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Apple Acquires German Augmented Reality Software Creator MetaioApple must believe in the power of reality — the augmented kind, that is.

News to prove it: Apple just bought Metaio, a German company whose technology is known for melding “real-world imagery and computer-generated elements into moving video presentations.”

While Metaio had previous investors, German records show that Apple is now the sole owner, according to Reuters.

Metaio’s augmented-reality software is used for applications in retail, industrial, and automotive markets. It’s useful in creating virtual product showrooms for retailers like IKEA, which has benefitted from the technology. It has also been employed to develop visual manuals for the repair of complex industrial and automotive equipment.

“Augmented reality is software that overlays text or graphics on real-life images and objects, typically in video,” the report explains. “The result can be viewed on TV displays, smartphones, tablets, or dedicated eye-goggles. It differs from virtual reality, which replaces real-world views with more or less completely simulated ones.”

Industry watchers say possible applications include mobile handsets and or smart-glasses.

Metaio executives aren’t providing many details of the sale, and neither is Apple.

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