Microsoft just made it easier to purchase its HoloLens Development Edition hardware if you live in the United States or Canada. There's no longer an application process or need to be invited, you can just head over to the online Microsoft Store and buy the augmented reality eyeglasses outright, though you better bring a bag of loot—it costs USD $3,000 in the U.S. and $4,000 in moose bucks (CAD).
That's a chunk of change though it's not really intended for consumers at this point. As its name implies, the Development Edition is aimed at developers at this early stage, and if you have the requisite loot, you can purchase up to five units for you and your team of AR programmers. Microsoft will also sell larger quantities to businesses interested in taking advantage of the headset's enterprise capabilities, details of which can be obtained by contacting a Microsoft account representative.
If you're a consumer looking to be an early adopter, Microsoft will sell you a HoloLens as well—it's not vetting buyers, you just need to live in the U.S. or Canada. Before you drop all that coin, however, be advised that all sales are final; there are no refunds, and Microsoft says in no uncertain terms there are "no warranties." That last bit is a tough pill to swallow for a device that costs several thousand dollars.
In addition to making it easier to buy the actual HoloLens hardware as a standalone unit, Microsoft also released its HoloLens Commercial Suite, a bundled version of the AR headset intended for business users. It ships with the headset itself plus a few enterprise friendly features such as Kiosk mode, which allows you to limit which apps to run to enable a demo or showcase certain experiences, Mobile Device Management (MDM) so your IT department can manage multiple HoloLens devices simultaneously, Bitlocker data encryption, and a few other goodies.
HoloLens is one of a handful of high profile alternate reality headsets. Unlike the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, both of which are virtual reality headsets, HoloLens places virtual bits in your real-world surroundings. The potential is huge and not just for gaming—in collaboration with Autodesk, designers can see virtual 3D model representations of what they're working on.
The future is arriving fast and it's pretty exciting. If you're ready for it, you can grab a HoloLens in the U.S. here and in Canada here.