Apple Purchased Akonia Holographics, a Company That Makes Lenses for AR Glasses

Apple has purchased a startup that makes lenses for augmented reality glasses, reports Reuters. The acquisition lends further evidence to rumors suggesting Apple is developing an augmented reality headset.

Akonia Holographics, the startup that Apple bought, advertises the "world's first commercially available volume holographic reflective and waveguide optics for transparent display elements in smart glasses."

The displays that it makes are said to use the company's HoloMirror technology for "ultra-clear, full-color performance" to enable the "thinnest, lightest head worn displays in the world."

Apple confirmed the purchase to Reuters with the statement that it uses when it makes an acquisition: "Apple buys smaller companies from time to time, and we generally don't discuss our purpose or plans."

Akonia Holographics was founded in 2012 by holography scientists who focused on holographic data storage before moving on to develop displays for augmented reality glasses, according to the company's website.

It's not clear when exactly Apple purchased Akonia Holographics, but sources that spoke to Reuters suggested the company had become "very quiet" over the last six months, indicating the acquisition may have been made in the first half of 2018.

Multiple rumors have suggested Apple has a research unit of hundreds of employees working on AR and VR and exploring the ways the emerging technologies could be used in future Apple products.

Apple is said to be exploring several prototypes, including a powerful AR/VR headset with an 8K display for each eye and a set of augmented reality smart glasses with a dedicated display, a built-in processor, and an "rOS" or reality operating system. Rumors indicate that Apple's first AR or VR product could come out in 2019 or 2020.

Apple's purchase of Akonia Holographics is its second recent AR/VR related acquisition. In November 2017, Apple purchased Vrvana, a company that developed a mixed reality headset called Totem.

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Top Rated Comments

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18 months ago
Only advantage of being old? The initial models of AR glasses are going to look wack, but elder-me won't care. Mixed reality headgear, cargo shorts, Tom Jones Vegas tour tee-shirt, knee high black socks, Birkenstocks, and fanny pack? Hell yeah! Now get off my (virtual) lawn!
Rating: 15 Votes
18 months ago
AR will be huge. Imagine watching tennis or golf and stats or overlays are shown. Or technicians getting dynamic schematics based on what they are working on. Or in the medical field. The application of a seamless AR wearable is almost endless besides as a fashion accessory. Apple can make this a utility application/device.

Based on Apple's R&D spending, there shouldn't be a reason why they couldn't be first and do it well. This would easily add $500B to their market cap.
Rating: 9 Votes
18 months ago

AR will be huge. Imagine watching tennis or golf and stats or overlays are shown.

Imagine watching a sport that doesn't require AR and overlays to make it interesting.
Rating: 8 Votes
18 months ago
AR -- the quadraphonics of the 21st Century. The technology will be adopted by a tiny group of true believers, cause endless industry and consumer debates resulting in multiple "standards", and in the end it will be forgotten.
Rating: 4 Votes
18 months ago
AR is the future and Apple is going to own this market too.
Rating: 4 Votes
18 months ago

Zero innovation. We have the money. Hell lets just buy it instead. The signature of modern Apple. Sad.

McFly. Apple much? Smart and timely acquisitions are the name of the game. Heck, many startups position themselves for exactly that path. It’s not sad, it’s happy.
Rating: 4 Votes
18 months ago
iGlass confirmed.
Rating: 4 Votes
18 months ago

Such a personal style choice. It will be hard to find what, maybe 3 different designs that will satisfy everyone.

Personally the only style of (Sun)glasses I wear or would wear, gotta be square frames and thick arms like -

Make those in space grey or black with clear lenses and I’m sold.

However the previous MCK rumor noted P3 style like -

No way.

You have a point. I would never wear the sunglasses you show while I use the black P3 style glasses every day.
Rating: 3 Votes
18 months ago

Good AR needs good AI. Siri is not so good.

Where do you get that logic?

1) There is no good AR now, particularly mass market
2) AR doesn’t necessarily need your definition of AI
3) Siri and/or Apple can take a huge step in AI before release.
4) There is no good AI now either...even Google sucks beyond mundane tasks
Rating: 3 Votes
18 months ago

Hololens viewport is laughably tiny. Leap ain’t much better. It’s going to be years still. Oh and Google Glass? Haaaaaaaa.

I think we are DECADES away, especially for mass adoption. Same thing with driverless cars, they will come out, but the majority of countries/cities/streets won’t be “compatible enough” to operate such cars.

I think in both case scenarios we are away 30-50 years into the future and maybe more...
Rating: 2 Votes

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