In a statement to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple confirmed it bought VR entertainment firm NextVR:
The Newport Beach, California-based startup officially shut down this week, saying on its website that it is “heading in a new direction.” Apple said it buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and generally does not discuss its purpose or plans. It didn’t disclose a purchase price, but website 9to5Mac reported in April that Apple was in talks to buy NextVR for about $100 million.
This on the same day that analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggested that Apple’s rumored augmented reality glasses could launch as early as 2022.
That’s a ways off, of course, and the current world situation makes nothing certain. But Tim Cook has never been shy about discussing his aspirations for AR, and the addition of the LIDAR sensor on the newest iPad Pro (a feature that is expected to come to at least some of this fall’s iPhones) definitely seem to add fuel to the fire.
I also can’t help but think that a company like NextVR, which has partnerships with sports leagues and entertainment networks, could prove a handy acquisition for creating content that can be broadcast in VR–something that may be attractive in the future, depending on how long it takes before people are congregating in large crowds again.