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Apple Inc. is set for the virtual reality race. The VR tech market category is starting to make people excited. Oculus Rift is coming with its product early next year, Samsung and Microsoft already have Gear VR and HoloLens, while Google is introducing “Project Jump” in the recently concluded I/O 2015. Apple Inc. announced it bought Metaio, a company that deals with augmented reality.
AR is a software which joins graphics and texts on real-life objects in a video. It differs from VR, as the latter substitutes real-world views with simulated ones. AR makes it possible for navigational directions, historic videos, sketches, 3D images or computers to allow viewers to have the feeling of stepping into an artificial world and having an interactive experience.
Apple Inc. is set for the virtual reality race with the recent acquisition but CEO Tim Cook does not want the public to know what they plan to do with the companies they are acquiring, yet it will not stop public speculations. Apple is said to buy smaller tech firms from time to time, “but do not generally discuss” its purpose.
Google has stepped into the augmented and virtual reality world with its Google Glass, but the product has not made a buzz in the tech world. However, the Android owner is moving on with Cardboard, Project Jump and others.
German startup Metaio, is a well-established firm which specialties are AR software and computer vision solutions. It puts elements which are computer-generated with the physical world together into films. It worked on a technology that lets a thermal camera pick whatever the user touches, and tracks it as it moves. The AR firm showed up in 2003 as a Volkswagen side project.
Metaio owns Metaio Creator, an AR tool that lets users make reality scenarios, and amplify them quickly. Its software has been used by some firms to create interactive experiences for their products.
For instance, a Ferrari car AR showroom gives prospects a virtual tour of the car for sale. Berlin likewise used the Metaio software in its historical footage, so travelers get insights of what the places that they visit, looked like in the past, when the Berlin Wall existed. Metaio’s software is also used in retail, automotive and industrial worlds, such as making visual guides to repair complex equipment. IKEA retailer used it in their manuals.
Metaio began showing it is troubled this month, when it canceled an already scheduled user conference set in June. It deactivated its account in Twitter this week, and its website says it no longer sells products and subscriptions. Its tech support email is set to stop on June 30. As of May 22, it released software development kits to aid developers in easily making apps with VR.
Tech website TechCrunch discovered Thursday a May 22-dated document, which confirms shares transfer of Metaio to Apple Inc. Metaio is not selling anything anymore, and its workers are now under Apple. Rumors have it that ways to overlay data on the actual world with iPhone apps are now in the works at Cupertino.
As to the price, no information is available. Another thing is that Apple Inc. is said to announce a new Apple Maps at WWDC 2015 on June 8 to 12, which may show data atop a picture of a street or a building. As to how useful and where this type of tech applies is still unclear, but Apple’s design and innovation team is surely busy tinkering for new innovations.
Apple Inc. is setting itself for the virtual reality race with Metaio acquisition. The first VR app will likely be on Apple’s iPhone, and the latter will disseminate the virtual reality experience worldwide.
By Judith Aparri
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Photo courtesy of Rowan Peter’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License