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Apple acquires VR startup Spaces: Report

Apple has already invested in ARKit and new hardware-based solutions like LiDAR scanner. The latest acquisition is likely to help Apple deliver the long-awaited AR-VR headset. 

Spaces debuted as a location-based VR startup Spaces debuted as a location-based VR startup
Spaces debuted as a location-based VR startup ( Raghav Loharuka/Twitter)

Apple has made giant strides in the Augmented Reality space over the years. The same cannot be said for Virtual Reality, a rare technology category where Apple is non-existent. The company may be looking to change this very soon with its latest acquisition of Spaces, a VR startup.

Spaces was carved out of DreamWorks Animation in early 2016. The startup offered a variety of VR-based services for broadcast media and enterprises. The company recently launched videoconferencing-based solutions.

“Spaces provides a unique and ground-breaking service: transportation to new realities. Our cutting edge technology ensures your safe passage into worlds beyond imagining, full of intrigue, excitement, and fun,” says the company on its website.

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According to a Proton report, Spaces was hit hard by the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The startup had to shut down its physical VR centres. It also let go off several staffers due to the pandemic. The company also took a loan to keep going.

ALSO READ: Apple’s upcoming AR headset to have semi-transparent lenses

Last week, Spaces announced it was shutting down its existing services. On its website, the startup said it was headed in a new direction.

"Thank you to our users and partners who participated in our awesome VR video conferencing product and the many people who enjoyed our VR location-based entertainment attractions found at theme parks, theaters, and more," it said on its website.

Apple has also confirmed the acquisition but without divulging its plans.

"Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans," a company spokesperson told Protocol.

For Apple, the acquisition could further help ramp up its elusive AR-VR headset project. The company has long been rumoured to double down in the AR and VR space in 2021. For AR, it has already launched ARKit and well-integrated within the iOS ecosystem. It is likely to leverage the LiDAR sensors on its hardware to offer more AR content to users. As far as VR goes, Apple will have to compete with Facebook-owned Oculus which offers a variety of hardware as well as a rich content ecosystem.

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