Apple quietly snapped up Metaio, a German company specialising in augmented reality

 
Lynsey Barber
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Apple has acquired Metaio (Source: Getty)

Apple has quietly acquired a German company that specialises in augmented reality, it's been revealed, pointing towards a burgeoning area of development for the tech company.

It acquired Metaio, a software developer headquartered in Munich and founded in 2003, in an all-share deal on 21 May, TechCrunch reports.

Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” the company told TechCrunch.

While some of the biggest names in tech, such as Google, Facebook, Sony, Microsoft and Samsung have all launched prototype or first generation virtual reality devices in the nascent space, Apple, never one to follow the crowd, has been more coy in its ambitions in the area of virtual and augmented reality.

Apple is understood to have set up a small team to experiment with the technology earlier this year, according to one tech analyst, and a virtual reality headset using an iPhone was one of Apple's many patent filings, but it has not publicly talked about any plans.

Similar from a development point of view, augmented reality (AR) blends real-life images with computer-generated ones, while virtual reality (VR) is an entirely created experience.

GoPro this week was another tech company eager to jump on the bandwagon, revealing plans for a headset accessory for the action camera so users can film for virtual reality devices.

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