It’s not like Apple to take risks on immature technologies like VR or AR hardware, no matter the perceived potential of a standalone pair of smart glasses or the prospect of paving the way for the industry’s “next big thing” rather than constantly following trends.
When it comes to augmented reality, the introduction of ARKit with iOS 11 and TrueDepth-enabled Animoji gimmicks are clearly just a timid beginning towards something truly game-changing planned for a gradual evolution over the next few years.
In typical Apple fashion, ambitious and innovative startups are taken over to help with the eventual goal, the latest of which is reportedly called Vrvana. Based in Montreal, Canada, the company was actually founded more than a decade ago, developing a crazy promising “full-featured 3D VR headset” a while back.
Unfortunately, the enterprise-first Totem never could see daylight, raising at one point a little over $180,000 from 472 Kickstarter backers before the crowdfunded campaign was canceled without notice.
Still, the idea and the technology behind the mixed reality Totem were apparently enough to convince Apple to spend around $30 million on Vrvana’s acquisition a few months ago. Neither party explicitly confirmed the deal, but the iPhone X makers rarely go on record to substantiate its frequent annexations of small companies specialized in devices and software brimming with growth potential.