UPDATED 21:01 EDT / NOVEMBER 21 2017


Report: Apple has acquired mixed-reality headset developer Vrvana for $30M

In a sign of what Apple Inc. might have in mind for virtual reality, the iPhone maker has acquired Canadian VR company Vrvana Inc. for $30 million, according to a report from TechCrunch.

Apple has neither confirmed nor denied the deal, but sources confirmed it to TechCrunch. Founded in 2005, Vrvana is developing a mixed reality headset called “Totem” that is claimed to be able to overlay full, colorized digital images over the real-world to create a “seamless” 3D augmented reality environment — a step more advanced than Microsoft Corp.’s HoloLens platform.

As the company explains, “Totem’s ability to produce truly opaque blacks and seamlessly blend the real world with the virtual enables the creation of unique mixed reality experiences so credible that your customers will actually believe that they are in the action.”

In addition to the in-depth augmented reality technology, the headset is also claimed to have advanced hand tracking and inside-out positional tracking that empowers users “to manipulate virtual objects with their hands wherever they please.”

Apple was reported to be taking an interest in virtual and augmented reality as long ago as 2014 before the company started making announcements. It promised mixed-reality support in its hardware-accelerated graphics applications programming interface Metal in June. The company was first claimed to be considering development of a dedicated AR headset in November 2016, and a report in March this year claimed it had started down the path.

While providing AR support in iPhone’s through ARKit, the company Steve Jobs built has never publicly revealed its plans to build a dedicated headset. But if it has indeed acquired Vrvana, it owns a company whose sole product was exactly that.

There’s no record of Vrvana having ever raised venture capital funding, but the company did raise $350,000 in a crowdfunding campaign in 2014.

Photo: Vrvana

Since you’re here …

Show your support for our mission with our one-click subscription to our YouTube channel (below). The more subscribers we have, the more YouTube will suggest relevant enterprise and emerging technology content to you. Thanks!

Support our mission:    >>>>>>  SUBSCRIBE NOW >>>>>>  to our YouTube channel.

… We’d also like to tell you about our mission and how you can help us fulfill it. SiliconANGLE Media Inc.’s business model is based on the intrinsic value of the content, not advertising. Unlike many online publications, we don’t have a paywall or run banner advertising, because we want to keep our journalism open, without influence or the need to chase traffic.The journalism, reporting and commentary on SiliconANGLE — along with live, unscripted video from our Silicon Valley studio and globe-trotting video teams at theCUBE — take a lot of hard work, time and money. Keeping the quality high requires the support of sponsors who are aligned with our vision of ad-free journalism content.

If you like the reporting, video interviews and other ad-free content here, please take a moment to check out a sample of the video content supported by our sponsors, tweet your support, and keep coming back to SiliconANGLE.