Apple Acquires Augmented Reality Firm Metaio

metaio ar ferrariApple has bought German AR company Metaio, whose technology has been used by brands including Macys, BMW and IKEA, leading to speculation that the tech giant may be considering a push into the world of augmented reality.

Google has already tested the AR waters with Glass, and Microsoft has recently revealed its Hololens solution that looks to be the next step forward in AR user interfaces. Meanwhile, Apple, often the pioneer in new technology, has yet to show any solid interest in AR.

Earlier this year, Apple did apply for a patent for a Cardboard-style AR headset that would use an inserted iPhone to create visuals, but nothing has been reported of the project since. However, the company may be biding its time in a similar fashion to its release of the Apple Watch, which was carefully timed to take advantage of the growing wearables market.

Metaios previous products and services have generally focused on providing useful information in a HUD-style display, although it has also employed its technology for marketing purposes, like an AR tour for Ferrari, and tourism, with an AR experience focused on the Berlin Wall.

Apple has neither confirmed nor denied its acquisition of Metaio, but the companys website now announces that email support for customers will be terminated at the end of June, and products and subscriptions are no longer available for purchase.