Discover more from AIXR's Weekly Metaverse Business Brief
Apple go appointment only, Runway raise $141 million, & NASA build virtual data worlds.
Also this week...Samsung delay XR headset, Xreal Air shipments to hit 200k, and OpenAI make GPT4 generally available.
Good morning Metaverse Business Brief readers. Let’s jump into the most relevant news from the immersive world in our weekly roundup.
Apple Vision Pro headset to launch on ‘appointment-only’ basis. According to a report by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, prospective buyers of the $3499 device will require an appointment to purchase the headset from the Apple store. A face scan may also be included in the process as Apple look to ensure the physical fit of the device is as optimised as possible for all future users. The ‘appointment-only’ model has been used by Apple before, most notably in the first rollout of the Apple Watch in 2015.
Samsung delay forthcoming headset project. February saw Samsung officially announce plans to develop an XR headset in alliance with Google. However, reports from South Korean news outlet SBS Biz suggest that a planned production target of early 2024 will be missed. Instead, the new target will be 3-6 months later. According to sources, Samsung’s delay has been prompted by the reveal of the Apple Vision Pro specifications, with Samsung choosing to redesign and potentially upgrade their own specs as a result.
Xreal Air shipments surge amidst industry resurgence. The Alibaba backed brand Xreal - recently rebranded from original name ‘Nreal’ - report that their ‘Air’ headset will soon reach 200,000 units shipped less than a year since launch. Co-Founder Peng Jin made mention of surging interest in ‘spatial computing’ as a result of Apple’s announcement of the Vision Pro. Xreal’s Air glasses retail for $379, a tenth of the planned $3,500 price that Apple to introduce for the Vision Pro.
OpenAI announce GPT-4 general availability. The latest text-generating model from OpenAI will be available through its API, with all existing OpenAI developers with “a history of successful payments” having the ability to access GPT-4. The new iteration of the model will accept image inputs, something that wasn’t possible on GPT-3.5. However, this ability is currently limited to testing by a single partner organisation named “Be My Eyes”, with it being unconfirmed as to when this will be opened up to all customers.
Runway gains $141 million. The New York based company have secured the funding from high profile investors, such as Google, Salesforce inc, and Nvidia. Founded in 2018, Runway is targeted at filmmakers, photographers and cinematographers as a text to video model that allows users to create videos using pre-existing images and text prompts.
Voice.ai raise $6 million. The funding round was led by Mucker Capital and M13, with Voice.ai emerging as a tool that allows users to change their voices in real time using AI. The service has more than 480,000 users, and a library of 50,000 voice filters. The startup’s technology is currently in heavy demand from gamers and content creators.
Immersive Fox secure €3.3 million. The London based startup offer clients in sales and corporate communication industries the ability to create AI generated personalised videos on mass - ideal as an enhancement to the customer experience. Immersive Fox hope to use the funding to advance the AI tech that powers the video content creation tool.
Keep an eye on
NASA create virtual data worlds with VR and AI. Reports suggest that US Space agency NASA have been experimenting with virtual and mixed reality technology at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California. The focus of investigations has been to improve data visualisation, with tracking geological features on Mars being cited as a potential application the tests.
HTC quietly drop the Vive Cosmos headset in the US. A reddit user investigating the disappearance of the HTC Vive Cosmos product page sparked an investigation which resulted in the confirmation of a quiet removal of the device. Being out of stock for some time in the US, new devices are still available from HTC in Europe, Australia, Taiwan and Japan amongst other select markets.
VR credited with German U17 soccer success. Germany triumphed in the Hungary 2023 European Under 17s Football Championship. In a series of interviews, head coach Christian Wuck and head of intelligence Sebastian Koppers spoke out about the use of VR technology in player training. 10 of the 11 players who won the title took part in almost 3 years of VR training classes designed to improve awareness on the pitch.
Alibaba and Huawei take huge AI steps. In the international battle for position in the AI race, both Alibaba and Huawei showcased new initiatives at conferences in China this week. Alibaba Cloud unveiled an image generator called Tongyi Wanxiang, while Huawei demonstrated the third iteration of the Panggu AI model. It is suggested aggressive development of AI products will continue amidst the generative AI boom.
Events to be at
August 08 Online | Insights Live: How the Metaverse would Transform Education
August 30 Singapore | AWE Asia 2023
September 23 Online | Insights Live: How can CEOs stop feeling alone?
October 24-26 Houston | The 10th Augmented Enterprise Summit
November 30 Rotterdam | The 7th International VR Awards
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news and comments to email@example.com.
July 10 2023 Edition - Issue 27
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