Apple has been known to use its size to its advantage. Whether it’s relentlessly filing for patents or purchasing technologies, Apple’s size, resources, and reach allow it to acquire most anything. That’s why it should not be a surprise that Apple has decided to purchase Metaio, a German augmented reality start up with offices in San Francisco, CA.
Notice of Metaio’s purchase came to the surface when TechCrunch uncovered legal document’s of the company’s sale to Apple. The document clearly shows a transfer of shares from Metaio to Apple on May 21st/22nd, solidifying the company’s future within Apple. In typical Apple nature, they only responded to the purchase of Metaio by saying “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” Though there was certainly speculation that something was amiss given that Metaio cancelled its user conference in San Francisco earlier in May.
In fact, Metaio has not released any comments that it was bought out by Apple. However, their site is no longer taking any orders, and email support for their products will end on June 30th of this year. Downloads of your previous purchases will be only be available until December 15th, 2015. Additionally, active cloud subscriptions will be continued until expiration.
Metaio was originally an offshoot project of Volkswagen, and produced innovative products for high profile clients. Thanks to Metaio’s program called Metaio Creator, non-programmers were able to author user experiences. One product that used Metaio Creator was even showcased in Ferrari’s showroom. With the app, potential car buyers could use an iPad to see trim on an actual car model. IKEA was also able to put together a virtual catalog with the help of image recognition software from Metaio. Also, Metaio software was responsible for helping to “recreate” Berlin with the Berlin Wall still intact.
No one currently knows what Apple plans on doing with this new purchase. Some sources speculate that they might use Metaio’s technology towards their virtual reality headset patent placed earlier this year. Others think they may use it in their Apple Maps update.
Whatever they decide to do with Metaio, one thing is for certain: virtual reality is going to be the next big thing.