Apple has bought Metaio, a German-founded company whose is specialized in augmented reality technology which is used by developers and enterprise customers.
It appears that an analyst’s prediction made earlier this year that Apple was moving into augmented reality was absolutely correct, with Metaio being a stepping stone for Apple to expand its augmented reality experiments. The agreement was officially reached last week, according to published documents.
Apple announced the deal trough a standard statement which is released when making lower-value acquisitions: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not comment on our purpose or plans,” the company said.
Metaio was the result of a project at Volkswagen and entered the market in 2003, according to TechCrunch. There were signs that a change was ongoing at the company only last month when it decided to cancel its user conference in San Francisco.
Metaio is serving over 140,000 developers who have released 50,000 apps after benefiting from its technology. Some of the most important clients that have released apps using its augmented reality software include Audi, Ikea, Mitsubishi and Lego. Ikea used Mateio to use augmented reality to unite its catalogue app to its print catalogue.
As it is usually the case with many small companies that Apple buys, the firm’s web page is now offline and the company is not negotiating with other new customers. Metaio has also published a statement on its LinkedIn page in which explains that its subscriptions and products are no longer available for purchase.
Apple said it is also working on a project to offer an augmented reality perspective called Browser Around Me to all its maps for local listings, according to 9to5Mac. iPhone users will then be able to point their mobile gadget to a cafe, for example, and the Maps application would show a virtual view of its menu. The new scheme is very similar to Nokia’s previous efforts to bring augmented reality to Here maps.
Apple has also teamed-up with a virtual-reality headset company designed to fit an iPod or iPhone which like Oculus Rift will envelope the user’s vision.
The Cupertino-based company and its move on augmented reality comes in a time when Google seeks to enforce support among developers which are using its Project Tango tablet, targeting to create the next generation of 3D applications for indoor navigation, mapping and gaming.
Image Source: Metaio