- Apple bought virtual reality (VR) startup NextVR, which streams immersive entertainment and live events like concerts and sports programming. The iPhone maker confirmed the acquisition, though not the deal price of $100 million reported by 9to5Mac.
- NextVR works with sports leagues like the NBA and media outlets such as Fox Sports to offer programming that people view while wearing a VR headset. NextVR provides content to makers of VR headsets including HTC, Lenovo, Sony and Oculus, which is owned by Facebook.
- NextVR shut down last week, posting a notice on its website that the company is “heading in a new direction.” Apple this year has acquired voice technology startup Voysis and weather forecasting app Dark Sky, Bloomberg News reported.
Apple’s acquisition of NextVR is another sign of the iPhone maker’s plans to develop augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) technologies, which have a variety of marketing applications such as making advertising more immersive and interactive. AR has been the more popular of the two because of its ready availability on smartphones. VR requires specialized headsets and headphones to provide a completely immersive computer-generated experience. Despite interruptions to the supply chain for electronics components, AR/VR headsets are forecast to rebound in the second half of the year and show strong growth for the next few years, per International Data Corp.
Apple, which has a long history of making technology more accessible to consumers, may be able to popularize AR/VR headsets beyond niche markets in education, gaming and other enterprise applications. The company is working on two AR projects, including a headset that’s due for release in 2022, followed by a less cumbersome pair of AR glasses the following year, The Information reported last year. Apple is typically secretive about its product development, leaving analysts to speculate on its plans to start selling an AR/VR headset that might be integrated with NextVR’s technology.