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Apple dives deeper into virtual reality with purchase of broadcaster NextVR

Apple confirmed its purchase of events broadcaster NextVR, an acquisition that further proves the company’s plans to enter the virtual reality space.

NextVR, based in California, said on its website that the company is “heading in a new direction,” without providing further details. The startup broadcasted and produced live and recorded events in virtual reality, including sports competitions and concerts, and had forged partnerships with the likes of Live Nation, WWE, the NBA, and the NFL.

A spokesperson for Apple, in statements to various media outlets, said that the company acquires smaller technology companies from time to time, and that it generally does not reveal its purpose of plans for the purchases. The terms of Apple’s acquisition of NextVR were not disclosed, but according to an April report from 9to5Mac, the acquisition was expected to be valued at about $100 million.

NextVR’s platform broadcasts events to various VR headsets from HTC, Lenovo, Microsoft, Oculus, and PlayStation. However, in addition to the platform, Apple is also acquiring more than 40 patents for technology that includes upscaling high-quality video streams to upload into VR headsets.

The purchase of NextVR follows Apple’s 2020 acquisitions of Irish voice technology startup Voysis and popular weather app Dark Sky.

Apple’s rumored AR headset

Apple’s efforts on VR and its related augmented reality technology have previously been reported. The iPad Pro 2020, for example, is equipped with a LiDAR sensor that currently provides no benefits, but promises augmented reality features in the future.

There are also rumors that the company has a research facility in California that is focused on developing the long-rumored AR headset. A leaked build of iOS 14 also reportedly contains an image of what appears to be a controller for the headset, which looks very similar to the controller for the HTC Vive Focus.

There has been no official announcement yet on Apple’s AR headset, leaving people guessing when the product will finally be ready to ship out. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, however, claimed that the device was supposed to be released this year, but Apple pushed back its timeline, with the AR headset now expected to roll out in 2022.

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