Microsoft's Executive Vice President of AI and Research Harry Shum said this week that Microsoft's HoloLens 2 headset would go on sale in September. Shum revealed the ship-date during a speech at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference, according to Reuters.
I asked Microsoft officials if Shum's reported comments were correct. No word back yet. Update: A spokesperson didn't answer the question I asked but provided this boilerplate statement: "As we announced in February, Microsoft HoloLens 2 will begin shipping later this year. We have started collecting expressions of interest for HoloLens 2 preorders and, as part of our standard practice for gathering feedback, have shared near-final prototypes with some customers, but have not announced a date for general availability."
However, given a filing posted on the FCC's web site on August 2, indicating the device was close to delivery, a September ship date seems plausible. So far, Microsoft has been taking HoloLens 2 preorder information only from customers in the U.S., France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, and the U.K.
Microsoft took the wraps off the HoloLens 2 in late February this year at Mobile World Congress.
HoloLens 2 -- which, technically, is the third iteration of the HoloLens, as Microsoft skipped over version two -- looks somewhat different from the first HoloLens, which Microsoft began selling in 2016. It has a visor that can easily flip up; features a larger vertical field of view; offers articulated hand and eye tracking, which should make interacting with holograms more natural; and is built to be lighter and better weighted. It has a Snapdragon 850 compute engine and an on-board custom AI holographic co-processor.
Microsoft's positioning of the HoloLens 2 also is different from its original HoloLens positioning. The tag line on Microsoft's HoloLens 2 site is "mixed reality is ready for business." This is a headset Microsoft is targeting at business customers, including first-line workers.
Microsoft is offering three pricing options for HoloLens 2: A $3,500 HoloLens 2 developer edition (available with financing for $99 per user per month); a HoloLens 2 device-only SKU for $3,500; and a HoloLens 2 subscription version (with Dynamics 365 Remote Assist preloaded) starting at $125 per user per month.