Once thought of as gimmicky or primarily for gaming applications, Augmented Reality (AR) technology has the ability to quite literally reshape the landscape in many markets, with new capabilities from simple telepresence to industrial and architectural design, to navigation and tracking. Google GOOGL -1.52% has been heavily behind the technology for a while now, with Google Glass and their Project Tango tablet, and Facebook/Oculus recently moved in on AR firm Surreal Vision. Now it appears Apple AAPL -1.11% is apparently turning its gun sights on the market space as well.

Earlier this week, it was announced the Apple had acquired AR technology developer Metaio, a seasoned veteran in the space that has been around for over a decade, if you can believe that. Apple didn’t have much to say about the acquisition but the move itself speaks volumes. Metaio develops AR tools that use 3D tracking capable devices for development and deployment of Augmented Reality apps.

The most natural, immediate application for Metaio technologies would be with Apple’s iPad line. Tablet platforms have the light-weight portability you need for carrying a 3D mapping-capable device but also have enough mechanical area to house the additional circuitry and camera technology required to implement the design, not to mention the additional CPU and graphics horsepower required.

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