Apple has bought an augmented-reality headset startup


Sorry, the rumours about Apple making an AR headset and/or smart glasses are going to keep on coming until the company actually makes one.

At least there’s some concrete fact to the latest story: Apple has acquired a startup called Vrvana that was making an AR headset called the Totem.

TechCrunch claims that the acquisition was for around $30m, and notes that the Totem won critical acclaim but never actually went on sale.

It looked a lot like a virtual-reality headset, but with cameras on the front to provide ‘pass-through’ video of the real world to the screen on the inside. It could thus switch between virtual and augmented reality: a feature that could be extremely interesting for any future Apple product.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been bullish about the potential of AR, while warning that the actual hardware isn’t quite up to Apple standard yet.

“The display technology required, as well as putting enough stuff around your face – there’s huge challenges with that,” he said in an interview in October. “The field of view, the quality of the display itself, it’s not there yet.”

$30m may be money well-spent if Vrvana can help Apple start to solve those problems.

Stuart Dredge

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