19 Jan 2024 | Mike Boland
AWE Talks: What's in Store for XR in '24?
XR Trends

Welcome back to AWE Talks, our series that revisits the most engaging content from AWE’s catalog of conference sessions, meetups and virtual interactions.

This week, we depart from regularly scheduled programming to highlight a dialogue between two XR thought leaders: Tom Emrich and Ori Inbar. They reunited this week to break down XR's momentum and moving parts as we enter 2024.

See the summarized takeaways below, representing the first five of ten trends they tackled in this week's special event. We'll return next week for part two of the series to spotlight the second half of their list...

Ori Inbar,
Tom Emrich, Niantic

Key Takeaways
– Spatial computing continues to see both promise and peril as we enter 2024.
– What defines the industry now? Inbar and Emrich weigh in on 10 key trends
– Starting with the first five trends (6-10 covered in part 2 of this series)... 

1. 2024: A Breakthrough Year for XR?
– XR is seeing momentum as it collides with AI and excitement builds.
– This was seen at CES where XR and smartglasses made a big splash.
– XReal Air 2 Ultra and Sony's new enterprise play were show favorites
– Apple Vision Pro has also sparked XR excitement on a larger scale. 
– There's also evidence in figures & projections from research firms.
– After a dip in '23, some are projecting hardware shipments to grow 46%

2. 2024: The Year of Spatial Computing?
– "Spatial computing" isn't a new term but it sees mainstream recognition.
– Emrich: the term will be this year's media darling, propelled by Apple.
– Transitioning from all the acronyms will make it more mainstream-friendly.
– This also broadens the opportunity into orbiting sectors, including AI. 
– This also includes everything from autonomous vehicles to filmmaking.

3. 2024: The Year of Mixed Reality?
– There's been some naming confusion but MR is finally coalescing.
– It has come to denote devices that perform both AR and VR. 
– Quest 3, and other passthrough AR devices, helped solidify this. 
– As a result, passthrough AR (MR) will be a new standard in VR.
– Seeing the real world by default also makes VR less isolating. 
– MR also accelerates AR and represents the latest stage in its journey.
– Inbar: MR is the realistic stepping stone to the AR that we all want. 

4. 2004: The Year of AI + XR?
– Despite linkbait headlines, AI doesn't replace XR but enhances it. 
– In fact, XR can be seen as the front end, or GUI, of AI. 
– Similarly, AI can be the brains of XR, amplifying its capabilities.
– Gen AI can also support XR developer workflows as a "copilot." 
– Emrich: spatial computing could outpace AI in 2024 in mindshare.

5. 2004: The Year of Apple Vision Pro?
– AVP has already injected broader excitement and attention in XR.
– Regardless of unit sales, Apple's classic "halo effect" will have an impact.
– This is 40 years after the introduction of the Mac, a symbolic milestone.
– But don't measure it on a pass/fail basis... this is the start of a slow process.
– This year, it could be more of a dev kit for developers to gain their footing. 
– Then again, it could be like the iPhone's first year of cultivating user habits. 
– Either way, AVP will realize greater value when spatial apps are plentiful.
– Meanwhile, consumers may need 2D apps as baby steps towards that day.

For more color from Emrich & Inbar see the full video below, and stay tuned for part 2 of this series... 


  Want more XR insights and multimedia? ARtillery Intelligence offers an indexed and searchable library of XR intelligence known as ARtillery Pro. See more here.  

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