As Microsoft works diligently on its next HoloLens version, Apple seems to be preparing its first AR play. Today, the company gave credence to those rumors with the purchase of Akonia Holographics.

The startup says it can project full-color images onto its custom ‘HoloMirror’ display, which boasts a high FoV and competitive production costs. It was formed by senior holography scientists and holds over 200 patents which could be of use to Apple.

On its website, the startup claims that its single layer transparent display tech is beyond that of other commercial technology. It also expects to make a number of breakthroughs in the years to come. However, in usual Apple fashion, a spokesperson confirmed the acquisition but refused to comment on the details.

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“Apple buys smaller companies from time to time, and we generally don’t discuss our purpose or plans,” the company said to Reuters.

Purchase Details Unknown

Akonia is also yet to comment or publish a press release on its website. Apple is rumored to be keeping its device under wraps until 2020, so the secrecy makes perfect sense.

Initial rumors point to a cordless headset that sports two 8K displays and is codenamed T288. It will apparently run on a custom OS with a 5-nanometer processor. It seems Apple is putting significant cash behind its AR efforts, and it may well pay off.

While current headsets aren’t everything consumers hoped for, the AR market is supposed to grow significantly over the next few years. Along with VR, its expected to be a multi-billion dollar market.

Apple has not disclosed the details of its deal with Akonia and it’s unlikely it will. However, we do know that the startup raised $11.6 million in a 2012 series A funding round, and its patents alone will be valuable.

Also unknown is when the acquisition finalized, with some in the industry suggesting Akonia has been quiet for six months.

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