Apple is not the first name brought up when discussing virtual reality, but with the acquisition of Metaio, it is clear the company wants to launch a range of hardware and software focused in the VR market.
Metaio was founded in 2003 and has built some of the prime applications and services for virtual reality. It worked with over 100,000 developers and has some prime clients on its portfolio.
The virtual reality extends far beyond headsets, Metaio worked on several iPhone and iPads apps featuring VR experiences. Apple might want to relive these experiences with its own app, to compete with Google’s Cardboard VR.
Apple might also see promise in the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive VR and Project Morpheus, the collection of virtual reality headsets for gaming. Apple has never been big into games, but offering experiences, cinema and other media on top of that could be a route in.
Apple told nobody about the acquisition of Metaio. It only came to light after the company shut its doors and said it had been acquired, although it did not mention the suitor. Apple confirmed the acquisition, saying it acquires small companies a lot of the time without contacting press.
Even though Apple likes to work on projects that bare no relevance to its products on the market today, the virtual reality labs seem to be too big to be just a side project. Apple wants to be a player in the virtual reality market, and hopefully compete with other headsets like Google Glass and Microsoft HoloLens.
It also has plans to enter the electric and self driving car, the Internet TV and even the drone market in the near future as well, meaning the next few years could be huge for Apple’s product portfolio.