Apple Acquires Akonia Holographics, Which Makes Lenses for AR Glasses

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Is Apple going to build a standalone augmented reality headset? The rumor mill has been leaning towards a vocal “yes” for quite some time, and the latest acquisition will certainly not help squash those rumors.

Reuters is reporting on Wednesday that Apple has officially acquired a company by the name of Akonia Holographics. According to the company itself, which is a startup, they offer the “world’s first commercially available volume holographic reflective and waveguide optics for transparent display elements in smart glasses”. The lenses use what is called “HoloMirror”, the company’s self-built technology, which offers “ultra-clear” and “full-color” performance.

It is not known at this time when, exactly, Apple actually finalized the acquisition. The original report indicates that sources believe the purchase happened sometime in the last six months. Those same sources say the company went “quiet” six months ago, which could indicate that’s when Apple bought it up.

Apple did indeed confirm the purchase of Akonia Holographics, weighing in with its standard comment on the matter to the publication:

“Apple buys smaller companies from time to time, and we generally don’t discuss our purpose or plans.”

Apple’s rumored AR glasses have been one of the major tentpole discussion for the company’s future for quite some time. It is certainly not secret that the company’s CEO, Tim Cook, believes augmented reality is a major technological breakthrough, and Apple will find a way to make an impact on the market at some point. Of course, iOS supports ARKit, which is Apple’s own AR platform.

As far as the rumors are concerned, we’ve heard that the company has met with AR manufacturers as far back as January of this year, and in April we heard that the upcoming headset would feature a pair of 8K displays. In November, a report cropped up that stated Apple’s suppliers were expecting the AR glasses to launch “no later than 2019“. But, most recently an analyst weighed in and said Apple’s AR headset would arrive sometime in 2020.

So, right around the corner.

Our Take

The news that Apple bought a company that creates lenses for AR glasses is not shocking on its own, and almost seems obvious considering how often we hear about the company’s rumored efforts to build its own AR headset. Still, for those who are excited to see what Apple does in this space with dedicated hardware, it’s something to look forward to, for sure.

[via Reuters]