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Apple Buys Virtual-Reality Startup NextVR

By Danny Vena – May 15, 2020 at 11:50AM

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The iPhone maker is moving full-speed ahead with AR and VR.

Apple (AAPL -1.51%) confirmed on Thursday that it has acquired virtual-reality (VR) specialist NextVR. The technology start-up created a platform that broadcasts live and recorded events -- including concerts and sports -- to VR headsets.  The move comes just weeks after Apple acquired AI start-up Voysis.

The iPhone maker didn't disclose the terms of the deal, but issued a boilerplate statement confirming the acquisition, saying, "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans." At the same time, NextVR's website announced "NextVR is heading in a new direction."  The deal is reportedly valued at about $100 million. 

A young man in a checkered shirt looking amazed and wearing a virtual reality headset.

Image source: Getty Images.

NextVR boasts a laundry list of high-profile partnerships with professional sports and entertainment organizations, including Live Nation (LYV -2.85%), World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE -0.35%), Fox (FOX -1.41%) (FOXA -1.25%) Sports, the National Basketball Association (NBA),  and the National Hockey League (NHL), among others. 

In addition to its platform, NextVR boasts a treasure trove of patents -- more than 40 in all -- for a process that upscales high-quality video streams for upload to VR headsets. 

Apple has made no secret of its aspirations in augmented reality (AR) and VR, and there have been rumors of an under-the-radar research segment with hundreds of its employees working on ways to incorporate the technology into its future product lines.

The company's ambitions have been on full display in recent months. During its second-quarter conference call, Apple announced that it launched a new iPad Pro that featured a "a first-in-class LiDAR [Light Detection and Ranging] scanner with some really exciting augmented reality applications." This is similar to the the technology used in self-driving cars, sending out pulsed beams of laser light to measure the distance to nearby objects.

Danny Vena owns shares of Apple and World Wrestling Entertainment. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple and Live Nation Entertainment. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
$150.43 (-1.51%) $-2.31
World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. Stock Quote
World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.
$67.96 (-0.35%) $0.24
Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. Stock Quote
Live Nation Entertainment, Inc.
$75.27 (-2.85%) $-2.21
Fox Corporation Stock Quote
Fox Corporation
$31.71 (-1.25%) $0.40
Fox Corporation Stock Quote
Fox Corporation
$29.47 (-1.41%) $0.42

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