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Apple working on AR? Why else hire a Microsoft Hololens engineer?

For tech enthusiasts, speculation about what companies might be working on behind the scenes is some of the most fun that can be had, so you can imagine that with news that Apple has hired an ex-Microsoft engineer, Nick Thompson, who worked on the augmented reality Hololens headset, people are rather excited. Does this mean Apple is working on its own augmented reality hardware, or perhaps a way for phones and tablets to deliver such an experience?

It’s worth bearing in mind that the man who has jumped ship to join the fruity firm is not an inventor of Hololens, or someone focused on the visual side of things, but is rather an audio hardware engineer. He also worked on audio products for Apple almost a decade ago, where he helped develop for the Mac and Apple TV lines.

Related: Chop down mountains with the edge of your hand in this augmented-reality sandbox

Thompson would only be a small cog in the machine of any Apple augmented reality projects that are ongoing, but there is other evidence to suggest that the firm does have something in the works. As 9to5Mac points out, earlier this year Apple acquired augmented reality firm Metaio and it has previously hinted at working on an augmented reality feature for its maps service, which would make navigation easier.

Apple has also previously posted job listings for people who have experience working on augmented and virtual reality projects, though the specifics of what they would be developing at the Cupertino company have remained vague since.

So in reality, we have little idea what Apple could be working on, but that’s quite typical for new product lines from Apple. Those who have expected new versions of existing lineups have consistently been surprised over the years with the firm’s new avenues of development, and so anything augmented that does appear may be just as surprising.