Apple has reportedly acquired a Montreal-based augmented reality company, Vrvana, which is best known for creating the Totem mixed reality headset.
According to Techcrunch, which confirmed the story with multiple sources, Apple acquired Vrvana for around $30 million. Apple would neither confirm nor deny the deal, but "a number" of the Canadian startup's employees are now working for Apple, and its social and news channels have been quiet since August this year.
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Vrvana was focusing on enterprise clients with its Totem headset, a mixed reality device with both inside-out and hand tracking technology that CEO Bertrand Nepveu told Tom's Hardware was too expensive to produce to reach a consumer-friendly price-point - Apple's scale may well change that, however.
Apple is already in the market for mobile AR, having launched its ARKit toolset earlier this year. However, this deal is among the clearest signs so far of Apple's thinking around a head-mounted device, which a Bloomberg report recently suggested would launch in 2020.
Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, has publicly stated that the technology for a "quality" market-ready AR headset doesn't exist at this point in time. Cook admitted that Apple doesn't "give a rat's about being first" in AR, and that it would wait for tech that could produce an experience that would satisfy, "the majority of people."