magic has been intruding into the muggle world, risking exposure of the magically-secret wizarding world. The imagery and voiceover suggest that the job of players will be to handle these intrusions. But there’s also a good-wizard versus dark-wizard element to the game, too, which is even more enticing. That said—and as I noted in Monday’s Daily Observations—what the crap is wrong with someone choosing to play as a dark wizard! SMH…Anyhoo, the trailer is amazing, and it has me very excited. And I am now hoping even more that there will be a wand accessory players can use to cast spells. Come on Niantic! Don’t let us down! You can sign up for updates at the game’s website. Unfortunately, someone involved in this franchise made the unfortunate choice to allow pre-registration for the game itself to Android, a weird choice considering Apple’s lead in AR. Hopefully the kickback money was worth it, hey?

AR Game Minecraft Earth Launches This Summer

· Andrew Orr · Link

This summer Microsoft will be launching an augmented reality game called Minecraft Earth. And it wants to be bigger than Pokémon Go.

Microsoft says it will kick off a closed beta of Minecraft Earth this summer on iOS and Android. Naturally, there are going to be limited slots, and you’ll also have to be 18 or older to sign up. And while the plan is to get Minecraft Earth completely global, it’s going to start off with a gradual rollout in select locations. You can also expect it to support all the languages in the original game, at least.

I never got into Minecraft, but I look forward to trying this game out.

Google Stadia and Apple AR Gaming, Good Data Collection, with Andrew Orr - ACM 506

· Bryan Chaffin · Apple Context Machine Podcast

Apple Context Machine Logo

Google Stadia looks likely to shake up the gaming world, but there’s more than one way to skin a gaming cat, and Apple is focused on AR. Bryan Chaffin is joined by guest cohost Andrew Orr to discuss how those different tracts might fare. They also talk about the good sides of corporate data surveillance, and yes, they will both forgive you if you are surprised either would entertain such a notion.

Augmented Reality, Practical Robots, and Modern Cabling, with John Kheit - ACM 505

· Bryan Chaffin · Apple Context Machine Podcast

Apple Context Machine Logo

Bryan Chaffin and John Kheit don their futurist caps and look for the killer app in Augmented Reality. Spoiler: they have different ideas on what form it might take. They also explore the near-term future of practical robots, starting with today’s vacuumbots. They cap the show looking at the slow pace of progress when it comes to modern cabling. Let’s get that Cat 8 and 40 GB/s throughput!

Augmented Reality is the Mirrorworld

· Andrew Orr · Link

Kevin Kelly writes how augmented reality will become a mirrorworld; That is, an exact replica of the physical world we will interact with.

The mirrorworld—a term first popularized by Yale computer scientist David Gelernter—will reflect not just what something looks like but its context, meaning, and function. We will interact with it, manipulate it, and experience it like we do the real world.

I firmly believe that AR can be as revolutionary as the internet. We just need an AR device that will dominate peoples’ lives to the point where everyone will wear a headset all the time.

Apple's Ecosystem Is Actually Your Body

· Andrew Orr · Link

Apple’s ecosystem is your body. It’s in our pockets, our ears, our wrists, and soon it will be over our eyes with augmented reality glasses. Lucas Rizzotto talks about Apple hardware can be thought of as a modular system, similar to what Bryan and I discussed on ACM. iPhone will provide processing power and networking, Apple Watch is for biometrics and input, AirPods give us contextual 3D audio, and Apple Glasses are our screen.

Ultimately, Apple’s final AR product offering won’t just be a set of glasses — but an interconnected ecosystem that can itself become a single, immersive computing platform. One that’s an extension of you and your body — whether you’re wearing glasses or not.

Apple Infrastructure, Attention to Details, Apple Car/AR/Glasses, with John Martellaro - ACM 501

· Bryan Chaffin · Apple Context Machine Podcast

Apple Context Machine Logo

Does Apple have the infrastructure it needs for a cohesive future? Once that seemed clear, but Bryan Chaffin and guest-host John Martellaro say it’s become harder to see, if so. They then pivot to how augmented reality will figure into Apple’s future plans and products. They cap the show by weighing Apple’s ability to pay attention to details as the company grows.

Apple Cloud Gaming and Augmented Reality

· Andrew Orr · Link

Rumors point to Apple creating a gaming subscription service. This Medium post suggest it might be something called “cloud gaming” where you don’t download anything. Sounds perfect for a thin client like Apple Glasses, although gaming is more of a VR thing. Speaking of AR though, there’s a new executive for that.

Between, Apple, Sony, and many other large tech companies (or startups comprised of people from these companies), we’re bound to soon have a reality with fast and reliable cloud gaming.

New Privacy Feature Coming to iOS 12.2

· Andrew Orr · News

A new privacy feature will be coming to iOS 12.2 that restricts access to the device’s accelerometer and gyroscope sensors.

HTC Shows Eye-Tracking Tech in Vive VR Headsets

· Bryan Chaffin · Link

HTC Vive VR Headset Promo Shot

HTC showed off a new eye-tracking tech in its Vive VR headset line. Vive is aimed at the VR world, rather than the AR world being targeted by Apple, but AR and VR are kissing cousins, and this is interesting. The idea is simply that the headset can track your eye movements, which can then be used to activate menu and navigation controls. I think Apple is right to focus on AR, but there is obviously a big future in VR, too, and if HTC can bring this to market, it will make them a real player in that space. TheNextWeb has a good writeup from CES on this:

The biggest splashes came in the form of the new Cosmos hardware (an Oculus Go/Quest competitor) and a new eye-tracking system to be debuted in an update to the Vive Pro called “Vive Pro Eye.” Eye-tracking is a big deal for VR. The Vive Pro Eye, according to HTC, will accurately monitor users’ eye movements inside the headset.