Apple bolsters virtual-reality capabilities with NextVR purchase

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NextVR
NextVR is no more, snapped up by Apple.
Photo: NextVR

Apple acquired a startup that provides virtual-reality experiences for watching live events. The purchase of NextVR could lead to Apple building more VR capabilities into its products.

Apple confirmed to Bloomberg it bought the California-based company. And the NextVR website is now only a note stating it’s “Heading in a New Direction.”

There’s no official word on a purchase price, but when unofficial word of this acquisition surfaced in March, the price was in the region of $100 million.

NextVR provided sports in virtual reality

NextVR had a number of technology patents in its portfolio. It worked extensively with leading sports and live entertainment companies, and provided VR experiences for watching live events using VR headsets made by PlayStation, Oculus, HTC, Microsoft and Lenovo.

Apple isn’t talking about plans for its newly acquired expertise. But it’s certainly building something. Buying NextVR plus the 2019 purchase of iKinema, a company which makes virtual reality and motion capture software, makes that obvious.

And Apple openly works on augmented reality, a related technology. Its ARKit offers developers the ability to create  applications for iPhone and iPad that overlay computer-generating images on the real world. These two might come together in 2022 as a pair of Apple Glasses for viewing augmented reality or virtual reality.