Apple has acquired Mira, a Los Angeles-based AR startup that makes headsets for other companies and the US military, according to a posts from the CEO’s private Instagram account yesterday seen by The Verge and a person familiar with the matter. Apple confirmed the acquisition.
The news comes just one day after Apple unveiled the Vision Pro, a $3,499 mixed reality headset that the company has billed as a new “spatial” computing platform. It’s unclear how much Apple paid for Mira, which raised about $17 million in funding to date. Jony Ive, Apple’s former design chief, was an advisor to the startup at one point, according to two former employees who requested anonymity to speak without the company’s permission.
Apple sent The Verge its typical statement it gives when it buys a company: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” A spokesperson wouldn’t answer whether it would continue Mira’s military contracts on the record, but knowing how Apple operates, the military work continuing is highly unlikely.
Mira’s military contracts include a small agreement with the US Air Force and a $702,351 agreement with the Navy, according to government records and press releases. The Air Force contract is for military pilots at Travis Air Force Base to use the startup’s Prism Pro headset for displaying things like heads-up equipment instructions. “Mira builds the most scalable augmented reality hardware + software solutions in the market- enabling frontline workforces with communication tools and information when they need it most,” according to the company’s website.
Another big Mira contract is with Nintendo World, which uses its headsets for the Mario Kart ride at its theme parks in Japan and LA’s Universal Studios. Mira’s headset displays virtual characters and items from the game to augment the ride as you progress through it.
Apple has brought on at least 11 of Mira’s employees as part of the acquisition, according to a private post on CEO Ben Taft’s Instagram account, which displayed a number of employee badges. “Excited for Mira’s next chapter, at Apple :),” he wrote in the caption. “7 year journey from dorm room to acquisition.”