Microsoft is ready to reveal its next big move in mixed reality.
The company invited a handful of journalists to a intimate and rather mysterious San Francisco event on Oct. 3. On the agenda: A reveal of Microsoft’s full mixed-reality strategy and, perhaps, the next big steps.
The announcement comes as something of a surprise, since experts and pundits have spent weeks speculating that Microsoft’s next big event and product unveiling would happen on Oct. 31 when Microsoft Surface chief Panos Panay delivers a keynote at the Future Decoded event in London.
However, sources tell us that anyone expecting new Surface hardware at that event will be disappointed. Instead, Panay will focus on Microsoft’s aggressive Creativity push and how that’s shaping Microsoft’s current and future strategy.
That doesn’t mean however, that this new Oct. 3 event is about going to satisfy the demand for fresh Surface devices, either. In addition, even with the “Mixed Reality” tease, there won’t be a new HoloLens mixed reality headset for developers or consumers.
Will there be any new hardware for us to sink our teeth into from Microsoft or its partners? No one is saying, but it’s fair to say the possibility exists.
As for the invite, it’s spare and offers few clues about what we’ll see on October 3, beyond, “This event is an opportunity to hear where Microsoft is headed next—and to experience Windows Mixed Reality for yourself.”
The ring leader for this experience is none other than Alex Kipman. Kipman, a technical fellow at Microsoft, invented HoloLens.
What we do know is that those who attend the Oct. 3 event will get their deepest immersion yet in Microsoft’s brand of mixed reality, which is actually a spectrum that runs from augmented reality experiences to full-immersive virtual reality.
Some of this will help lay the groundwork for the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update release on Oct. 17. That update integrates Microsoft’s mixed reality platform and allows third-party VR headsets (they start shipping on that same day), allowing them to work with the operating system and third-party experiences written to take advantage of Windows 10’s new AR and VR skills.
Microsoft is going to have a busy fall. In addition to the Windows 10 update release and this mixed-reality deep dive and potential product reveal, Microsoft is preparing to launch Xbox One X on Nov. 7. Xbox is a Windows 10 device as well, which means it will likely end up with more mixed-reality skills in the not-to-distant future.