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Inside XR (Nov 11th, 2019)

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1.  While Google seems to be abandoning its immersive efforts, Apple and Niantic are reviving interest in the technology. William Worrall argues that while "Google ruined the AR dream" with its notorious Google Glass failure, interest in Augmented Reality wearables has been revived by rumors that Apple and Valve are collaborating on developing such hardware. "All we need now is for Apple’s new AR product to come out and not look totally ridiculous, which shouldn’t be too hard considering how much money they have to put into the design," writes Worrall, adding that Pokémon GO creators Niantic are now putting the key pieces on the gameboard to prepare developers and gamers for the launch of its AR cloud platform. – CNN

2.  New rumors put Apple release date for an AR headset around 2022, with Glasses to follow in 2023. Last month, Apple's Vice President Mike Rockwell is said to have briefed a larger group of employees on its plans to release an Augmented Reality headset by the year 2022, and a pair of more sophisticated AR glasses the following year. Rockwell is the chief of the team behind Apple's AR and VR development, and the meeting is said to have mentioned details about the design and features of the headset, as well as the latter's "thermal architecture." This timeline is far longer than what has been raised by previous analysts and rumors, which speculated a hardware release from Apple was imminent in 2020. – APPLE INSIDER   

3.  Anna J. Park writes about XR art exhibition "Futuredays" which takes place in Seoul until Nov. 17. Project ONN is the collective of artists behind Asia's first major XR art exhibition featuring Volumetric Capture technology which creates 3D holographic videos by recording footage simultaneously with numerous high-quality sensors and cameras. Kim In-hyun, artistic director of Project ONN, explains that the artists started collaborating with Microsoft on this project back in February 2018. "We felt somewhat cramped at exhibitions that can be enjoyed only through wearing VR headsets. We thought gallery visitors could enjoy augmented or mixed reality artwork with more ease. Visitors at this exhibition can enjoy the art with both their own eyes and ears, while they can also experience another dimension of them by using smartphones, tablet PCs or headsets," Kim added, also stressing that the main goal of the exhibition is to provide long-term artistic values and experiences to audiences. – KOREA TIMES

4.  A fitness AR game that turns you into a potato if you don't exercise has won a contest run by the makers of "Pokémon Go." "Run to My Heart" is an app that gives the term "couch potato" a fun spin by encouraging people to exercise in order to stop themselves from turning into one. Players join the Potato Rescue Squad, collecting potions and fighting giant augmented reality hamsters. It was developed by three-person studio JC Soft, a father, daughter and son team who combined their interest in gaming and running to snap first place in the "Beyond Reality" developer contest. Run by Niantic, that contest will be opening up its Real World Platform development kit to select participants through the Niantic Creator Program in the coming months to build up content for its AR cloud platform. – TECHNOLOGY INQUIRER

5. Riot Games opened its annual League of Legends World Championships 2019 with a holographic concert in Paris. The opening ceremony, which took place ahead of the match between Europe’s G2 and China’s FPX, featured several acts combining real-world performers with holograms. For those in the know, performers included semi-fictional musical group True Damage which includes League champs Akali, Ekko, Qiyana, Senna, and Yasuo, as voiced by musicians Soyeon of (G)I-dle, DUCKWRTH, Thutmose, Becky G, and Keke Palmer. – VG247

6. Dr. Chris Harz summarizes last month's XRDC 2019 conference. Harz noted that proceedings at the Ft. Mason Festival Pavilion seemed eerily quiet due to the fact that most attendees were wearing light-up headphones, giving it a "giant Silent Disco Party" vibe. XR training was a particular highlight at this year's event, especially for large corporations like Walmart, who plan to use 17,000 Oculus Go headsets to train more than a million employees. SweetRush described its training for Hilton Hotels using its XR SPARK systems. The training teaches employees how to interact with customers and each other, using stereoscopic video, 3D environments, spatial audio and interactive scenarios, which Hilton claims has become a major competitive advantage for the company. King County in Washington, on the other hand, has used the Microsoft HoloLens to "future proof" its training program, recording and transmitting practical “tribal knowledge” of senior workers to new recruits. – ANIMATION MAGAZINE

7. Yahoo News has launched a “Rebuilding Paradise” AR feature to immerse users into the story.  As part of a new partner program for immersive news content, the feature took viewers inside a reconstruction for a home that was destroyed in last year's California Camp Fire. It showed family photos, as well as audio from an interview with the homeowners about their decision to stay in Paradise. Together with Verizon Media's Ryot Films, Yahoo News also published a 17-minute immersive documentary called “After the Fire” that commemorates the one-year anniversary of the Camp Fire. – VARIETY

This newsletter was written and curated by Alice Bonasio, a journalist and consultant obsessed with the immersive technology space, including AR/VR/MR/XR and any other acronyms that fit into the realities spectrum. Over the past 15 years, Alice has advised a wide range of start-ups and corporations on digital transformation and communication strategy and is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Tech Trends. She also regularly contributes to publications such as Quartz, Fast Company, Wired, Playboy, The Next Web, Ars Technica, VRScout and many others. Follow her on Twitter @alicebonasio

EdIted by Inside Dev and Inside Deals Editor Sheena Vasani.

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