Around the end of May 2015, Apple acquired Metaio, an augmented reality startup based in Munich, Germany.
Founded in 2003 as an offshoot of a project at Volkswagen, Metaio specialises in AR software development and custom augmented reality applications and has subsidiaries in San Francisco, New York City and Dallas.
Metaio’s site said it stopped taking new customers, and now a legal document shows Apple has bought it. The document confirms a transfer of shares of the startup to Apple on May 21 & 22.
When asked by TechCrunch, Apple responded with its standard reply it gives as confirmation of acquisitions, “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
Below is an example of an app created using Metaio’s technologies for Ferrari:
Another app allows travelers in Berlin to see what the scene they are looking at would have looked like when the Berlin Wall was up.
It’s unclear what Apple’s plans for Metaio are. A recent report pointed to augmented reality making an appearance in Apple’s Maps application in the not-too-distant future, so it is possible that this acquisition will play into that.
Other tech firms are also experimenting with augmented reality and virtual reality, like Google with Glass, Microsoft with HoloLens and Facebook with Oculus. We would expect Metaio’s tech and talent to be put to use in iOS and OS X software in the near term and to explore potential future use cases.
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