Google has recently announced that its Arts & Culture app has been updated to include even more augmented reality (AR) experiences. Meanwhile, Amazon is likewise testing a new shopping tool that uses AR to let shoppers see how items would look in their home before they make the purchase. It has been rumoured for a while now that Apple would soon invest in the same technology. Now, the company appears to have taken its first step after it acquired a VR startup called Spaces.

The name might not be as familiar as others, but its most notable work reportedly used location-based virtual reality (VR) platforms. However, due to the coronavirus lockdowns, it shifted its resources to other ventures and eventually created add-ons for videoconferencing software Zoom. It was also able to introduce animated avatars to Google Hangouts.

Software used by Spaces is supported by several VR headsets such as Facebook's Oculus lineup, the HTC Vive, and Microsoft's Windows Mixed Reality products as well. For now, analysts are still unsure about how Apple plans to take advantage of the technology that is now available to its engineers. While the Cupertino-based tech titan has not made any significant announcements regarding its AR or VR ventures, tech pundits have their speculation.

This was first reported by Protocol, which detailed information purportedly supplied by a company representative. it was indicated that: "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans." Furthermore, it was also pointed out that a week prior to its acquisition, the startup's website noted it is "heading in a new direction."

Spaces then continued with another message that read: "Thank you to our users and partners who participated in our awesome VR video conferencing product and the many people who enjoyed our VR location-based entertainment attractions found at theme parks, theatres, and more."

Apple logo
Apple and boss Tim Cook have been public about their interest in augmented reality for some time Reuters

Other businesses related to VR that were purchased by Apple include Vrvana, Akonia Holographics, and NextVR. This led consumers to anticipate the release of a first-party VR headset for various applications such as content creation and entertainment. Perhaps the closest product that would embody AR and VR features is the rumoured Apple Glass augmented reality glasses.