Earlier this week, Apple ($AAPL) acquired augmented reality (AR) lens and glasses company Akonia Holographics ($PRIVATE:AKONIAHOLOGRAPHICS), which spawned plenty of speculation on Apple getting serious about AR.

Augmented reality overlays digital information over the real world and differs from virtual reality (VR), where the whole environment is simulated. Akonia describes its AR product as "thin, transparent smart glass lenses that display vibrant, full-color, wide field-of-view images."

It's easy to conclude, then, that Apple is getting into AR. But when it comes to evidence found in the company's hiring data, there's even more to the story.

On August 11, a job titled "AR Application Engineer" appeared on Apple's careers site. A few weeks later, five more jobs with the term "AR Application" in their titles showed up. It would be reasonable to conclude, then, that Apple is now openly hiring up for a future AR product.

As of today, the new list of "AR Application" jobs looks like this:


Posted Date

AR Application Engineer


AR Applications Engineer


Senior AR Applications Engineer


Technical Artist, AR Applications


Senior FX Artist, AR Applications


UI Artist, AR Applications


As for what applications Apple could be looking to aim its new AR team (and technology) at, there's some evidence in job listings from earlier this summer that its Apple Maps product may be an early contender. One such listing posted in July for a Product Architect with the Apple Maps Team is particularly revealing through the job's summary:

"Digital maps have become essential tools of our everyday lives, yet despite their ubiquity, they are still in their infancy. From urban mobility to indoor positioning, from LIDAR to Augmented Reality, advances in technology and new kinds of data are powering innovations in all areas of digital mapping. If you love maps and are passionate about what is possible, you will be in great company."

While this job summary may just be an optimistic statement to attract quality, forward-thinking applicants, the mention of AR is evidence that Apple is thinking about the technology for its Maps product.

Another position titled "iOS / macOS Engineer" from June is just as interesting, if not more so. This position isn't pinned to a particular team like the "Product Architect, Apple Maps" listing. Instead, it appears to be a general audition for mobile and desktop engineers who possess high-level product architecture and ideation and creation skills.

Among the job's "Additional Requirements" are two interesting items: "Familiarity with Maps and Core Location APIs" and "Familiarity with Augmented Reality APIs."

From here, it's pretty easy to put the various requirements and hiring patterns together. And if they tell us anything, it's that Apple is already assembling a team of specialists to connect Augmented Reality with Maps.

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