Apple just bought Vrvana, a company that specializes in virtual reality and maker of the Totem VR headset. The purchase is Apple’s latest move into the VR space.
Sources speaking with TechCrunch confirmed the purchase saying Apple spent about US$30 million on the deal. Vrvana had been working with companies like Audi, Tesla, and Valve prior to the buyout. Its Totem headset hadn’t yet come to market.
The purchase fits nicely with reports that Apple has a team working on virtual reality and augmented reality gear.
Vrvana’s Totem is different from other VR devices in that it uses cameras to blend what you’d see if you weren’t wearing the headset with VR imagery, making for a much more realistic experience. The downside is that Totem is just as bulky and clunky as every other VR headset that’s already on the market.
Don’t look for Totem to hit store shelves now that Apple owns Vrvana. Instead, Apple will likely blend the technology and engineers into its own AR and VR designs, hopefully making something that looks better and is more comfortable than what’s available today.
Apple is reportedly aiming to bring its VR headset to market in 2020. That headset will have its own processor and built-in display so it won’t rely on user’s smartphones.
Apple definitely won’t be first to market with a VR or AR headset, and that fits perfectly with the company’s modus operandi. Apple typically lets other companies venture into new markets, watches to see what they get right or wrong, and then enters the space with something better. Hopefully Apple’s headset will be smaller, look better, and do more than what’s available today.