Apple has reportedly completed its acquisition of German augmented reality firm Metaio. A legal document confirms the full transfer of Metaio shares to the Cupertino company, but it’s currently unclear what it will do with its new technology.
Metaio was founded in 2003 as a project at Volkswagen, and it has since launched a number of augmented reality tools for devices like the iPad. One app, developed for Ferrari, allows customers to see what different trims look like on certain vehicles as if it was parked in front of them.
“The company’s site said it stopped taking new customers, and now a legal document shows Apple has bought it,” TechCrunch reports. “The document confirms a transfer of shares of the startup to Apple on May 21st/22nd.”
When asked for confirmation of its purchase, Apple provided its usual response: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
Interestingly, Metaio’s clients weren’t told about the acquisition, and many of them were said to be “flipping out” when they suddenly discovered the company was no longer doing business. Metaio also cancelled its user conference in San Francisco earlier this month.
The Metaio community consists of around 1,000 customers and 150,000 users worldwide.
What Apple plans to do with Metaio’s technology is a mystery at this point, but it seems likely it will be one day integrated into the company’s own Maps platform. It may also be used for more novel things, like placing a new iMac on your desk before you actually buy it.