Apple is reportedly working towards an augmented reality headset for 2020, and a recent acquisition may add more credence to those rumors.
According to TechCrunch, Apple has acquired Vrvana, creators of the Totem headset, for $30 million. The device hasn't shipped, but allows developers to“produce truly opaque blacks and seamlessly blend the real world with the virtual.”
The method differs from Microsoft's HoloLens, which uses transparent displays, rather than cameras. The headset's OLED display come it at just 3ms, potentially cutting down on disorientation. It also boasts a higher FoV, though Microsoft may soon resolve that issue.
Several of the startup's employees have allegedly joined Apple in California, but the Vrana site is still functioning. Despite this, Vrana hasn't updated its social media since August. If the rumors are true, it's unclear what will happen to the company's previous plans. Apparently, Vrvana was working with Valve, Tesla, Audi and more under NDA.
Ultimately, it seems Vrvana was struggling to find funding. A source told TechCrunch that the company had raised under $2 million, with contributions from Real Ventures, and Richard Adler.
Its focus was primarily on enterprise rather than consumers, but Apple could take the technology either way. CEO Tim Cook previously noted enterprise as a focus his AR goals, but also said the technology is not yet in the right place.
Apple may be the right company to push the boundaries in that regard, thanks to other related acquisitions. In June, it acquired eye tracking firm SMI, and has been snapping up other startups for years.
So far, there's been no official confirmation from Apple or Vrvana.