Apple acquires Metaio with a view to augmented reality

The German company has supplied the visual interface technology to retailers and others

Metaio makes augmented-reality software that lets users see products as they would appear in the space in front of them.

Metaio makes augmented-reality software that lets users see products as they would appear in the space in front of them.

Apple has taken a big step into augmented reality by acquiring Metaio, a German company whose technology has been used by Macy's, BMW and furniture retailer, Ikea.

Augmented reality systems add information to a user's view of the world to help them do things like work, shop or drive. Whereas virtual reality makes it look like you're in a different place, AR allows you to be more informed about your actual surroundings.

BMW has demonstrated glasses that display navigation data and other travel information, and link up with cameras on the outside of a car, to let a driver see "through" the vehicle for tasks like parking. A startup called Augment offers software for iOS and Android that lets users visualize 3D renderings within the space in front of them, for jobs like designing store displays.

AR might prove to be the next step in user interfaces, an area where Apple has often led the way. Some of its biggest rivals have already started to explore the area. Google Glass, now being redesigned for consumers but still available for business, gave AR a high profile and suffered the consequences in the form of the initial public reaction. Microsoft has a lot riding on its HoloLens concept, which has no shipping date yet but is tied into the company's next OS, Windows 10.

Asked about media reports of the Metaio acquisition, Apple didn't confirm or deny it. "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans," the company said in an email message.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Mergers and acquisitionsbusiness issuesAppleMetaio

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?