Apple has made an announcement that it has acquired Akonia Holographics, a Colorado-based startup that manufactures AR waveguide lenses. The announcement was made public on Thursday.
According to a source, Apple acquires smaller companies from time to time and the company doesn’t reveal their plans or purpose. In the later stages of 2017, Apple brought a company called Vrvana which specialized in manufacturing mixed-reality headsets. Varvana created a device that offered user pass through AR experiences on a conventional opaque display.
So, the latest acquisition indicates the possibility of a head-worn AR device being created by Apple soon.
Waveguide displays are embedded with optic technology for AR headsets. The displays are available in different varieties but the mechanism involves an image being beamed into a glass and then it bounces between etchings in a lens and finally it beams the image into the user’s eyes.
Currently, magic leap and Microsoft sells Waveguide lens based- AR headsets.
Looking forward, the Waveguide displays would definitely leave both options open for Microsoft, The future of AR is bright, Apple may choose the latter pending a big tech breakthrough or a heavily delayed release.
There are many Apple’s tech competitors who have been experimenting with AR headsets. Apple is working really hard on AR technologies and putting more effort towards phone-based AR technologies that track the geometry of spaces and can “project” digital objects onto surfaces.
It will be interesting to see how the tech giant responds to the AR market with its latest acquisition.