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Apple Snaps Up Startup For Augmented Reality Push

Apple has acquired Akonia Holographics, which makes lenses that can be used in augmented reality headsets.

In another signal that Apple may be developing an augmented reality headset, the company has acquired Akonia Holographics, a startup with technology for generating holographic AR images on a headworn display.

Apple confirmed the acquisition to Reuters and other outlets. In a response to CRN’ s request for comment, the Cupertino, Calif., company said that it “buys smaller companies from time to time and we generally don't discuss our purpose or plans"

[Related: Apple CEO Tim Cook On The iPhone X Price Tag, Augmented Reality And Concerns About Face ID]

Founded in 2012, Longmont, Colo.-based Akonia says it holds more than 200 patents on holographic technologies. Akonia is "supporting the burgeoning augmented reality (AR) headset market," the company said, with lenses for displaying "vibrant, full-color, wide field-of-view images."

Akonia's HoloMirror technology "will enable headsets that are thin, transparent and lightweight," the company said.

The acquisition follows a CNET report in April that Apple is working to develop a headset that will be able to offer virtual reality as well as AR.

The headset would potentially include an 8K display for each eye, and would not require a smartphone or computer to power it, according to the report. The headset could be released as soon as 2020, the report said.

Michael Goldstein, president and CEO of LAN Infotech, an Apple partner based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., previously told CRN that the headset plans are a "great competitive idea" for Apple. "Samsung has their [VR] product integrated directly for Galaxy devices," Goldstein said, but there's "no Apple product available today." The headset would create "an even playing field as the technology moves more mainstream," he said.

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