Apple Acquires AR Glasses Startup Akonia Holographics
There have been ongoing rumors of Apple’s interest in creating augmented reality glasses or a headset of some sort for months, possibly years at this point and now we have another reason to think there may be some truth to the guesswork. Apple has picked up a startup that makes lenses for, you guessed it, augmented reality glasses, according to a new report by Reuters.
The startup, called Akonia Holographics, is now owned by Apple and advertises its wares as “the world’s first commercially available volume holographic reflective and waveguide optics for transparent display elements in smart glasses.” Beyond being a mouthful, that sounds exactly like the kind of technology Apple would be interested in if it was indeed looking to create its own headset.
Apple has confirmed the purchase of the company to Reuters with a statement very much along the lines of the one it makes whenever it purchases a new company. While “Apple buys smaller companies from time to time, and we generally don’t discuss our purpose or plans” may not tell us anything, sources speaking with Reuters have suggested that Akonia Holographics was “very quiet” over the past six months, which could suggest a deal has been in place for a long while at this point.
Apple has been working on various prototype headsets according to leaks that have appeared semi-recently with a launch penciled in for 2019 or 2020. Apple already works extensively with augmented reality as part of the iPhone and iPad and continues to push what iOS is capable of while giving developers more tools with which to work.
The inclusion of a headset of sorts could push this even further, although costs and the sheer size of such a headset could prove troublesome for the market.
A demo of Apple’s ARKit augmented reality framework