The technology firm confirmed it had bought Colorado-based Akonia Holographics, although declined to give further detail on the purchase, saying: "Apple buys smaller companies from time to time, and we generally don't discuss our objective or plans". It has always signaled important changes in their business by previously acquiring the necessary IP to enable new product lines, which leads us to believe that an AR device, such as a lightweight headset or Google Glass-like eyeglasses could soon be a reality.
Speculation has been building for some time now that Apple is interested in developing augmented reality glasses.
Apple has acquired Denver-based AR lens startup Akonia Holographics, according to a report by Reuters. "Apple buys smaller companies from time to time, and we generally don't discuss our goal or plans", the company told Reuters.
Akonia could not immediately be reached for comment. The company was founded in August of 2012 to develop advanced optical technologies based on holography. According to the company's website, it has "over 200 patents pertaining to holographic systems and materials".
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Akonia also said it raised $11.6 million in seed funding in 2012 and was seeking additional funding. It would make sense, then, for the $1 trillion company to just buy Akonia instead of licensing its technologies. Apple will presumably use the company's technology for its widely rumored augmented-reality headset that could ship as early as 2020.
Augmented reality headsets now on the market such as Microsoft Corp's HoloLens and startup Magic Leap's Magic Leap One both use darkened lenses and are intended for indoor use.
We know that Tim Cook is a fan of AR and Apple seems to be following the vision that the technology will be the Next Big Thing if done right. But if Apple can solve what the much-hyped MagicLeap or Microsoft Hololenses have been trying to solve for years, they will have a killer product on their hands.