Since its launch two years ago, the HoloLens 2 has been the best AR headset out there, and nothing has come close to touching it since then.
So at first glance, new features arriving for the device via an update to the Windows Holographic operating system might seem a bit … tame.
The main change arriving through version 21H1 is the move to the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge as the default browser. Yawn? Not so fast. This means better support for WebXR experiences, which are rapidly gaining momentum as a delivery method for cross-platform AR content. This also means support for web apps, such as the Microsoft Office web app.
How about swipe to type? Yes, you probably already have this on your iPhone or Android device, but given that hand gestures are the main input method for HoloLens, this is quite the problem.
We should also remember that Microsoft has positioned HoloLens as a corporate device, so adding multiple user accounts from the login screen is a godsend for companies where multiple employees can share the same headset.
Additionally, Windows Holographic brings a number of tweaks to the user experience, such as a new Power menu for quick access to log out, shut down and restart from the user profile icon and a more robust Settings app with customization options and wider control over the device options.
So this update can come off like a bit of routine, but the truth is it’s a major update, especially given the powerful interactions it brings. With Microsoft Mesh on the way, we can expect bigger things on the horizon.