Apple Acquires Akonia Holographics, Maker of Holographic Lenses

Reuters reports Apple has made an acquisition which aims to support its ambitions to release an augmented reality product:

Apple confirmed it acquired Longmont, Colorado-based Akonia Holographics. “Apple buys smaller companies from time to time, and we generally don’t discuss our purpose or plans,” the iPhone maker said in a statement.

Akonia could not immediately be reached for comment. The company was founded in 2012 by a group of holography scientists and had originally focused on holographic data storage before shifting its efforts to creating displays for augmented reality glasses, according to its website.

Akonia holographics apple

According to Akonia, their technology enables “thin, transparent smart glass lenses that display vibrant, full-color, wide field-of-view images.” The company has over 200 patents involving holographic systems and materials.

Here’s how the Akonia Holographics website describes themselves:

Akonia Holographics LLC was founded in August of 2012 to develop advanced optical technologies based on holography. After achieving revolutionary advances in holographic data storage, we are now supporting the burgeoning Augmented Reality (AR) headset market. Our HoloMirror technology suite employs our proprietary volume holographic media and know-how to uniquely enable thin, transparent smart glass lenses that display vibrant, full-color, wide field-of-view images.

While the price and timing of Apple’s acquisition are unclear, one unnamed executive in the AR industry told Reuters Akonia became “very quiet” in the past six months, suggesting a deal could have happened sometime in early 2018.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has long favoured AR technology; it’s unclear when Apple would release an AR headset or glasses, but Bloomberg claimed last year such a product may ship as soon as 2020. Other rumours have claimed such a product may come with dual-8K displays.