Apple reportedly acquires AR startup Vrvana

The Montreal-based startup produced the Totem AR/VR headset, which never shipped.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

Apple has acquired the Montreal-based startup Vrvana, according to TechCrunch, a 12-year-old company that could help Apple produce hardware for augmented reality and virtual reality experiences.

The deal was reportedly for around $30 million. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Vrvana makes the Totem headset, an AR/VR device that received positive reviews but has yet to be released.

In recent months, Apple has made a clear pivot toward AR. Earlier this year, the company touted the iPhone 8 as the first smartphone natively designed for augmented reality. The latest iPhones, combined with Apple's ARKit SDK, should help push AR apps and use cases further, but dedicated hardware would accelerate that process.

Meanwhile, CEO Tim Cook has had quite a bit to say about the state of AR. Back in August, he said AR has "broad mainstream applicability across education, entertainment interactive gaming, enterprise, and categories we probably haven't even thought of."

Yet earlier this month during Apple's fourth quarter earnings conference call, Cook was critical of existing AP applications. "I view AR as profound," he said. "Not today, not the app that you'll see on the App Store today, but what it will be, what it can be."

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