Apple buys virtual reality company NextVR

A participant is wearing a HTC Corp. virtual reality (VR) headset. Cheers at the World Apple Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California, United States, Monday, June 5, 2017.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Apple bought the virtual reality company NextVR, Apple confirmed to CNBC.

The purchase is further evidence of Apple’s plans to enter virtual reality and related augmented reality technologies as a new product category, although the company has not announced any firm plans or new hardware product. , with the exception of AR software for iPhones.

An Apple spokesperson provided the company’s standard statement upon acquisition: “Apple buys small tech companies from time to time, and we usually don’t discuss our goal or plans,” said the spokesperson.

The Newport Beach, California-based startup previously focused on broadcasting and producing live and recorded events in virtual reality, such as sporting events and concerts. The company had an agreement with the NBA to broadcast highlights in virtual reality of the 2019 NBA Finals, for example.

NextVR had raised $ 116 million in funding and had 95 employees in 2019, according to PitchBook data. Many of its investors were affiliated with the entertainment industry, including Peter Guber, co-owner of Golden State Warriors, Comcast Ventures and Time Warner Investments.

NextVR website has been replaced with a landing page: “NextVR is going in a new direction. Thank you to our partners and fans around the world for the role you played in building this great platform for sports, music and music experiences. entertainment in virtual reality. “

Apple CEO Tim Cook briefly discussed his thoughts on augmented and virtual reality in recent years, and the company presented support for virtual reality headsets with Mac computers in 2017.

“I think if you look at AR today you would see that there are consumer applications, there are enterprise applications,” Cook said in January after the company declared its profits. “This is the reason why I am so enthusiastic about it, you rarely have new technology where businesses and consumers see it as the key.”

Apple did not specify prices or conditions for the transaction, but 9to5Mac, an Apple-focused website that announced the news, estimates the transaction at $ 100 million.

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