Monday, May 16, 2022

Apple’s latest acquisition points to future augmented reality smart glasses

Apple has bought Akonia Holographics, a company that specialises in the kind of “waveguide” displays used in augmented reality glasses.

Big companies file patents and buy small companies. And it doesn’t mean those filings and purchases will guide the future of the company.

But they might, and that’s why Apple’s purchase of Akonia Holographics is fun to think about.

The company formed in 2012 with the aim of developing holographic storage solutions, before pivoting to the kind of waveguide lens displays used in smart glasses and AR headsets. It owns a reported 200 related patents, the most valuable part for a company like Apple.

In a 2016 interview with VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi, Akonia Holographics CEO Ken Anderson said the displays could be used to “overlay something like a green arrow for navigation or a Pikachu for a game.”

Yep, that sounds like the AR we know.

The company also suggested it would be ready for production in 2018, which ties-in with this acquisition rather well.

Earlier this month TF International Securities Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted Apple will launch AR glasses in 2020.

We don’t know how much Apple paid for Akonia Holographics. However, the company has reportedly confirmed the acquisition.

This is not the first of Apple’s AR-related buy-outs, though. In 2017 it acquired both SensoMotoric Instruments and Vrvana, which made an AR/VR helmet that used cameras to relay the outside world to the wearer.


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