Apple has acquired Mira, a startup that specializes in augmented reality (AR) headsets. Mira produces headsets not only for the US military but also for other companies. Notably, this acquisition reveal comes just days after Apple unveiled its $3,499 Vision Pro headset, marking the company’s entry into the AR-mixed reality market.
Speaking to The Verge, Apple said, “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” Therefore, it is currently unclear what Apple intends to achieve through this acquisition. Is it a move to eliminate competition, or is it an effort to strengthen its position in the mixed-reality field? Only time will tell. But, one thing is for certain—Apple is looking to double down on its ‘spatial computing’ ambitions.
What Does Mira Do?
The company is based in Los Angeles and was originally founded in 2016 by Taft. It has reportedly been manufacturing AR headsets for prominent customers, including Universal Studios for attractions at its Nintendo World theme parks.
Moreover, as noted by The Verge, Mira also has several military contracts, which include “a small agreement with the US Air Force and a $702,351 agreement with the Navy, according to government records and press releases.” Furthermore, the Air Force contract is intended for military pilots stationed at Travis Air Force Base, where they can use Mira’s Prism Pro headset to view “heads-up display instructions.”
What’s even more interesting is the fact that Jony Ive—Apple’s former product designer—was an advisor to the startup, Mira.
How Can It Affect Apple’s ‘Spatial’ Computing Ambitions?
For those unaware, a couple of days ago at WWDC 2023, Apple launched its highly anticipated Vision Pro headset, which is the company’s first new product line in years, following the launch of the Apple Watch in 2015. The iPhone maker claims that it is a ‘spatial computer’ designed to seamlessly merge the digital and physical worlds while keeping users aware of their surroundings.
It is likely that Apple aims to make ‘spatial computing’ the next big thing after the iPhone, and to achieve that, it needs to ensure that competitors, including Meta, are kept at bay. According to reports, Apple’s Vision Pro stands out from other VR/AR headsets and could be years ahead of the competition. To maintain this edge, the iPhone maker may have decided to strengthen its talent pool by bringing on board the teams from Mira, who have experience working with the US Defense.