Apple has reportedly snapped up VR firm Spaces

25 Aug 2020301 Views

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Apple has reportedly acquired Spaces, a company set up by DreamWorks Animation veterans to provide VR experiences for theme parks and retail spaces.

On Monday (24 August), Protocol reported that Apple has acquired virtual reality (VR) start-up Spaces.

Neither party revealed details of the deal, though Apple later confirmed the purchase with its stock response to reports about acquisitions, telling the publication: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

The acquisition appears to be consistent with Apple’s bet on VR and augmented reality (AR), which includes the recent acquisitions of Israeli AR and computer vision firm Camerai and VR live-broadcasting start-up NextVR.

Speaking in Dublin earlier this year, Apple boss Tim Cook remarked that AR is set to “pervade our entire lives”.

Spaces

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Spaces is a Santa Monica-based start-up that has designed VR, AR and mixed reality experiences for theme parks, retail spaces and other public locations. It was founded in 2016 by Brad Herman and Shiraz Akmal, who had worked on VR projects at DreamWorks Animation.

A 2016 report from Venture Beat said that the start-up was working with companies such as Microsoft, NBCUniversal, Big Blue Bubble and the Hettema Group, among others.

One of Spaces’ main focus areas was creating technology for theme parks. With the Covid-19 pandemic, business naturally slowed down in this area, prompting Spaces to pivot to video-conferencing technology before the reported Apple deal.

Its website describes the technology as “a bridge between a VR world and Zoom, Skype, Hangouts and more”. Some of the tools available included an online news broadcast platform, VR webinars and a virtual keynote presentation platform.

In the most recent statement on Spaces’ website, the company informs visitors that it is now “heading in a new direction” and thanks users and partners who have interacted with Spaces over the years.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com