Apple Acquires Virtual Reality Company NextVR

Apple has acquired California-based virtual reality company NextVR, Apple confirmed to Bloomberg today.


New’s of Apple’s planned NEXTVR acquisition first surfaced in April, but it appears the purchase wasn’t completed until recently. Apple reportedly spent around $100 million to purchase the company.

The NextVR website has disappeared, and there is a message that says the company is “heading in a new direction.” Apple gave Bloomberg its standard acquisition statement: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

NextVR melds virtual reality with sports, music, and entertainment, providing VR experiences for watching live events on VR headsets from PlayStation, HTC, Oculus, Google, Microsoft, and other manufacturers.


Prior to its acquisition by Apple, NextVR had established partnerships with the NBA, Wimbledon, Fox Sports, the WWE and more, plus it holds more than 40 patents that could be of interest to Apple.

Apple has been working on multiple augmented, virtual, and mixed reality headsets over the course of the last several years. Just today, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that Apple’s augmented reality Smart Glasses that are in the works could launch in 2022.

Along with the smart glasses, there have also been rumors indicating Apple is working on some kind of virtual reality headset that would feature an 8K display for each eye and that would be untethered from a smartphone or computer.

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Apple Reportedly Acquiring NextVR for $100 Million

Apple is planning to acquire California-based virtual reality company NextVR in a deal said to be worth $100 million, 9to5Mac reported over the weekend.


NextVR is a company that melds virtual reality with sports, music, and entertainment, offering VR experiences for watching live events on VR headsets from PlayStation, HTC, Oculus, Google, Microsoft, and other manufacturers.

NextVR has established partnerships with the NBA, Wimbledon, Fox Sports, the WWE and more, according to the NextVR website. NextVR also has more than 40 patents, some of which are related to upscaling video streaming that may be of interest to Apple.

The Orange County, California company has been struggling in recent years, failing to secure Series C funding in 2019, leading to a 40 percent staff reduction.


Though Apple has not yet closed the acquisition or confirmed its plans to purchase NextVR, 9to5Mac says that a shell company formed this year that’s believed to be Apple is hiring most of the engineers from NextVR. Employees at NextVR have also reportedly been told that they’ll need to relocate from Southern California to Cupertino.

For the last several years, rumors have indicated that Apple is exploring multiple augmented, virtual, and mixed reality headset options, and has some kind of AR/VR headset project in the works.

A smart glasses concept

Most of the rumors have coalesced around augmented reality “smart glasses” that would work as an iPhone accessory, but there have also been rumors of work on a much more powerful VR headset that would feature an 8K display for each eye and that would be untethered from a computer or a smartphone.

Apple appears to be working on more than one AR/VR project, but it’s difficult to tell as there have undoubtedly been many prototype designs. Current rumors suggest an AR/VR headset could be released as early as 2021.

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Apple Acquires AI Startup Voysis to Improve Siri

Apple has purchased artificial intelligence startup Voysis with the aim of improving Siri, reports Bloomberg. Voysis offers a platform that allows digital voice assistants to better understand natural language.


The company worked to improve voice assistants in online shopping apps, allowing software to better interpret requests from users. The website, which is now defunct, said that the technology used client databases with AI tools that deeply understand the specifics of products, services, and vocabulary to make the user experience “easier, faster and more intuitive.”

The Voysis platform allowed customers to hone in on search requests with simple phrases like “I need a new LED TV” or “Just show me the 4K ones.” Voysis said that shoppers could use voice to find what they’re looking for 3x faster than typing using these kind of requests.

Bloomberg speculates that Apple could use Voysis’ technology to improve ‌Siri‌’s understanding of natural language, or offer the Voysis platform to developers to improve how ‌Siri‌ works with apps.

Apple confirmed the acquisition to Bloomberg with its standard acquisition statement: “[Apple] buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

Apple has acquired multiple AI startups over the course of the last five years, such as Xnor.ai, Turi, VocalIQ, Perceptio, Emotient, and more, to improve ‌Siri‌ and other AI-based offerings.

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