Apple's latest acquisition makes an AR headset look more likely than ever

VRvana's Totem is now tethered, but I assume Apple will solve this issue over the next few years.

The Totem's claim to fame was that it was both an AR and VR headset. Last year Toms Hardware was at the Immersed trade show in Monaco and stated: "The Vrvana Totem mixed reality HMD is the most impressive thing I saw at the show". The report says Apple has been working on augmented reality headset to ship in 2020. Two sources familiar with the deal said Apple paid around United States dollars 30 million for the company.

Apple has not confirmed the acquisition, but has not denied it either. Currently, Vrvana's website is still live, but the company has "gone dark" on social media since August, indicating that the deal went through quite recently. Several of the start-up's employees are already working in Apple's California offices. The ARKit development software has been the only public offering the company has released, back in June, which has seen widespread adoption by many studios looking to experiment in the field. It is likely that Apple will take advantage of Vrvana's expertise to create a augmented reality glasses on its own, under the supervision of the company's design head Jony Ive.

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The Totem holds a number of advantages over these systems, most notably in that it is able to overlay fully opaque, true-color animations on top of the real world rather than the ghost-like projections of other headsets which critically can not display the color black.

In a report by TechCrunch, the site states that Apple has acquired Vrvana in a $30 million Dollars deal, although neither company has confirmed the sale, with the site simple citing sources close to the deal. The device can also transition from AR to VR seamlessly and has 360-degree positional and hand-tracking capabilities. Hand tracking is one of the technologies that Apple's PrimeSense team in Israel has brought to Apple.

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  • Douglas Reid