After a week of massive developments and industry bombshells, Apple purchased ANOTHER start-up this week, upping its stake in the future of VR.
After a week of big developments and industry bombshells, including news of an Apple patent for VR headset technology, Protocol announced this week that Apple had purchased VR start-up Spaces. Spaces acted as “a bridge between a VR world and Zoom, Skype, Hangouts and more," integrating 3D avatars into a video conferencing setting.
After various informational requests by media outlets, Apple offered a vague (but standard) response: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” Spaces too offered a statement on developments, with their homepage reading simply that the company is “heading in a new direction” after shutting down its existing services. “Thank you to our users and partners who participated in our awesome VR video conferencing product,” the statement reads, “and the many people who enjoyed our VR location-based entertainment attractions found at theme parks, theatres, and more.”
This development marks Apple’s second major VR purchase this year, after its acquisition of NextVR in May. NextVR offered its clients – which included NBA, NFL, WWE, Fox Sports and HBO – a service which recorded live events and offered them later as VR experiences, before closing down to “head in a new direction.” With Apple offering an identically vague explanation in response to that purchase too, it was expected that NextVR would provide the company with a content engine for their long-anticipated leap into AR and VR.
This development could be big news. Apple CEO Tim Cook has long expressed his enthusiasm for VR and AR, stating "both of these are incredibly interesting." With Apple’s track-record for taking exciting developments in the tech world and translating them into the mainstream, it seems Apple is planning to follow Facebook and Sony in doubling down on virtual reality.