TechCrunch reports that Apple has snapped up Metaio, a company developing augmented reality technology:
The company is well established. Many impressive projects have been produced using its tools including this one of with Ferrari that gives a potential buyer an AR tour of the car (as though the actual car isn’t cool enough)…
And this one for travelers in Berlin to see what the scene they are looking at would have looked like when the Berlin Wall was up. The program uses historical footage that you can see by pointing your smartphone or tablet at a particular place.
While Microsoft and Google have both spent considerable energy telling us about augmented reality, Apple has yet to dip so much as the smallest of toes into that pond.
Smart, I say. Nobody really knows what AR is good for yet, what problems it solves, or even if people will really want to use it. Apple’s at its best when it’s not the first mover, but instead comes into a defined market and produces the “oh that should have been obvious” solution.
And, of course, there exists the possibility that AR itself is a dead end. That doesn’t preclude Apple from investigating it—the company works on a lot of technologies that never come to market. This could well be one of them.
That said, my bet is that if Apple does take advantage of the AR technology developed by this company, it’s as software used in iOS devices and Macs, not as some sort of Google Glass/Microsoft HoloLens-like helmet or visor. At least, for now.