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Apple gets serious about augmented reality, poaches HoloLens engineer

by Jacob Kleinman | August 31, 2015August 31, 2015 9:20 am PDT

Apple is one of a just a few tech giants not publicly working on an augmented or virtual reality gadget. Behind the scenes though, Cupertino could be racing to develop its own headset with some help from a former Microsoft engineer.

Nick Thompson joined Apple two months ago, according to his LinkedIn page. Before that he was the HoloLens Audio Hardware Engineering Lead, a role he began in 2012, suggesting he played a key role in developing the AR headset. The move indicates that Cupertino may be getting serious about its own rumored interest in augmented reality as the evidence continues to stack up.

Back in May, Apple bought Metaio, a German company focused on augmented reality. The firm had previously developed a handful of apps, including one for Ferrari, but stopped taking orders after the deal was closed. It’s unclear what Apple plans to do with the technology, though it could certainly help power a new headset.

Earlier reports also suggested the company might be experimenting with AR in an effort to create a product that’s both fashionable and functional. Apple even patented plans for an iPhone-powered headset similar to Google Cardboard in March.

None of this means Apple will dive into the augmented reality market anytime soon, but if upcoming products like Oculus, HTC Vive or HoloLens turn out to be hits, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Cupertino show up with its own headset, too.

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Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...

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