We have been somewhat upset that Microsoft seemed to have taken their foot of the accelerator when it came to HoloLens development, with the next version of the device rumoured to be heading to market only in 2019.
It may be that Microsoft has inside information from one of their most successful competitors. According to the Financial Times, Apple’s own mixed reality headset is still “at least a year away, perhaps much longer.”
This is despite Apple having been examining the technology for more than a year, and devoting more resources to the effort, according to the FT’s “people familiar with the company’s plans.”
Of course, Microsoft is not short of other competitors. Some rumours suggest Apple may integrate some AR features into the 10th anniversary iPhone, while the FT themselves suggest the unicorn-like Magic Leap device may hit the market first later this year, complete with a belt-worn tethered module which actually contains the processor, battery and other electronics.
Facebook is also in the race with “glasses small enough to take anywhere”, according to Mark Zuckerberg.
The FT, however, recognises that Microsoft is furthest along, with a product for sale, if only to developers, but with nothing on sale to consumers, they see an opportunity for others to catch up.
Microsoft, of course, had the advantage of years of development into inside-out tracking and environment reading, due to its Kinect experience, and are making efforts to build an ecosystem based on OEM headsets. It remains to be seen however if this will be another area where the company is a trailblazer only to be leapfrogged by more consumer-centric competitors, of if this is a market where they can dominate.