The multibillion-dollar-valued vaporware (so far) known as Magic Leap has been wrestling with a PR nightmare over the past few months. That nightmare may be about to get a lot more vivid thanks to a leaked photo.
On Friday evening, a photo emerged in a report from Business Insider that shows what the publication claims is at least one iteration of the Magic Leap prototype, being worn by an unnamed user.
Although the front-facing portion of the device isn’t shown, we are able to see shoulder straps, a head harness, and a backpack filled with electronics. The person in the photo also appears to be holding a controller of some sort.
In general, the contraption looks extremely early in its development. However, there’s no way of knowing if this purported photo leak isn’t just a photo representing something the company had in existence a couple of years ago, or if it represents the latest phase of development for the device. According to the report, the photo itself was taken in January, but that doesn’t mean the device shown (described as an “early prototype”) looks anything like the latest version of the company’s latest prototype.
If it turns out that this is a photograph of an old device, this might just be a bit of clever marketing spin by Magic Leap to greatly lower expectations before unveiling a polished product in the coming months.
That’s the best case scenario.
The worst case scenario is that this does represent the latest version of the company’s prototype meant for consumers, in which case there’s very little chance we will see a Magic Leap device available to consumers any time in 2017.
The company has yet to comment on the leaked photo, and it should be emphasized once again that there is no confirmation that this is, in fact, a device created by Magic Leap — so far, we only have the claims made by Business Insider. When contacted by Business Insider, the company declined to comment, and I’ve also requested confirmation (or denial) of the photo’s authenticity from my Magic Leap contact — as of this writing, I have yet to hear back.