Apple has completed the purchase of Akonia Holographics, a tech startup focused primarily on the production of lenses for augmented reality (AR) glasses, according to Business Insider.
The startup, based in Longmont, Colorado and founded in 2012, claims its HoloMirror product benefits from display technology that allows for “thin, transparent smart glass lenses that display vibrant, full-color, wide field-of-view images”.
AR overlays images onto real-world environments in real time, with possibilities including user-specific HUDs, education, live mapping features, games, and more besides.
Business Insider added, “The firm has a portfolio of more than 200 patents related to holographic systems and materials, according to its website”.
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has repeatedly championed his belief of AR’s mass-market appeal, according to Bloomberg.
Mr Cook said: “This is one of those huge things that we’ll look back at and marvel on the start of it” during a conference call with investors last year, Business Insider reported.
Apple’s decision to purchase Akonia Holographics suggests a move in earnest towards producing AR headsets, with rumours suggesting such a product could hit the market as early as 2020.
The company already has a series of AR applications available for its iPhone and iPad devices, including the wildly popular Pokémon GO.
Google Glass, a pioneer of this form of wearable tech, has yet to achieve widespread appeal but has nonetheless seen success as a learning aid for autistic children.
Other competition in the field includes Microsoft’s HoloLens technology, although it is not currently designed or marketed for the general public.
No information regarding the date or price of the acquisition is currently available.