Apple Headset Announcement Approaches, Two Bit Circus and Zspace Go Public Via SPACs, Meta Explains Metaverse, Again

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Apple (AAPL) shows headset on board to indicate it has reached the advanced stage Bloomberg’s exclusive story describes how Apple’s board of directors saw XR demos at its meeting last week, possibly hinting at an imminent announcement, possibly as early as Apple’s annual developer conference. company in two weeks. The device, named N301, can offer VR and AR experiences with a pass-through camera. The standalone headset is powered by Apple’s latest M-1 chips and has ultra-high resolution displays, and will therefore be expensive, possibly several thousand dollars. Apple vice president Mike Rockwell and former head of hardware engineering Dan Riccio lead the project development group (CEO) that developed the N301. Their team of 2,000 engineers has offices off of Apple’s main campus in nearby Sunnyvale. They would be working on other ambitious headsets to be introduced later in the decade. 9to5mac and On the way to virtual reality dropped stories about why it took so long.

Two Bit Circus goes public via SPAC. A SPAC is a front company created for the sole purpose of acquiring or merging with another company and then taking that company public. For those who are acquired, it offers a faster path to public procurement than an initial offering. In this case, there is a little more. First, SPAC, Alpine Acquisition Corporation, will acquire Los Angeles-based Two Bit Circus (TBC) for $50 million. TBC has just announced its second location in Dallas. The company will then spend $65 million in cash and stock to purchase two full-service conference hotels located in Denver, CO and Stamford, CT, which will be converted and renamed Reveler’s Resorts, which will be powered by Two Bit Circus Technology. The merged company is expected to be renamed “Two Bit Entertainment Corp”. and continues to be listed on NASDAQ under the symbol REVE. The transactions are expected to be finalized in the third quarter of 2022.

Z Space is also going public through SPAC. Zspace makes 3D screens that can be shared by multiple students wearing polarized glasses. More than one million schoolchildren use the licensed screens and software every day. The combined company is expected to have an estimated post-deal enterprise value of $195 million and will trade on NASDQ as ZSPX.

Nick Clegg, Meta’s Chairman, Global Affairs, former Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Zuckerberg’s confidant, posted this metaverse manifesto on Medium. I don’t know why it wasn’t on the Meta website. The long document is a huge thirty minute read, you might want to read Techcrunch‘s venomous summary instead. I guess Clegg felt that last October’s 70-minute rebranding film wasn’t enough to explain. Personally, I found the essay rather sad. Meta is in a secluded place. Nobody else really cares about virtual reality or the meta-metaverse. Well, Sony cares. They make the Playstation 2 VR and have invested two billion dollars in the Epic Games metaverse. Apple CEO Tim Cook openly ridiculed the Metaverse. Everyone, Epic, Google, Roblox, etc. currently not interested in virtual reality. Ironically, without Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus VR in 2014, and Facebook’s rebranding as Meta last October, no one would be talking about the Metaverse. Clegg promised to be good at privacy, security and integrity, and described the contributions the company makes to education and diversity. Apparently no one ever told Clegg and his meta handlers that too much explanation can kill a good story.

Sony positioned for battle in the Metaverse. During a strategy briefing earlier this week, CEO Kenichiro Yoshida explained “The Metaverse is both a social space and a live network space where games, music, movies, and anime intersect.” Sony has significant subsidiaries in each of these categories, which positions it to succeed in the metaverse, regardless of its development.

Croquet Launches Metaverse Browser-Based Operating System for Java Developers Democratizes the development of Web and Web3 metaverses for over 16 million JavaScript developers by creating an open, independent and cross-platform virtual world. It uses synchronization, live data, and persistence services from its globally deployed Croquet Reflector network to enable ultra-low latency, low-bandwidth shared experiences. Any Metaverse developer can integrate Croquet OS as a framework to enable multi-user shared experiences and achieve seamlessly synchronized shared social interactions.

Meet the Meetaverse. This innovative site uses innovative avatars that are actually you – in a chicklet zoom. The browser-based 3D meeting platform offers 3D spaces for conferences, businesses and meetings.

Qualcomm’s new AR benchmark design for thinner, wireless eyewear. Qualcomm presents a wireless version of its augmented reality Smart Viewer, a reference design that manufacturers could adapt to commercial headsets. The Wireless AR Smart Viewer updates Qualcomm’s earlier design with a more powerful chipset, as well as a connection system that uses Wi-Fi 6/6E and Bluetooth instead of a USB-C cable. The new Smart Viewer was developed by Goertek. It is currently available to a few manufacturing partners with plans to expand access in the coming months.

Oral haptics let you kiss, smoke and eat spiders in VR Researchers working for Carnegie Melon University’s Future Interfaces Group have developed a new haptic feedback device that uses ultrasonic transducers to simulate a realistic sense of touch on your mouth.

Stevie Wonder samples smart glasses made by a Dutch tech company that helps the blind Envision created the glasses and an app that translates pictures into words for the blind. The glasses have a built-in camera with audio that photographs an object and describes the image for the wearer.

Horizon Worlds Adds Over 100 Prefabs With Asset Library. The company continues to develop the set of tools designers need to quickly create engaging spaces. Users cannot upload and sell assets. Still.

A showcase of 27 experiments in AR-enhanced journalism by the NY Times, created with Meta’s SparkAR no-code authoring and publishing web tool, was shared on the journal’s website. Spatial data, full-scale explainers, interactive visual stories, 3D art, and immersive environments augment the stories of the climate-paced sports desk. Discover them here.

VR Attraction Zero Latency ditches backpack computers in favor of Vive Focus 3 and wireless rendering. Instead, the company will render remotely and local computer. The new rig is currently available in Melbourne, Australia from Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq in Docklands, followed closely by select locations in the US and Europe from this summer. Pricing in Melbourne starts at $39 AUD per person for 30 minutes. Individual experiences last 15-30 minutes and can support up to eight players at a time.

Augmented World Expo, the world’s leading XR conference in Santa Clara June 1-3. The conference, now in its 13th year, brings together hardware manufacturers, software vendors, XR professionals, journalists, investors and students. There are more than 250 vendors at the show, which includes AWE’s Playground, with experiential entertainment offerings. Those unable to attend will be able to watch the Main Stage presentations online for free at AWE.live. The conference, which features twelve agenda tracks and 400 speakers, will be moderated by John Riccitello, CEO of Unity, and Hugo Swart, vice president and general manager of XR and Metaverse at Qualcomm. All sessions, including tracks, are recorded and posted on YouTube after the show. Conference organizer and AWE CEO Ori Inbar told us the conference could surpass 2019’s record of 7,000 attendees.

This week in XR is now a podcast hosted by Ted Schilowitz, futurist at Viacom, and Charlie Fink, the author of this weekly column. Our guest this week is Ori Inbar, co-founder and executive director of Augmented World Expo. You can find us on podcasting platforms Spotify, itunesand Youtube.

What we read

Is the Killer app of ‘Captions for the Physical World’? (Mike Boland/ARInsider)

In Microsoft’s Activision deal, it’s not just stock price but a future world that’s at stake (Bob Woods/CNBC)

7 Essential Ingredients of a Metaverse (Liz Harkavy, Eddy Lazzarin, Arianna Simpson/a16z.com)

iPod Creator Tony Fadell Isn’t Buying the Metaverse Hype (Lisa Eadicicco/Cnet)

What is the point of crypto? Crypto is a solution in search of a problem — or problems. (Emily Stewart/Vox)

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