Update: NextVR has replaced its website with a landing page announcing a ‘new direction’ without its existing service.
Update 2x: Apple has confirmed the acquisition to Bloomberg.
It’s no secret that Apple has ambitious plans for augmented reality and a future AR-focused headset. Apple is practically building the platform for its future headset out in the open with ARKit. What’s new is that Apple is believed to be in the process of acquiring a California-based virtual reality company called NextVR, 9to5Mac has learned.
[Update 5/14/2020: NextVR.com now only displays this message: “NextVR is Heading in a New Direction. Thank you to our partners and fans around the world for the role you played in building this awesome platform for sports, music and entertainment experiences in Virtual Reality.”]
NextVR, which is located in Orange County, California, has a decade of experience marrying virtual reality with sports and entertainment. The company currently provides VR experiences for viewing live events with headsets from PlayStation, Oculus, HTC, Microsoft, Lenovo headsets.
The icing on the cake may not be expertise in virtual reality, however, as NextVR also has holds patented technology that upscales video streams. NextVR uses this technology to support high quality video streams of music and sporting events to VR headsets. NextVR holds over 40 technology patents in total.
The company failed to secure a Series C round of funding in early 2019, however, which resulted in a 40% staff reduction at the time. NextVR’s focus on virtual reality was seen as a risk with the rise of augmented reality technology.
NextVR has partnerships in place with the NBA, Fox Sports, Wimbledon, and other live music and sporting event partners.
The acquisition is expected to be valued around $100 million, and a shell company formed this year that’s believed to be Apple is hiring most of the engineers who develop the product. While the acquisition hasn’t closed yet, the two companies have began informing employees who will need to relocate.
We’ve reached out to Apple and NextVR for comment on the acquisition. We’ll update our coverage if we hear back from either company.
- Apple releases ARKit 3.5 to take advantage of iPad Pro LiDAR Scanner
- Apple developing new augmented reality app for iOS 14, testing Apple Store and Starbucks partnership
- Kuo: New iPad Pro and iPhone SE 2 in early 2020, followed by Apple AR headset collaboration with ‘third-party brands’
Originally published April 4, 2020.
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