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The HoloLens 2 started shipping yesterday. Microsoft's new-and-improved AR headset costs the equivalent of five iPhone 11s ($3,500) and is catered to corporate customers. What's new: The "mixed reality" device has more digital perception and interaction capabilities. Compared to the original HoloLens, it tracks more hand gestures, has 2x the field of view, and boasts "single-digit" lag time. How it works: The headset's visor superimposes 3D digital objects on the real world, and lets you drag, drop, and resize those objects. You summon a menu by holding an arm palm-up and touching your wrist like Iron Man. Let's just say I tried sneaking a headset out of the demo in my pocket (it didn't work). Also at the demo was the startup Spatial, which makes "shared augmented workplaces," aka Slack on steroids. Using a HoloLens 2 and Spatial's product, I met the avatar of someone who wasn't there, moved content around in 3D, and put a digital rover on Mars. Takeaway: HoloLens 2 truly feels like the future—but one that's far out for non-Fortune 1,000 employees. If you work at a company that does remote assistance, virtual training, or visual 3D collaboration, you may be in luck.
We’ll know we’ve made it as a newsletter when a) we become the largest U.S. city by population and b) we get invited to Microsoft’s HQ to demo the HoloLens 2, the updated mixed reality headset it unveiled at MWC yesterday. What is it? It’s a device you wear that overlays digital images (like holograms) onto the real world. And instead of going after individual consumers, Microsoft is selling the HoloLens 2 to corporations with employees who work with their hands—think factories. And because we’re not salty at all, let’s get more insight from tech journalists who actually got the invite to Redmond, WA: Cnet’s Scott Stein: “The best way I can describe it is like Google Maps' turn-by-turn directions for real world instructions—or like a floating Lego manual for reality.” The Verge’s Dieter Bohn points out the HoloLens 2 (a “technical marvel”) reflects Microsoft’s strategy to serve “corporate and enterprise needs instead of trying to crank out hit consumer products.”