And more news from augmented reality segment, the current hot pie of tech world innovation. Apple has reportedly bought a German augmented reality firm called Metaio according to TechCrunch, which pointed to a Twitter post showing a legal document seemingly confirming a full transfer of shares from Metaio’s holdings to Apple.
Apple, as usual seems to downplay the acquisition, if any, and said.
Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.
Metaio which calls itself a “pioneer in augmented reality and computer vision” is a well established company and has done a number of impressive AR projects for clients like Ferrari and Ikea by developing technology that allows people wearing Google Glass-like eyewear to make any real world surface into a virtual touch screen hence enabling you to look at Ferrari in the showroom and apply different colors and flourishes. Ikea did the same thing with its furniture catalog.
Metaio also created software to let developers create tablet apps that flash repair instructions across the screen when the tablet’s camera is pointed at machines such as car engines or a printer.
However the company was keeping low in recent months when it canceled its user conference originally set for June, disabled its Twitter accounts and just days ago posted a notice announcing an end to product and subscription sales. The clients of the company were reportedly irked by seeing the shut down message on the website and not hearing anything from the company until now.
The acquisition by Apple comes at a time when other companies are rapidly moving into the so called future of tech world innovation. Google, despite being not so successful in Google Glass project came up with Google cardboard and reportedly has also secretly invested in to Magic Leaps for developing augment reality technology; Facebook bought the famous VR firm Oculus Rift, Microsoft created ripples with Hololens and Sony also came up with their Project Morpheus for Playstation.
Apple too hinted working on its own AR project when few months back Piper Jaffray, senior research analyst Gene Munster said Apple has a small team exploring augmented reality technology. He argued that Apple could help develop AR products that appeal more to consumers than products like Google Glass.
Apple has also bought a few patents earlier covering gamut of augmented reality applications, including transparent displays, mapping solutions and iPhone-powered virtual displays but has still to come up with a product incorporating these patents, perhaps continuing its approach of letting a particular product establish its market and then introducing its own product raising the bar higher than anybody else.