Apple (AAPL) announced the purchase of small start-up Flyby Media to explore opportunities in the world of augmented reality. As the virtual reality industry expands, Apple sets out to become a player in the field.
Apple Buys Small Start-Up – Flyby Media
Until now the fields of augmented and virtual realities have primarily belonged to Microsoft (MSFT), Google (GOOG), and Facebook (FB). It appears that Apple has also had a long-time interest in these areas and recently purchased the small start-up Flyby Media. It has also been reported that Apple also hired Doug Bowman, who managed the Center for Human-Computer Interaction at Virginia Tech. Rumors are that the company is assembling a secret team of researchers who are specialists in the topics of immersion in virtual environments. Working on a headset, the goal is to compete with the likes of Facebook Inc.’s Occulus Rift.
Augmented vs Virtual Reality
Augmented reality – virtual reality, what’s the difference? Both are altered versions of reality, however there are real differences between the two. In a virtual reality setting the user is transported into another realm or world visually, and the uses for this type of technology are endless. However, in an augmented reality, eyewear overlays digital images onto the existing world around the wearer. In other words, augmented reality can make images appear lifelike in the real world.
While it has been reported that Apple has been building headset prototypes for months, the company’s direction in altered realities remains unclear. According to a response to a question from an analyst, chief executive Tim Cook remained secretive with his response.
“I don’t think it’s a niche,” Cook said. “I think it is really cool and has some interesting applications.”
We can speculate as to Apple’s intentions with some knowledge of what Flyby Media delivers to the table. According to Crunchbase, Flyby Media develops technology that “reads” or scans objects in our physical world. Note this mobile technology, or mobile augmented reality technology, would put Apple in front of the playing field. But speculation as to the direction Apple is taking is indeed all that it is. As a reminder, an Apple spokesman, who confirmed the deal stated, “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”