According to 9to5Mac, Apple is in the process of buying NextVR, a virtual-reality company based in California. It has been a known fact that Apple has plans for augmented reality glasses in the near future and is building a stable platform for launching it by 2021. However, Apple’s interest in virtual reality is a new thing.
Augmented reality mixes the real world with the virtual world, letting a user interact with other people while also seeing digital information such as text messages and directions in a maps app. By 2021 or 2022, Apple aims to release an AR headset with a focus on gaming, watching videos and virtual meetings. The company intends to roll out a lightweight pair of AR glasses as early as 2023 as well. Upon inspection codes and images form iOS 14, it was confirmed that Apple is under the process of developing an AR headset. Apple is testing its AR equipment internally, with an iOS 14 app called Gobi along with QR codes.
Apple employees have always shared minimal information on the topic of virtual reality. However, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has praised the benefits of augmented reality tech public ally up until the official launch of ARKit in September 2017. Cook believes that AR content will make iPhones more essential than they are. He commented,
“You can imagine, for games, it’s incredible but even for our discussion here. You and I might be talking about an article and using AR we can pull it up, and can both be looking at the same thing at the same time.”
Apple’s subject of interest, NextVR, is located in Orange county. The company has a long experience in virtual reality video streaming for sports, and entertainment. NextVR currently provides live viewing experiences in VR with headsets from different platforms, including PlayStation, HTC, Occulus, Lenovo and Microsoft.
The company had over 40% staff reduction in early 2019 due to lack of funding. Their focus on virtual reality technology was seen to be a risk to the apparent rise of augmented reality technology.
NextVR reportedly has over 40 technology patents and is believed to be holding patent technology that upscale video streams. The company uses its tech for supporting better quality in video streams and sports events.
NextVR has partnerships with NBS, Fox Sports, Wimbledon and many other live music, sports, and online broadcasting channels. The acquisition for the company is expected to be valued for about $100 million with a shell company hiring most of NextVR’s engineers to develop products. Although the deal has not closed yet, the two companies have informed employees who will likely have to move from San Diego to Cupertino.