Apple bought the company Vrvana, which produces Totem headset with augmented reality. They paid the company $30 million. The purchase took place this summer.
So far Apple has not confirmed the purchase of Vrvana and did not comment on the situation.
Vrvana never gave customers their new Totem headset with augmented virtual reality. However, this company has worked with companies such as Audi, Valve, Tesla, and others. It was established in 2005 and its modest budget of less than $ 2 million. Most employees now work Vrvana the Apple offices in California.
Totem headsets are especially impressive because they possess unique features. Among them is the ability to display 1440p in reality on OLED-display inside the helmet. Also, it has infrared sensors that track the movement of the user’s hands.
This is important considering Apple’s focus — both on its own and in partnership with other IT providers like Cisco, SAP, and IBM — to court different enterprise verticals. In August 2017, Apple CEO Tim Cook singled out enterprise as one of the key focus for its AR ambitions, and in its last earnings, the company has reported double-digit growth in the area. Apple last broke out its enterprise sales in 2015, when Cook described it as a $25 billion business.
But it scaling remains one of the hardest things for startups — especially hardware startups — to do, and this is even more, the case for startups working in emerging technologies that have yet to break into the mainstream.
Vrvana founded in 2005, had not disclosed its funding. A source tells share with us that the company raised less than $2 million, a modest figure in the world of hardware. Investors according to PitchBook included Real Ventures (whose partner Jean-Sebastian Cournoyer is also involved with Element.ai, an ambitious AI startup and incubator in Montreal), the Canadian Technology Accelerator, and angel Richard Adler, who is also active in other VR startups.
Up to now, Apple has been fairly critical of the state of VR and AR hardware in the market today, and it has downplayed its hand in the game.
“Today I can tell you the technology itself doesn’t exist to do that in a quality way. The display technology required, as well as putting enough stuff around your face – there are huge challenges with that,” Cook told The Independent in answer to a question about whether it was building a headset. “The field of view, the quality of the display itself, it’s not there yet…We don’t give a rat’s about being. First, we want to be the best, and give people a great experience. But now anything you would see on the market anytime soon would not be something any of us would be satisfied with. Nor do I think the vast majority of people would be satisfied.”
That’s not to say that Apple has not been enthusiastic about the augmented reality space. But to date, this interest has primarily manifested itself through software — specifically the company’s iOS-based ARKit SDK — and the increasingly sophisticated camera arrays on the iPhone rather than through a dedicated device, although there have been plenty of Apple patents that also potentially point to one.
In recent years, Apple has been paying much attention to the field of augmented reality and wanted to release their helmets in 2020. The Company may use Vrvana-technology, which she used in her headset. This is not the first company engaged in virtual and augmented reality, which bought Apple. Previously, it has acquired the business Faceshift, Flyby Media, and Metaio.