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Apple reportedly acquires Metaio, an augmented reality startup

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Cupertino is clearly thinking about the next big computing platform

TechCrunch has obtained legal documents showing a transfer of shares from the augmented reality startup Metaio to Apple, which declined to comment. Metaio, which describes itself as a "pioneer in augmented reality and computer vision" has done a number of eye-catching projects for clients like Ferrari and Ikea. Metaio's technology allowed you to look at a car in the showroom and apply different colors and flourishes. Ikea did the same thing with its furniture catalog.

Ok, maybe neither of those examples is the most exciting application of AR technology, but the acquisition shows Apple is making the same bet that Facebook, Microsoft, Google, and Sony have: the next big computing platform will likely involve virtual or augmented reality.

Apple has posted job listing for virtual reality jobs. And it filed a patent for a Cardboard-like VR headset that works with an iPhone. Of course big tech companies like Apple file tons of patents, hell it's been submitting ideas around head-mounted displays since 2007. As we saw with smartphones and smartwatches, Apple often prefers to let the competition establish a product category before trying to come in and set a new bar.

For a dub heavy highlight reel of what Metaio thinks the future of AR will look like, enjoy the video below.