Apple Acquires A Canadian Augmented Reality (AR) Startup for $30 Million

According to this article, "Apple Buys Canadian AR Headset Startup Vrvana For $30M," Apple has acquired Vrana for $30 million. Vrvana is best known for their hybrid headset Total, which has not been released yet.

Totem

Totem weaves the augmented and virtual reality together to form a single "extended reality" device. The headset tracks head position and the location of the user's hand for manipulation of virtual objects.

Vrvana's camera-based approach is different from those of others like Microsoft, which deploy transparent-based displays for its HoloLens headsets. Totem turns out to be a superior system to such technologies as it can overlay fully opaque, true color animations on top of the real world rather than the ghost-like projections of other headsets, which cannot display the color black. Such technology allows Totem to do what it refers to as a "Seamless blend" transition between VR and AR environments.

What This Means for Apple

The inclusion of augmented reality (AR), superimposes digital information onto real-world images, for example, is likely to drive strong future iPhone sales. With AR technology, the consumer would no longer need to carry a phone, as texts and videos would be available even without the device.

It recently said it would begin operating AKKit, a platform for software developers to design new apps that integrate AR. That set off a wave of innovation in mobile apps, which in turn gave more reason for people to buy iPhones. By encouraging app developers to start on AR now, Apple will have a 2 or 3-year head start on Google's Android operating system, says Tim Bajarin of Creative Strategies. Google has launched an AR platform called Tango, but it is only available on 2 devices, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro and the Asus Zenfone AR, which have few users. If Apple can keep a lead on integrating AR into its software, that also give users a reason to keep on preferring the iPhone over cheaper smartphones. This would be particularly helpful in China, which local brands such as Vivo and OPPO's R9 phone, which costs just $400, overtook the iPhone in the country.

--Economist

Questions

Would you buy the iPhone if it had AR capabilities over cheaper smartphones? How will this acquisition affect future iPhone sales? How will it help???

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11/24/17

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