Will Apple tease its new XR Headset at its Worldwide Developer Conference tomorrow? A recent board presentation of the new technology was reported by Bloomberg two weeks ago. Macrumors’ widely reported story cites recently filed RealityOS trademarks, suggesting Apple is preparing to show the public its XR headsets. The New York Times says the company plans to unveil “software tools that would allow apps to add new camera and voice functionality, laying the groundwork for a hands-free interface that customers will eventually be able to navigate on the headset.”
Augmented World Expo, the leading annual event for the XR industry, wrapped its 13th edition on Friday, June 3rd. We hope to post our roundup with photos and videos shortly. As usual there was a lot of enterprise XR hardware on hand. Google, Meta, and Microsoft have their own developer conferences so they sit this out, but this creates a big space for other companies to tell their stories. There were long lines to demo the new Magic Leap 2. It got rave reviews. Tik Tok’s new AR content and tools group, Effect House, joined AWE for the first time. The were were Quest 2 headsets everywhere. There is a lot of material to sort though. Please be patient.
Tripp raises $11.2 M to build a mindful metaverse. The Series A round was led by BITKRAFT Ventures, with Qualcomm, Amazon Alexa Fund, HTC, Niantic and existing investor Mayfield participating. This brings the LA-based company’s funding to $26.3 million to date. The app, which features guided meditations, breathing, and other mindful experiences, is available across a host of devices, including Meta Quest 2, Vive Flow, PSVR, Nreal, and both the Web and mobile platforms. The app is priced at either $5 per month, or $35 for lifetime access.
Village Studio raises $2.3M for cross-game Playken avatars which are portable NFT avatars that can be utilized across multiple games. The Web3 platform was founded by games industry veterans Will Luton (SEGA, Rovio), Cyril Barrow (Rovio, EA) and Tak Fung (Microsoft, Zynga). Animoca Brands, which has made more than 200 blockchain game investments, led the round with participation from Venrex, AngelHub, K3, WinZO and angels.
Victory XR To Roll Out Education Metaverse Across Bahamas. The nationwide metacampus will be tested this summer, followed by a rollout to libraries and schools to follow in the fall. “We have students spread across the islands in The Bahamas. The only way we can bring them together in one common classroom is to build a metacampus that is accessible to all,” said Minister of State Zane Lightbourne. “The Bahamas will lead the rest of the world in finding a solution to equity in education.” The new programs program will lay the groundwork for a nationwide rollout in 2024.
Shibua Inu Metaverse development to be led by Industry veterans Marcie Jastrow and Sherri Cuono. The crypto currency community has raised over $20M in recent land sales and is said to be close to a deal with a AAA game studio. Jastrow, most recently head of business development for Evercast, had a ten year career leading immersive media as SVP at Technicolor, where she produced the location-based VR experience “Mars Home Planet.”
Disney Hires Apple Games Exec Mark Bozon to Head Metaverse Creative Strategy. Mike White, Disney’s SVP of Next Generation Storytelling & Consumer Experiences, recruited Bozon, Creative Director of Apple Arcade, to be senior creative leader for its cross-divisional Next Generation Storytelling initiative
Meta’s Mixed Reality Demo The World Beyond Now On Quest 2 The World Beyond is free for the Meta Quest 2 via the App Lab. The app emulates the experience of using the new Meta Cambria headset’s high definition passthrough cameras to create mixed reality experience.
The Glimpse Group Acquires The Assets of PulpoAR an Augmented Reality SaaS Company Providing Artificial Intelligence-Based Virtual Try-On Technology. The acquisition was structured as an asset purchase by Glimpse’s wholly owned subsidiary company QReal.
This Week in XR is now a podcast hosted by Ted Schilowitz, Futurist at Viacom, and Charlie Fink, the author of this weekly column. At AWE this week we recorded 18 ten minute interviews with industry vets, entreprenuers, and company executives, including John Riccitello, CEO of Unity, and Alvin Graylin, President of HTC China. Next week we’ll be speaking with Vicky Dobbs-Beck, the executive of ILMxLab. You can find us on podcasting platforms Spotify, iTunes, and YouTube.
What We’re Reading
Steve Jobs, Pix(AR) and the Future of Immersive Entertainment (Rebecca Mulberg/Substack)
Unity CEO John Riccitiello: The metaverse will have millions of destinations (Dean Takahasi/Venture Beat)