APPLE HAS THROWN MONEY at Akonia Holographics, a startup that makes displays for augmented reality (AR) devices.
In a run-of-the-mill statement given to Reuters, Apple confirmed the acquisition, saying: "Apple buys smaller companies from time to time, and we generally don't discuss our purpose or plans."
Akonia hasn't coughed on the terms of the deal either, but the report claims that the startup team had become "very quiet" over the past six months, implying that the deal may have happened in the first half of 2018.
Fueling rumours that Apple is gearing up to launch its first AR hardware, the Denver-based company, founded in 2012, says its display technology allows for "thin, transparent smart glass lenses that display vibrant, full-colour, wide field-of-view images."
Akonia boasts a portfolio of more than 200 patents related to holographic systems and materials, according to its website, and claims its technology "will revolutionize" the smart glass display industry.
News of Apple's acquisition of Akonia comes hot on the heels of a research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, which claims that the company's first AR goggles will debut in 2020 - backing up an earlier Bloomberg report.
"We predict that AR is the next-generation revolutionary UI; we therefore think that AR does not need any killer applications given it is a killer application already," wrote Kuo.
"We expect Apple will redefine the UIs of existing products by offering an AR experience created by the AR glass, which will likely be launched in 2020," he continued.
The research note doesn't tell us much else, but earlier rumours suggested the "glasses" will take the form of a headset that packs an 8K display for each eye.
The wireless goggles will reportedly ship with a "dedicated box" that uses short-range, high-speed wireless tech known as 60GH WiGig to connect to a custom Apple processor, and will not require any external sensors for movement tracking as all the tech for that will be loaded into the headset.
Apple, naturally, hasn't remarked on the rumours, but the Tim Cook previously lauded AR as "big and profound" technology development.
"This is one of those huge things that we'll look back at and marvel on the start of it," Cook said. µ
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And a ridiculous competition
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