or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › Apple reportedly acquires developer behind burst photo app SnappyCam
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Apple reportedly acquires developer behind burst photo app SnappyCam

post #1 of 92
Thread Starter 
Apple has reportedly acquired app developer SnappyLabs, the one-man company that created SnappyCam, a popular app that allowed users to take full-resolution pictures at 20 to 30 frames per second.

SnappyCam


News of the reported purchase of SnappyLabs was relayed by Techcrunch on Saturday, which cited sources close to the matter as saying Apple recently bought the one-man operation amid bids from "most of the usual players." Apple has yet to confirm the acquisition and terms of the deal were not revealed.

SnappyLabs was founded by John Papandriopoulos, an electrical engineer who studied at the University of Melbourne. Papandriopoulos is still the only member of the SnappyLabs team, meaning he will likely be working with Apple on future camera-related projects as a result of the acquisition.

SnappyLabs' lone app, SnappyCam, allowed users to take multiple shots in quick succession with a negligible hit to image quality. The app, now pulled from the iOS App Store, boasted shooting speeds of 20 to 30 frames per second, much faster than Apple's own solution.

Papandriopoulos explained the science behind SnappyCam in a blog post, which has subsequently been taken down along with SnappyLabs' website:

First we studied the fast discrete cosine transform (DCT) algorithms...We then extended some of that research to create a new algorithm that's a good fit for the ARM NEON SIMD co-processor instruction set architecture. The final implementation comprises nearly 10,000 lines of hand-tuned assembly code, and over 20,000 lines of low-level C code. (In comparison, the SnappyCam app comprises almost 50,000 lines of Objective C code.)

JPEG compression comprises two parts: the DCT (above), and a lossless Huffman compression stage that forms a compact JPEG file. Having developed a blazing fast DCT implementation, Huffman then became a bottleneck. We innovated on that portion with tight hand-tuned assembly code that leverages special features of the ARM processor instruction set to make it as fast as possible.


Armed with the burst-photo technology and Papandriopoulos' expertise, Apple could feasibly update its Camera app to better take advantage of the latest iPhone hardware. In addition, the company may be able to extend burst shooting modes to legacy models that currently lack such functionality, which appears to be limited to the imaging sensor module used in the iPhone 5s.
post #2 of 92
This is surprising. I would expect Apple to be knowledgable enough to create the same tech on their own. Something doesn't click. Great news for Mr. Papandriopoulos though. (yes, that was a copy/paste action)
I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
Reply
I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
Reply
post #3 of 92
This is exactly what Apple needs to be doing now. Buy up the most innovative small companies that are making the best quality apps and either continue to sell them as stand alone apps or integrate their functions into the core of iOS.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply
post #4 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

This is surprising. I would expect Apple to be knowledgable enough to create the same tech on their own. Something doesn't click. Great news for Mr. Papandriopoulos though. (yes, that was a copy/paste action)
I guess you could say the same thing about all the apps & small companies Google acquires ALL THE TIME.
post #5 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

I guess you could say the same thing about all the apps & small companies Google acquires ALL THE TIME.

That's true. Their employees must have the same capabilities in creating the apps that the companies/developers make that they buy. It does seem that their execution lacks, when looking at their Wave et cetera.
I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
Reply
I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
Reply
post #6 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

This is surprising. I would expect Apple to be knowledgable enough to create the same tech on their own. Something doesn't click. Great news for Mr. Papandriopoulos though. (yes, that was a copy/paste action)

I'm sure Apple has the talent to do this on their own but it's about time to market and being able to integrate this tech faster.

post #7 of 92
I suspect that it's more than fine-tuning with existing ideas, that there's a conceptual breakthrough in there. Otherwise, yes, Apple would and could simply do the same.

For comparison, the maths underlying WiFi was developed by scientists for radioastronomy. "The Australian radio-astronomer John O'Sullivan developed a key patent used in Wi-Fi as a by-product in a CSIRO research project, "a failed experiment to detect exploding mini black holes the size of an atomic particle"." (WP) The rest is lateral thinking.
Better the bottle in front of me
To a frontal lobotomy
Reply
Better the bottle in front of me
To a frontal lobotomy
Reply
post #8 of 92

This does seem like something Apple would make: an intuitive GUI with really clever tech behind it, that's useful to the masses. I hope they gave him a good offer.

post #9 of 92

Did the CEOs of both companies meet to discuss the take over? :D

post #10 of 92
Fast Camera is faster than SnappyCam at 8MP and outputs higher quality 8MP images. If you downloaded SnappyCam before it was removed from the store, compare it to Fast Camera for yourself. Although the counter on the camera view of SnappyCam showed that it was capturing 20 to 30 8MP photos per second, when you stop and tap the thumbnail to review, over half of the images were lost (frames dropped) due to the memory buffer being full. Fast Camera never loses photos in memory or drops frames. In all of our tests, Fast Camera outperforms SnappyCam every time in both sustained speed and image quality.
post #11 of 92
Quote:
Fast Camera is faster than SnappyCam

 

Then why didn't Apple buy Fast Camera instead?  Obviously Apple knows the truth.

 

Did you try adjusting the setting in SnappyCam - it never ran out of memory for me after I configured it correctly.

 

Does Fast Camera really achieve higher than 20-30 high quality 8MP photos per second?

post #12 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by i4software View Post

Fast Camera is faster than SnappyCam at 8MP and outputs higher quality 8MP images. If you downloaded SnappyCam before it was removed from the store, compare it to Fast Camera for yourself. Although the counter on the camera view of SnappyCam showed that it was capturing 20 to 30 8MP photos per second, when you stop and tap the thumbnail to review, over half of the images were lost (frames dropped) due to the memory buffer being full. Fast Camera never loses photos in memory or drops frames. In all of our tests, Fast Camera outperforms SnappyCam every time in both sustained speed and image quality.

 

So can you comment on how Fast Camera achieves the necessary throughput and compression rates?

post #13 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

Great news for Mr. Papandriopoulos though. (yes, that was a copy/paste action)

Being Greek and having a similar surname I can tell you I get comments like that a lot! 1wink.gif
post #14 of 92
Oh what a surprise. A new poster recommends an app over some other app and said poster turns out to be the company that made the app they recommend.
Sour grapes!
post #15 of 92

I doubt they hired him strictly for this app. They hired him for his talent, an "acquihire".

post #16 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

This is surprising. I would expect Apple to be knowledgable enough to create the same tech on their own. Something doesn't click. Great news for Mr. Papandriopoulos though. (yes, that was a copy/paste action)

 

Usually, a lot of features are left due to lack of man power. That happens in both small and large companies. Apple obviously acquired the company mostly because of the already formed and functioning team of high professionals. Teams are more valuable than products.

post #17 of 92

Indeed, as an asset: the world's wealthiest company will hire the best and most promising talent to augment its operations. It may be that Dr JP.'s methodology can reduce both energy and time consumption in the Camera.app. Anything for longer battery life and snappier performance. 


Edited by Vincent Bowry - 1/5/14 at 3:39am
Better the bottle in front of me
To a frontal lobotomy
Reply
Better the bottle in front of me
To a frontal lobotomy
Reply
post #18 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by capasicum View Post

Usually, a lot of features are left due to lack of man power. That happens in both small and large companies. Apple obviously acquired the company mostly because of the already formed and functioning team of high professionals. Teams are more valuable than products.

This is a one-man shop.
I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
Reply
I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
Reply
post #19 of 92
Am I the only one here ... that every time I used my iPhone's camera ... I always thought ....

"Gotta study those fast discrete cosine transform algorithms! There's got to be a better way!" 1biggrin.gif
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
Reply
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
Reply
post #20 of 92
Most are assuming Apple bought SnappyCam for SnappyCam, what if it is the next thing that John Papandriopoulos was working on? Some one as brilliant as he is, will most likely have started work on something else right after he finished SnappyCam.
post #21 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by i4software View Post

Fast Camera is faster than SnappyCam at 8MP and outputs higher quality 8MP images. If you downloaded SnappyCam before it was removed from the store, compare it to Fast Camera for yourself. Although the counter on the camera view of SnappyCam showed that it was capturing 20 to 30 8MP photos per second, when you stop and tap the thumbnail to review, over half of the images were lost (frames dropped) due to the memory buffer being full. Fast Camera never loses photos in memory or drops frames. In all of our tests, Fast Camera outperforms SnappyCam every time in both sustained speed and image quality.
This is blatant advertising from a first poster (who actually makes the Fast Camera app) and should be taken with a grain of salt. It shouldn't even be here. It's irrelevant.

Also, if i4software was any good, they would've been on Apple's radar, but they're not, so they weren't.
post #22 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post

So can you comment on how achieves the necessary throughput and compression rates?

His forum name is the same as the makers of the aforementioned app he claims is better than the SanppyCam app he pooh-poohed. Sounds like it's just a plug for his app so I wouldn't expect any objective test results.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #23 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post

So can you comment on how achieves the necessary throughput and compression rates?

His forum name is the same as the makers of the aforementioned app he claims is better than the SanppyCam app he pooh-poohed. Sounds like it's just a plug for his app so I wouldn't expect any objective test results.

I agree. I assumed that the poster was connected to the company, and I was curious to hear how they tackled the problem compared to SnappyCam, not how they did comparison tests.
post #24 of 92
They should have done this with Instagram before Crapbook got their hands on them. An iOS-exclusive social photo network built into the camera app, like the way Instagram was, with the ability to share photos externally to Crapbook would be infinitely more fun/useful than 8 basic filters and Photo Stream. But alas, that's not a possibly now.

Apple should have bought out Twitter and Instagram and be now in a position of ownership over the defacto photo and messaging services out there. Although, obviously, keep the various Twitter apps around on the other platforms; also no longer possible. They'd be 2 solid social networks to be in the driver's seat of for a company who cares about privacy and user experience the way Apple does.

Though, I would especially have loved them to have acquired Instagram. Could you imagine the Photos app having an tab that was an iOS-exclusive version of Instagram rather than Photo Stream? That would have been awesome!
Edited by Ireland - 1/5/14 at 6:58am
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #25 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Am I the only one here ... that every time I used my iPhone's camera ... I always thought ....

"Gotta study those fast discrete cosine transform algorithms! There's got to be a better way!" 1biggrin.gif


Bingo! You hit on it…

The value of this individual is in the way he thinks – he looks at a problem and sees it as an opportunity.


Here's a feature request I made on the iPhone a while back:
Quote:
7/26/07 3:09 PM Dick Applebaum:
The following enhancement would significantly improve the utility of the iPhone camera.

Allow taking a rapid sequence of pictures such as a player kicking a soccer ball... maybe press-hold the camera button with minimal delay between take/save--take/save--take/save, etc.


Sigh… I didn't have the expertise to do anything about it.
Edited by Dick Applebaum - 1/5/14 at 7:13am
"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
Reply
"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
Reply
post #26 of 92
Oh snap. I wonder what new cam improvements are on the horizon.
post #27 of 92

Think practically Team. Apple's thinking is always one step ahead of the others. If I am not wrong then in this take over Apple will use the technology behind SnappyCam, they will modified it as per their (Apple) need. Once, the new modified tech is ready to use they will sure use that in the new generation of Apple's iPhone and other iOS devices.

post #28 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbourke View Post

Then why didn't Apple buy Fast Camera instead?  Obviously Apple knows the truth.

Good question. They do know the truth that Fast Camera is faster when it comes to how many 8MP photos you can snap AND save per second over a sustained period. Email is for a Free promo code and compare yourself. I would not have sold Fast Camera to Apple if their plans were to remove it from the store and absorb the tech into one if their apps.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbourke View Post

Did you try adjusting the setting in SnappyCam - it never ran out of memory for me after I configured it correctly.

Yes. Again, you have to make sure you are capturing 8MP photos and you cannot watch the speed counter in SnappyCam, it does not count the number actually saved. Go to next screen and divide the number saved by the number of seconds you were shooting. Capture images of a stop watch for example.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbourke View Post

Does Fast Camera really achieve higher than 20-30 high quality 8MP photos per second?

Yes, Fast Camera is the only app that does. SnappyCam did not actually save that many per second. This is not about advertising but about clarifying the facts. Our app has 7 million users. Fast Camera can both capture AND actually save 24 (8MP) images per second at higher quality than SnappyCam (which uses faster but inferior compression) for up to 1,000 images (about 42 seconds).
post #29 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post

So can you comment on how Fast Camera achieves the necessary throughput and compression rates?

We achieved this through optimization and tons of testing, trial and error. I'll gladly send you a free promo so you can compare for yourself. I assure you that Fast Camera is faster at 8MP on iPhone 5S and saves higher quality 8MP images than SnappyCam.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evilution View Post

Oh what a surprise. A new poster recommends an app over some other app and said poster turns out to be the company that made the app they recommend.
Sour grapes!
Look, I see your concern but I didn't try to hide our company name in any way and I was not trying to advertise Fast Camera, only to set the record straight. We already have 7 million users. Check AppAnnie for our rank history. We were consistently ahead of SnappyCam in the paid and top grossing charts. The facts are clear.
Quote:
Originally Posted by frxntier View Post

This is blatant advertising from a first poster (who actually makes the Fast Camera app) and should be taken with a grain of salt. It shouldn't even be here. It's irrelevant.

Also, if i4software was any good, they would've been on Apple's radar, but they're not, so they weren't.

How do you know we weren't? They have the stats. They know our sales and rank history. They know we have far more daily active users and more 5 star ratings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

His forum name is the same as the makers of the aforementioned app he claims is better than the SanppyCam app he pooh-poohed. Sounds like it's just a plug for his app so I wouldn't expect any objective test results.

Wasn't meant to be a plug for our app at all guys. Why then would I be offering so many free promo codes so people with both apps can compare and test? I only want to set the record straight. We have 7 million users and that didn't happen because I posted on a few forums.
post #30 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by i4software View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post

So can you comment on how Fast Camera achieves the necessary throughput and compression rates?

We achieved this through optimization and tons of testing, trial and error. I'll gladly send you a free promo so you can compare for yourself. I assure you that Fast Camera is faster at 8MP on iPhone 5S and saves higher quality 8MP images than SnappyCam.

 

Thanks for the response, and I'd certainly be happy to check it out. Optimization, testing, trial and error was not really the level of detail that I was hoping for though, in comparison to the observation that SnappyCam was using new DCTs specifically tailored to the co-processor instruction set.  It's not that hard to speed up processing simply by discarding data.

post #31 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by i4software View Post


Wasn't meant to be a plug for our app at all guys. Why then would I be offering so many free promo codes so people with both apps can compare and test? I only want to set the record straight. We have 7 million users and that didn't happen because I posted on a few forums.

If you're offering promo codes, I'll certainly take one. We have at least 1 of every iPhone and iPad (except iPad Air).

We just spent about $1,800 for a starter setup for my granddaughter... Canon 60D Body, Lenses... The Canon is 18 MP and shoots continuously at 5 FPS.

The camera on the 5C is pretty good -- the 5S is great!


I am hoping that Apple will incorporate some kind of folded optics camera/zoom in future iPhones and iPads.
"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
Reply
"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
Reply
post #32 of 92
Bemused at i4software's responses.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #33 of 92
Strange my iPhone 5s already records 8MP photos at 30 frames per second, so what's the point.
post #34 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

This is surprising. I would expect Apple to be knowledgable enough to create the same tech on their own. Something doesn't click. Great news for Mr. Papandriopoulos though. (yes, that was a copy/paste action)

This is a common misconception when it comes to big businesses. They are just made up of many talented individuals. It seems that they have about 20,000 non-retail staff:

http://techcrunch.com/2011/10/09/apple-1000-engineers-chips/

This will be split between software engineers, hardware engineers, designers, marketing and so on. While someone within the portion of software engineers might well be capable of developing code to do this specific task, they clearly tried already and didn't manage to get it fast enough and this person has developed exactly the code they need.

It's much the same with Yahoo's purchase of Summly. Their developers probably could have come up with similar natural language processing algorithms but it's quicker to just buy something that exists and works already, especially when you are so flush with cash. A few million dollar buyout to a little guy is big money but to companies like Apple and Yahoo, it's a rounding error. Existing Apple staff might well have been able to develop FCP, Logic, Shake, iTunes, OS X but they didn't, they bought all of them.

They also get a lot of flack when they don't buy companies out like what happened with Dashboard and Sherlock.
post #35 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincent Bowry View Post

I suspect that it's more than fine-tuning with existing ideas, that there's a conceptual breakthrough in there. Otherwise, yes, Apple would and could simply do the same.

For comparison, the maths underlying WiFi was developed by scientists for radioastronomy. "The Australian radio-astronomer John O'Sullivan developed a key patent used in Wi-Fi as a by-product in a CSIRO research project, "a failed experiment to detect exploding mini black holes the size of an atomic particle"." (WP) The rest is lateral thinking.

My understanding is that Mr. Papandriopoulos researched the underlying technologies (discrete cosine transforms and lossless Huffman compression) and optimized the code for the ARM architecture.
post #36 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post

Thanks for the response, and I'd certainly be happy to check it out. Optimization, testing, trial and error was not really the level of detail that I was hoping for though, in comparison to the observation that SnappyCam was using new DCTs specifically tailored to the co-processor instruction set.  It's not that hard to speed up processing simply by discarding data.

While I find the posts from a developer promoting their product troublesome, they may have developed a novel approach they don't desire to divulge. Personally, I can think of multiple methods to investigate improving the compression and encoding of photographic data although I loath programming. Certainly, one should question compression ratios, encoding methods (discrete cosine transforms, fourier transforms, fractal compression, etc.) as well as code optimization.
post #37 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by shard View Post

Most are assuming Apple bought SnappyCam for SnappyCam, what if it is the next thing that John Papandriopoulos was working on? Some one as brilliant as he is, will most likely have started work on something else right after he finished SnappyCam.

A similar approach could optimize several different functions of Apple devices whether or not Mr. Papandriopoulos was developing more ideas or not; this may be the reason Apple acquired the company. Writing elegant code that is twice as fast as the code Apple is currently using is impressive and certainly worth investigating a rounding error on pocket change (Apple earned approximately 4,250,000 net profit per hour in the recently ended fiscal year).
Edited by MacBook Pro - 1/5/14 at 11:42am
post #38 of 92
Burst Mode exists in the 4S also. It may not be as fast as the 5S, but when i hold down the volume/shutter button it continues to take a ton of photos in fairly quick succession.
post #39 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by i4software View Post

We achieved this through optimization and tons of testing, trial and error. I'll gladly send you a free promo so you can compare for yourself. I assure you that Fast Camera is faster at 8MP on iPhone 5S and saves higher quality 8MP images than SnappyCam.
Look, I see your concern but I didn't try to hide our company name in any way and I was not trying to advertise Fast Camera, only to set the record straight. We already have 7 million users. Check AppAnnie for our rank history. We were consistently ahead of SnappyCam in the paid and top grossing charts. The facts are clear.
How do you know we weren't? They have the stats. They know our sales and rank history. They know we have far more daily active users and more 5 star ratings.
Wasn't meant to be a plug for our app at all guys. Why then would I be offering so many free promo codes so people with both apps can compare and test? I only want to set the record straight. We have 7 million users and that didn't happen because I posted on a few forums.
Do you think I could get a promo so I could test out your app because I have SnappyCam and I'd like to compare 1smile.gif
post #40 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by knowitall View Post

Strange my iPhone 5s already records 8MP photos at 30 frames per second, so what's the point.

 

I think you are referring to video capture not 8MP full resolution photo capture. How many 8MP images (3,264 x 2,448) are you able to capture in 20 seconds on your 5S? Use a stopwatch timer and open one of the images to make sure it is that large. Fast Camera can do 480 in 20 seconds. SnappyCam's counter shows more but over half of the images are missing when you go to the review screen.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Discussion
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › Apple reportedly acquires developer behind burst photo app SnappyCam