The Strategist

Apple buys holographic display elements manufacturer

08/30/2018 - 15:11

Apple acquired the start-up Akonia Holographics, which develops holographic displays for AR-glasses. Initially, the startup specialized in holographic data storage. However, later the company reoriented to holographic displays for AR glasses.

akonia holographics
akonia holographics
Apple confirmed purchase of the company, but declined to comment further. "Apple sometimes buys small companies, and we usually do not discuss our goals and plans," the firm said. An insider of Reuters said that Akonia was "pretty quiet" for the past six months, implying that the deal could take place in the first half of 2018.

Akonia is based in the US state of Colorado. Its founders worked at Bell Labs, a major research center in the field of telecommunications, electronics and computer systems in the 1990s. They invested "tens of millions of dollars" in research and development and founded the start-up in 2012.

According to the company's website, the startup display technology uses "thin transparent smart glass that displays bright full-color images with a wide field of view."

Akonia describes itself as "the world leader in systems and materials for holography." The company owns more than 200 patents, including a patent for light and cheap lenses, which can be part of the augmented reality glasses, and in 2012 the startup received $ 11.6 million of financing.

Acquisition of Akonia confirms intention of Apple to release its own portable AR device, writes Reuters. In November 2017, Bloomberg sources said that Apple was working on its own AR-headset, which could begin shipping in 2020.

Analysts are sure that the technologies of augmented reality will become a driver of sales of smartphones of the Cupertino company, since competitors do not have the same AR implementation as Apple. With optimistic forecasts on augmented reality, Apple can easily earn more than $ 11 billion in the short term. Analysts of the largest US bank Merril Lynch are confident that this will happen before 2020.

Curiously, experts predict a profit of $ 1 billion only from AR-applications. The remaining money will be received due to the growth in demand for the iPhone. If Apple still provides a headset of augmented reality, revenues can reach $ 11 billion, according to Merril Lynch.

It is obvious that Apple has long been preparing the way for entering the virtual and augmented reality devices market. The head of the company positively spoked about the prospects of augmented reality. So, in 2016, he said that over time, AR systems will become as familiar to people as three meals a day.

Appleā€™s devices have long supported the AR technology through the software complex ARKit. One cannot but recall the numerous patents of Apple, one way or another related to virtual and augmented realities. Therefore, experts say with great confidence that the release of a specialized gadget is only a matter of time.