Even without consumer-focused HoloLens, Microsoft must market AR sooner than later

Spencer said:

"I think we're five to 10 years away from a true untethered device that's at a consumer price point that has the fidelity of experience and the kind of ease of use that you need to get to scale.

The good news is Microsoft seems committed to realizing its "holographic computing for everyone" vision. The bad news is that five to 10 years without a consumer-facing AR device in the market could be disastrous for Microsoft's mindshare among consumers.

Apple's ARKit for iOS 11 will bring augmented reality to hundreds of millions of iPhone and iPad users beginning this fall. Though crude, cumbersome and elementary by HoloLens standards, it is "AR" nonetheless.

I'm convinced Apple's strategy is meant to build developer support, an ecosystem of AR apps and consumer demand for an eventual AR headset or glasses. While Apple is dominating mainstream and tech news cycles with its evolving AR solution, Microsoft's more advanced HoloLens and industry-specific Windows Mixed Reality AR accomplishments may be relegated, as they are now, to the shadows.

Even without a consumer version of HoloLens, if Microsoft seizes the opportunity obscurity doesn't have to be its fate.

Making marketing a priority

According to an internal company memo from Corporate Vice President of Windows and Devices Yusuf Mehdi, Window Mixed Reality which powers both virtual reality (VR) and AR, will get a big marketing push later this year:

As we gear up for this coming holiday season, we enter a new phase of bringing mixed reality to everyone. To match the industry-defining technical work of our engineering team and to build on the broader work to establish the category of Mixed Reality, I am excited today to announce some changes within our team to enable us to accelerate our market presence.I am creating a dedicated Mixed Reality Marketing Team, separating it from the Surface devices team. With support from [Chief Marketing Officer] Chris [Caposella] and [CEO] Satya [Nadella], we created a CVP level role to head this effort. I am thrilled to announce ... we have found an ideal leader in Elizabeth Hamren, the former CMO of Oculus VR at Facebook. 

Mehdi's creation of a dedicated marketing team for Windows Mixed Reality reflects the importance of AR and VR to Microsoft and its intent to be a major player in these markets. Also, since Windows Mixed Reality includes both VR and AR, a reasonable expectation is that the new marketing team will aggressively market both platforms, though Microsoft's AR investments are not yet consumer-focused.

Marketing AR is a must

We know that the fully immersive VR experiences that Microsoft's partners will bring to market via mixed reality VR headsets will get a push this holiday season.

Without a consumer-focused AR product, however, how will Microsoft market AR experiences, where holograms are overlayed on the real world, as we see with HoloLens? This question is particularly relevant since Spencer stressed the consumer investments Microsoft is making in VR while downplaying HoloLens and emphasizing its "not-designed-for-consumers" status:

It [HoloLens] wasn't made for everybody, we've said that, it's a developer kit. Now we're doing kind of the other end with Windows Mixed Reality [VR] and $299 with OEM partners.

Where does this leave Hamren's focus as the corporate vice president responsible for marketing VR and AR? Can Microsoft market its AR platform without consumer-facing AR hardware? I think so.

Augmenting the AR conversation

News that HoloLens version two will be skipped to "accelerate version three" saw a mixed reception. Some believe any new product, while development continues, is better than no product at all. Others see the arrival of version three a year earlier, in 2019 rather than 2020, as being worth the sacrifice of version two.

The question is what will HoloLens version three be? In 2015, Nadella stated that a consumer version of the category-defining wearable computer was five years away. That would have been 2020. Will that consumer HoloLens be the version three we are now expecting in 2019?

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in 2015 that HoloLens is a five-year journey.

Though Spencer's statements of an affordable, capable and scalable consumer AR headset being five to 10 years out were not an official statement of Microsoft's timeline, it raises two questions: Has development been slower than Nadella initially expected, pushing the delivery of a consumer version of HoloLens out by up to ten years? Or is Spencer's vision more advanced than what Nadella sees as a sufficiently capable and still valid consumer headset that could be available in 2019?

More streamlined in time

Microsoft's prototype AR glasses.

Microsoft's prototype AR glasses.

Spencer also said the following:

I think to get to real scale here, we're in that five- to 10-year horizon to get to untethered, things that happen that I don't feel like I have a helmet on. But we have to go through the transitions. 

Spencer sees consumer AR wearables as not giving users the feeling they're wearing a helmet. Perhaps what Nadella envisions for an initial consumer HoloLens will be just as "geeky" as the VR headsets that Microsoft and its partners are pushing to consumers this year.

A less streamlined, "helmet-like" consumer HoloLens could simply be an iterative step on a roadmap toward what Spencer describes. It's inevitable, after all, that this technology will become more streamlined, batteries will become more efficient and processors and "displays" more powerful. With that in mind, if Microsoft can release suitable consumer versions of HoloLens which naturally improve over time, perhaps it should.

Microsoft must market its AR story

Whatever the 2019 version of HoloLens turns out to be and any versions that follow will be important. Equally as important is the messaging or the story Microsoft tells to give its AR efforts context.

Most consumers are being educated to believe that AR is limited to the two-dimensional overlay of digital artifacts on the real world, as viewed through the limited window of a mobile device. The popularity of Pokemon Go and the coming deluge of "AR" apps via iOS 11's ARkit are and will be responsible for this very limited understanding of AR's current and potential capabilities.

Elizabeth Hamren, former CMO of Oculus VR at Facebook.

Elizabeth Hamren, former CMO of Oculus VR at Facebook.

Hamren has the unique opportunity and responsibility to forge a message, a story, about Microsoft's AR endeavors that entices both consumers and the enterprise. She can lead the Mixed Reality Marketing Team to promote, through an engaging campaign, the encompassing environment of 3D holograms as viewed through the head-mounted HoloLens.

She can also emphasize the multisensory approach of Microsoft's AR investment that includes spatial sound. Combined with 3D objects, HoloLens also creates an ambient audio experience. Gesture, voice and gaze interaction are parts of the story, as well.

Even without a consumer version of HoloLens, Microsoft should run an aggressive television campaign that shows consumers and businesses what entities like NASA, the US Military, auto dealerships, the education sector, health care, entertainment, private developers and more are doing with it and Windows Mixed Reality.

Microsoft's AR story is ready to be told

HoloLens and AR are more than concepts. They're a reality with real-world, even life-saving, uses today as seen in the video below. Microsoft needs to tell its AR story. Now.

HoloLens is used to train doctors in life-saving procedures.

As consumers hear the story, it'll build excitement, awareness, mindshare and potential demand for how Microsoft is using the technology. It would also set a high bar for what consumers and enterprise will "understand" AR to be. If Microsoft begins such a campaign now, when Apple launches iOS 11 "AR" apps this fall, consumers will naturally compare Microsoft's far more advanced solution to Apple's offering.

In conjunction with this ongoing campaign, perhaps Microsoft should launch a consumer AR wearable as early as 2019. What do you think?

Jason Ward

Jason L Ward is a columnist at Windows Central. He provides unique big picture analysis of the complex world of Microsoft. Jason takes the small clues and gives you an insightful big picture perspective through storytelling that you won't find *anywhere* else. Seriously, this dude thinks outside the box. Follow him on Twitter at @JLTechWord. He's doing the "write" thing!

  • Thanks for reading folks!!! Microsoft is definitely approaching AR more comprehensively than much of the competition. It has made Windows 10 a platform for AR (and VR) and with HoloLens has built what is currently the most advanced AR headset. Microsoft's focus on particular markets to help develop apps and specific applications im different markets for AR are great for advancing and honing the technology and building interest in particular markets. The approach does, however, keep Microsoft's AR efforts in the shadow as Apple's AR efforts will be in the limelight beginning this year. Still, Microsoft's efforts are real, legitimate and relevant today. It has an AR story to tell and it needs to let the world of consumers and enterprise know what it is doing with AR via an aggressive multipronged campaign that includes television ads and even product placement such as on the series Blackish. So what do you think? LET'S TALK!!!
  • I feel this is all very good to talk about marketing and stuff...we are trying to give the solid effort possible to voice our thoughts..the real question is whether microsoft is even listening to us..lately there are many articles on marketing..I WANT TO KNOW FROM JASON WARD OR DANIEL RUBINO WHETHER MICROSFT GAVE ANY INFO THAT THEY ARE WOKING ON THEIR MARKETING ? ...if not we should try to voice it more forcefully
  • how intently are they hearing us...or it is just that this is all just waste of time...I know that readers should know about the flaws that microsoft but more than that, it is microsoft that should cope up with their flaws
  • CAUSE YOU WERE WRONG, AND ALWAYS HAVE BEEN. See, I can caps lock too.
  • The simple answer is a surface phone with MR capabilities.                       Or  a accessories of camera modules which may get attached to existing Surfaces and windows devices and enable the MR experience. This way they can counter the Apple easily. As for Spencer, he must be taking about gaming with hololens device. And that too AAA gaming for sure which will definately take 10 years. Meanwhile in next five years (by 2020 or maybe HL V2) a more slim but bigger then normal googles like device will fill all the gaps. This might be what Satya meant. Hence MS should start with mixed reality device( which they already have done) followed by MR capable smartphone in 2018 and then HL version 2.0 in 2019 and see where market is going from there;")  
  • I think you are being way too optimistic.
    1. First they actually need to release a surface phone, which likely is at least a year from now. Nor will it sell many units. This device will cater to the same niche that purchases other Surface products. So realistically I doubt they'll sell more than 1 million units the first year, compare that to the 200+ million iPhones Apple sells each year.
    2. Windows tablets are vastly outnumbered and outsold by iPads, despite continuous declines in iPad sales.
    3. Unless MS makes a complete u-turn in the coming 6 months, any existing and new windows devices will be enterprise focused. So they will have little appeal for most people and be mostly locked down for security reasons. So except for a few productive AR apps, there will be little reason for developers to design apps for it.
    4. Although Apple currently may seem to be behind on the AR front, since they only have phones and tablets that do very primitive (by HoloLens standards) versions of AR, like Pokemon go, etc. It's a safe platform for developers to create apps for. They can start with simple AR apps now and advance as more capable devices are released. Once Apple releases a pair of glasses like HoloLens, there will be thousands of AR apps available to it, both consumer and busyness related.
    5. Over the past year MS has pretty much destroyed what started to become a decent windows ecosystem. Developers and consumers have fled and/or been burned. I doubt many are convinced that MS has the resolve to really commit to the consumer space again. Especially since they are way further behind then they were when they made their first attempt in 2010/11. Convincing consumers and developers to give their ecosystem another go, is going to take an enormous amount of marketing and an almost perfectly executed device/user experience.
    Satya sold the company's future to be able to show some better quarterly results in the short term. Their ignorance of consumer needs is going to hit them hard in just a few years, and they either don't care, or fail to see it.
    Don't get me wrong, I prefer Windows to any other OS's, and sincerely hope that MS is preparing to release something truly great (and will commit to it). Sadly, from what they have been preaching lately, I have my doubts.
  • I am optimistic  And the replay is passimistic! Discussion does not work this way. Debates do;")  
  • I agree, but as usual, Microsoft is dropping the ball on marketing. But hey, I'm sure they'll pony up another 26 billion dollars for a ******* website or app in the near future. Plenty of money for that bullshit.
  • Jason Ward ......... How about we do an article looking at MS's issues from a little further distance than the actual products, and services.... An article analyzing the mind state of MS's marketing teams, MS's vision, proactivity, and competence, as a whole. An article looking at the root causes of many of the issues, suggestions, and complaints, we all see, and you boldly bring up. An article asking ''why does MS do this so well, or doesn't do that very well at all?''. An article asking why we seem to get it, and MS doesn't. An article stating the grand moral of all your editorials. Do you understand what I'm saying?
  • I hear you Rodney. :-) I'll give it some thought! :-)
  • Thanks, Jason... Personally I think it's inevitable.
  • Agreed! It's time we start criticising the the departments which are actually failing MS products. Let's have revolution here;")
  • Let's do it!
  • Apple and Google are really making their consumer AR all about mobile. Mobile being the lens rather than the headset to experience AR. With no mobile platform the AR space is likely to be dominated by Apple and Google. Microsoft will be reduced to writing software for IOS or Android with Hololens in the enterprise or gaming space. Microsoft abandoning mobile also, in effect, has abandoned other technology by proxy. Mobile messaging is down to Google and Apple. Persistent AI assistant is really now SIri + Google + Echo. AR is going the same way in the consumer space. On the street the consumer is using the device in their hand for the AR experience. That isn't a Microsoft device.  
  • I said a long time ago that MS has no choice but to succeed on phones. That failure will have very long lasting consequences to the kind of technology company MS can be in the future. It basically eliminates them from the consumer market completely. No wearables, no AR, no VR outside PC/XBox gaming, no voice assistants, no home automation, etc...
  • Exactly. HoloKit and Aryzon are offering AR kits made of cardboard (like Google Cardboard) for cost effective AR driven by a smartphone. HoloLens is far too expensive to be very popular in the consumer market
  • Correct Stephen.  The other thing is,  both google and apple are building glasses,  the google glasses that tim has on in the picture were just the first step.  The new ones will be just a display for your mobile phone.  The phone will do all the processing,   Instead of having a ginormous HOLOLENS space helmet on,  consumers will have a sleek pair of glasses,  that have no other indicators that they are anything but glasses....and give the "hololens" experience.  MS = Ball Dropped...yet again!
  • More consequences to MS losing on phones. AR and VR and everything else new that comes along will be an extension of the phone, or at least the phone's app ecosystem. MS is out. Maybe they can sell it to businesses, but it wont be mainstream. 
  • Welcome to not owning a mobile OS: - First party advantage to Apple and Google for APIs and services like Siri, iCloud etc. - It's so much harder getting a user to install an app than something that comes installed - People spend more time on mobile devices than any other - the desktop market is shrinking and any 'universal devices' that appear will be more successful if an extension of existing mobile platforms with a great app catalog  Look at Cortana - we have some speakers coming later in the year, but ask the question: would someone buy a Siri/Google speaker before a Cortana one?  Most people will say what is Cortana?   This will make pushing Microsoft tech like AR hard.  If it's not in your pocket in use today, what is the path to get users using products?  Massive and continuously ongoing marketing efforts to bring awareness might be the only way.
  • Microsoft and Marketing.. only thing what's in common is the first char. It's a bad marriage.
  • Their marketing team really is the worst. They should all be fired.
  • I'm sure Elizabeth Hamren wouldn't agree.. She just relocated. Lol
  • Maybe Alcatel had the right idea starting out with their idol 4s the box turns into the AR headset. It sounds like a great idea/avenue to get. AR into the mindset and garner market share on the ground floor something that MS seems to be unable to do up front.
  • I think, you are missing the obvious. You don't need a proprietary solution like ARKit to long into ARnterritory. In fact, Microsoft had a track @ build, where a WebRTC capable browser can be made to fly AR with BabylonJS. Apples leverage to introduce their crap as a de facto standard is coming to an end.
  • Bull-hockey. MS needs to produce something that is marketable first. Hololens is a tech acheivement that is not even intended for consumers, much less afordable. The VR headsets, which aren't out yet, are competing with cardboard at one end and VR gaming rigs at the other. They aren't going to compete with the price of cell phone VR, even Daydream, or the quality of Playstation VR/ Oculus. They are years too late with products that will have no compelling benefit over what is already there.  My Surfaces all have rear cameras, as do all my Windows Phones. Some of those still have nearly the best cameras available on  a mobile device. Where is AR on these devices. We had City Lens on Lumia years ago. That was arguably useful, but they piddled that away. MS needs to produce something before they try to market it. 
  • What is wrong with marketing unicorns?
  • What's the difference? Microsoft will make and release something amazing, squander it for a year, discontinue it, and then three years later introduce an inferior version. They have NO plan and NO CLUE.
  • I feel things are moving fast and competitors catch up. Windows on ARM is important in this respect too. So is Cshell. Time to market is of the essence.
  • The current path for HoloLens sounds disturbingly like that of Google Glass. By the time things start rolling out, it's such old news that consumer interest has dropped off.
  • Remember the Surface table?
  • That was different. The Surface line had with annual, sometimes even faster than annual imporvements and iterations. We're still on V1 of the HoloLens, a year into its distribution to developers and commercial clients, and we're not expecting a follow up device for another 2 years. In that same period of time, Apple is going to solidify ARKit support amongst iOS developers, and without a doubt release their own version of the tech with an established software base to go with it.   The HoloLens is an impressive feat of first generation tech that's actually being used by people outside of Microsoft, but the limitations of the tech were obvious from day 1. Some may complain about the field of view, but the real fault in the HoloLens is its shockingly low rendering power, which is a glaring issue in a device that's intended to project 3D objects in a space. What Microsoft should do at the very least is release a revision version of the existing HoloLens with a bump in internals, more GPU power with a more effecient processor.    I think the fear everyone has is Microsoft has a tendency of coming up with amazing ideas and great products, but then stalls to capitalize on them. They blew their momenutm with Windows Phone 8 hard, and now HoloLens is starting to feel like it's standing still compared to the competition. Yes none of them have competing HMDs, but they're working on the Tech, Google and Apple are in this game for real now, and they're going to push hard to make solid competing products. No one wants to see Microsoft blow this lead. 
  • Thanks to Nadella and his total abandoning of phones, Microsoft have lost the AR segment. The HoloLens is impressive at all, but the future device won't be a visor with integrated processors. It will be a phone/pocket-pc which process all data and sends signal to a simple set of glasses. Apple already have the phone with camera, the developers and coming apps, and all they need now is a set of light weight glasses. I won't be surprised if we see this new device within a year or two and then it is game over for MS. Microsoft had all opportunities being first with these things had they not shut down phone department. Just remember how they scanned a sand castle with the HP Elite 3X into 3D recently. Apple will soon run with all the glory. Thanks Nadella. Microsoft being first and end up being last over night. 
  • MS does have moile AR segment available, android. They could (though I'd like to change that to "have to") make AR cross platform.
  • If Microsoft were smart, they'd port UWP to Android, build a Live Tiles custom launcher and let all their first party apps tie into it, and release an Android phone of their own, with both theirs and google's app stores and a set of hololens-style goggles for the damn thing.
  • You sir are delusional.
  • Not at all. That could be done pretty easily, and is the only way they're ever going to meaningfully cross the app gap.
  • They need to lower prices for the devkits, especially if there is no way to actually make money from apps for the next ten years in any meaningful way. TBH they should just give them out for free to Windows or Xbox Insiders with a dev account. 150 apps in the store after a year and a half of availability is bad. Really bad. And most of those are not much more than tech demos. I don't think phones will be powerful enough for true AR. First and foremost you will want to use your phone for what you bought it: Being able to phone when not at home. Using it as an AR device (especially when sending data wirelessly to a second device) will consume so much energy that you'll struggle to use it for more than an hour. Consumers won't accept that.
  • Looks like Apple will take the lead again. Microsoft is a turtle   
  • A dead turtle. Made of lead. Glued to the floor of a locked room.
  • A dead turtle. Made of lead. Glued to the floor of a locked room.
  • A dead turtle. Made of lead. Glued to the floor of a locked room.
  • A dead turtle. Made of lead. Glued to the floor of a locked room.
  • Apple's approch is clear: use simple hardware to get most of the developers and apps, then create high-end hardwares that already have tons of apps supported. If Microsoft keeps slow pace, when Hololens / MR is ready, the market is already all Apple's. It's actually a higher level of threaten compared to Google / Samsung's approch, as they still need additional hardware and may leads uncomfortable, so customers and devs will be hestitate. However, Google / Samsung may follow the same approch as Apple and they have mobile market to support their success. It really have no time for Microsoft's AR / MR now to wait.
  • exactly! don't even try if you can't sell it the same day.
  • "Five to ten years away". Sounds like they talking about the Surface phone.
  • MS does have a way to view 3D-paintings in camera view in Creators Update, right? AR should be a small step from that, using compass, G-sensor and camera to track device orientation. No gyro required. Unfortunately, there is no Windows phones for this, but fortunately MS is very much able to create android app (and SDK) for that. Mixed Reality VR-headsets have cameras to track real life objects and boundaries, right? AR should be a small step from that, rendering captured background stereo view behind 3D-obects. Unless those cameras do not work as ordinary cameras, which would be quite short-sighted. Get Mixed Reality headset compability tool out now, and keep minimum requirements reasonable. HW requirements should be set as minimum computing power, not as minimum intel CPU generation. They are low cost devices after all. Potential could be huge. I hope that MS really puts it's muscles behind AR/VR/MR. Unlike Windows mobile or advanced features backed up by Cortana... But maybe they just put a few advertisements on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying Beware of the Leopard... and wait for the users and the developers to come :D
  • Microsoft's success...bringing high quality devices to market. Microsoft's failure...bringing high quality devices to market without first capturing the the audience for those high quality devices by first making low cost, low quality devices that the masses could use and afford and then incrementally creating, introducing and marketing better quality devices to a captured audience.
  • I have zero faith in Microsoft. Time and time again they have dropped the ball. They either take too long to execute and get passed up by the competition or their lack of courage and commitment causes them to drop out of the market. All we ever hear from the is retrench, retrench, retrench. I feel like the fan of the pro football team that is always in the bottom of the ranks. Year after year you watch them being mismanaged and you wonder why you stick with them.
  • Same here.
  • Consumers don't care about AR. As cool as you'd look walking around collecting Pokemon with a pair of headset goggles tethered to a battery pack, the technology isn't going anywhere in the consumer space.
  • I have to disagree, Bob. Take a quick browse of #ARkit.
  • Jason, what do they have to market? Nothing. People want something that they can use themselves. With the new AR from Apple even my mom could start using it from day 1. It may be less advanced, but they will get the users and the developers on board to build the way forward towards competitive HoloLens solutions. Microsoft has the wrong approach. They have nothing to offer the coming years... They should not aim so high for the first product.
  • Think about the Azure Cloud commercials that air on television. Consumers have little interest in that, but when the commercials air during their favorite TV shows, it makes them aware of something Microsoft is doing and how they're doing it. For business owners the ads a more relevant and they may take action to adopt the technology. Apple is about to (and is already) grabbing AR mindshare. The truth of the matter is, even though there is no consumer product, Microsoft is doing a LOT with AR and has the most advanced platform and AR device in HoloLens than all of it competitors. If Microsoft is smart, it realizes that it has a very brief Window to let consumers (who it will want to use its AR offerings) and business know what it is doing in AR and how advanced and REAL its applications are in REAL industries today, from healthcare, education, NASA, the military entertainment and more. If MS starts a campaign, as these ads aggressively air on TV during consumers favorite programs, they'll see the "sci-fi" furturistic real world applications of Microsoft's AR solution. Consumers awareness will be raised gaining mindshare, and potentially inducing demand for a consumer product, more developers may embrace it and more enterprise may begin partnering with MS. If more enterprises or businesses adopt it we may see HoloLens in more places where consumers will come in contact with it, such as universities, classrooms, museums, dealerships, stores, boutiques and more. Microsoft may generate interest and more partnerships if they get hyper-aggressive with marketing THEIR STORY! :-) This would position Microsoft's solution in the public eye (where it is currently invisible) as more advanced than Apples, (because it is) and again may stimulate demand, further partneships, more app development and a sooner consumer version. To remain quiet in an increasingly competitive space where hundreds of millions of consumers are about to get their hands on a "watered down" AR solution that will be hailed by consumers and mainstream media who don't know any better, as the apex of the technology, would be foolish.
  • Great theory - 'If Microsoft starts a campaign...' I actually agree with you. But when was the last time you saw Microsoft market ANYTHING aggressively? It's almost as though they have no one with your passion, but I know they do. So much potential.
  • Anyone actually using any AR? If so, please share what you use it for and how useful it is now? What do you think about it in the future? What if AR is like the Segway for transportation - no one wants it?  Is that possible? Or is it the be all end all? Right now, I would rather see efforts into another mobile device (WP), shelve AR until we see the need...MS owns the tech and has experience, they won't start from scratch, and can catch up or even....lead... Thoughts?
  • There are 2 Kinds of 3D content.   High quality, photo realism, which game community wants. High performance console, desktop pc, VR headsets etc. The other type is what I believe to be an EMERGING data commodity just like photo, video, driven by social media. Through ARKit, anyone empowered with the right tools, can just share selfie or group photo with 3D objects in real world photo or video. This emerging new ways of social media driven AR (real world) is what worry me if Microsoft does not response.   I agree with many here that HoloLens is technologically far superior than ARkit. I would like to caution that in the age of Marketing 3.0, the technology "perfection/superiority" alone (the focus of Marketing 1.0) is no longer driving the early adoption and mass conversion.   Customers appeal to emotion, the joy of seeing someone they care and love light up in front of them. This customer centricity that ARkit is positioned and differentiated, with the increasing waves of positive first hand engagement through social media, is what will drown the technological superiority of Hololens.  
  • Great suggestion! I just compared the Marketing 3.0 approach that the ARkit is taking, as compared to the Marketing 1.0 that the technologically superior Hololens is adopting, in the comment below.
  • Ok,  Spencer said 5-10 years out?   REALLY....??????.   Apple will have a pair of AR glasses sleeker than the prototypes shown in this article, released within a year I bet.  MS dropping the ball yet again!
  • Each time we see or hear a new use case of HoloLens, so what? Many IT companies trying to market HoloLens consulting service faced with "no budget for that" why, it remains only B2B AND not B2C business model. ARkit will mobilize B2C. If Microsoft act now, deliver ARkit like SDK for WinOnARM, mobilize .Net developers to deploy ARKit.Net solutions that take advantages of .Net unique differentiation: Microsoft Graph, Flow, ink, oneNote, all great UWP, Then, there is MS competing the AR B2C market share with ARkit, till the dawn of Consumer HoloLens 2019.
  • maybe they are waiting for 'the next bend' *sighs*
  • that is exactly what they are doing...They are always ahead of the curve....to the point where,  the curves always change direction opposite to what MS was thinking.
  • Microsoft has a big problem Apple is looking into making a COMPACT Hololens type device 'CONSUMERS CAN USE" while Microsoft sems to be giving it's Hololens technology over to big business Enterprise Applications. This is really bad for Microsoft because if Apple with help from it's Developers gets a good working Hololens with games and Apps for regular people first  then Microsoft will be playing the CATCH UP GAME AGAIN. One of Microsoft's big problems is it's CEO's and Techs do not seem to make their tech something regular people can use.  I remember looking at the original Table sized Surface back in 2007 and knew microsoft could make a great small tablet if they used the Surface tech on a small tablet. then Apple bet them to the punch with the Ipad and they had to play catch up. Microsft went wrong with Windows RT tablets lost a billion dollars on them and it took the 3rd Surface Pro model before they got the right design. now microsoft has a Billion dolor business succcess with the Surface pro line of      
  • Microsoft is losing bottom up needed to inspire developers. Uninspired developers will not do what Microsoft really wish - pls come to populate the windows store.
    WDC2017 deliver 2 keys technologies that are Keys to inspire developers for the next frontier of competition: MR (through ARkit) & Democratisation of AI (CoreML).
    Both are at the heart of Build 2017! Except in the real world, only focusing on non consumer (Enterprise) business objectives - that push startup/non-corporate developers away from window store.
    For ARkit to prosper, the developers are given CoreML. For Microsoft MR (HoloLens), developers are discouraged client based .NET deep leaning API (only cloud CNTK deep learning).
    As a .NET developers, it is extremely frustrating. U are encouraged to populate the Windows store with smart AI driven apps but not given the right tools.
    If Microsoft keep loosing the competition after laying a solid ground work for the competitors, I am speechless.
  • They are losing even on the trend they started... AR must be NOW on every Windows 10 device. NOW!!!
  • They won't. They lost another opportunity to lead the market.
  • I thought the OEM VR headsets would use their cameras to relay the real world and create a type of AR. I hope Microsoft is holding back on that news until they come out. Obviously you would loose real world clarity but it would be an AR experience better than any tablet or phone.
  • The MS consumer useage,  is quite frankly....DEAD.   They are losing ground every quarter.   Which sucks because I love windows 10.  BUT,  I am probably going to have to lose alot of functionality and switch to MacOS for good.  At least I know with apple there is a vision and a way forward.   Even though I wish they would finally embrace touchscreen.
  • Well apple is again in the headline and microsoft is nowhere read this guys http://wccftech.com/the-arkit-powered-flyover-mode-in-ios-11-maps-is-abs...
  • I'm pretty excited about AR, but i think we're not ready yet, how many peoples really know what is VR or AR, you ask 100 peoples i think perhaps 15 know what is it. The biggest problem is you have to wear something to be able to enjoy it. I will do so to try sometime, but doing it all the time, no thanks. So how many peoples will really want to wear some kind of glasses to experience something that looks like Pokemon Go, but a little better. VR and AR will be the futur, but like autonomous car, IOT or AI, it's not here yet. Now it will be interesting to see how customers will respond to Apple AR, and Microsoft can exploit all those datas and decide how they want their VR and AR experiance to be. They don't need to run like a stupid bull ahead, it's better to wait a little, let other do the stuff and decide when and what to launch. For Microsoft it must be easy to replicate Apple AR...