Apple may have just bought an augmented reality startup

Things are getting real for Apple

Apple has reportedly purchased augmented reality startup Metaio, according to leaked legal documents.

For those who haven't heard of Metaio, the company was started back in 2003 as project that branched off of Volkswagen. The startup is a self-described "pioneer in augmented reality and computer vision" and has done work for the likes of Ikea and Ferrari.

When asked by TechCrunch, which obtained the docs, why it bought Metaio, Apple responded with a rather ambiguous response: "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."

Apple's reality

So why is Apple acquiring the small AR company? It's possible the firm is falling in line with other tech giants, like Microsoft, Facebook and Google, and setting itself up for the next big computing development: virtual and augmented reality. Apple has even gone so far as to post job listings for various virtual reality related positions.

The part that Metaio will ultimately play in Apple's VR and AR plans will remain to be seen for some time. In typical Apple fashion, it may let the rest of the field duke it out before stepping in to change the game.

A report from earlier this week said Apple would implement augmented reality features into its Maps application with iOS 9, so perhaps the plan is to have Metaio's technology involved there.

In the meantime, you can learn a bit more about Metaio and the unique work it's done with Ferrari in the video below.

Via The Verge