Apple buys AR lenses startup

The multinational's latest purchase suggests that Apple AR glasses could finally be on the way


Apple has confirmed its acquirement of Colorado-based startup Akonia, a company focused on creating augmented reality (AR) lenses.

According to its website, Akonia's display technology allows for "thin, transparent smart glass lenses that display vibrant, full-color, wide field-of-view images". The company was founded in 2012 with an original focus on holographic data storage before moving into focusing on creating displays for AR reality glasses.

The acquisition marks a step towards the development of Apple's long-awaited AR glasses, which have been predicted to be introduced as soon as 2020 by Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

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"We predict that AR is the next-generation revolutionary UI; we therefore think that AR does not need any killer applications given it is a killer application already," Ming-Chi Kuo wrote in a research note.

"We expect Apple will redefine the UIs of existing products by offering an AR experience created by the AR glass, which will likely be launched in 2020," he continued.

Apple has stated that it "buys smaller companies from time to time, and we generally don't discuss our purpose or plans".

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The technology colossus has a history of buying up smaller companies whose tech then appears in later Apple products. For example, in 2010, it bought the app Siri Inc. which it used for the Siri voice recognition software synonymous with the iPhone, which was then debuted as part of the iPhone 4S.

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