Apple reportedly snaps up Israeli facial recognition company RealFace for $2 million

Posted:
in iPhone edited February 2017
Adding weight to the rumors circulating about a future iPhone boasting facial recognition, reports claim that Apple has purchased RealFace -- a machine learning company specializing in the technology.




The company, formed in 2014, appears to have been purchased for $2 million, or several million dollars, according to the Times of Israel or Calcalist respectively. The company previously developed an app to mathematically determine the user's best photos using its in-house facial recognition software.

The RealFace software provides "frictionless face recognition" directly on a relatively low-powered device like an iPhone. According to the company, it aims to "offer customers a smart biometric log-in solution" for mobile deployment.

The company had previously garnered $1 million in start-up funds, and employs somewhere between 5 and 10 people. The RealFace website is down, either by demand or intentional removal by the company or Apple is not yet known.

Recent rumors have claimed that the "iPhone 8" and possible other 2017 iPhone models will come equipped with a practical face scanning utility powered by a laser 3d scanner, not aimed at augmented reality application, at least to start.

The technology has more use than facial recognition. An API release could open up other uses like ultimate use in augmented reality and virtual reality headsets, clothing sizing, accurate distance measurements for home improvement, scanning for 3D printing, appliance and HomeKit integration, and other applications needing precise volumetric scans, or range-finding.

AppleInsider has reached out to Apple and RealFace for comment, but has not received a response as of yet. Apple does not generally comment on acquisitions.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,868member
    Apple wants this hopefully to augment Photos and other personal uses and nothing beyond.  I read about Russians snapping up such software on their Android crapware.  I have to be honest, I worry about facial recognition that accesses databases being used by just anyone.  There are so many reasons that is a bad idea.  
    edited February 2017 lostkiwiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 18
    Maybe if you frown it'll be a secret cue for the iPhone to not unlock?
    lostkiwilolliverwatto_cobraiqatedo
  • Reply 3 of 18
    That is a very small price to pay for a company.  I'm surprised that the owners would sell it so for little.  They probably got options as well for signing on to Apple.
  • Reply 4 of 18
    bwikbwik Posts: 556member
    Heck, I'm not sure I would sell my high school artwork to Apple for $2 million.  If they want something, the price should be at least $70 million.
  • Reply 5 of 18
    bwik said:
    Heck, I'm not sure I would sell my high school artwork to Apple for $2 million.  If they want something, the price should be at least $70 million.
    It's worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it.
    bb-15Solipscooter63mike1StrangeDays
  • Reply 6 of 18
    doggone said:
    That is a very small price to pay for a company.  I'm surprised that the owners would sell it so for little.  They probably got options as well for signing on to Apple.

    Agree something is going on with that price. I would guess facial recognition for AR and not security (login). 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 18
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Yes, this is a AR play, not a biometrics play like some analyst dweebs are saying. And yeah, there are obvious options involved.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 18
    Regardless the price here, it is amazing how many Israeli start-ups succeed enough to be bought out by bigger, often American, companies. They are doing something right in the education system over there.
    Rayz2016lolliverwatto_cobracali
  • Reply 9 of 18
    Seems like some investing angel was satisfied with a double. The team though, might have  gotten a 10x to 30x on salary and options.
  • Reply 10 of 18
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,555member
    I don't see facial recognition as an improvement over  the fingerprint ID. I want to pay for something, so instead of just tapping my finger on the phone, I now have to line up the camera, stand in a good light, put on my specs and pray. 

    No, I agree with the other folk here; I think this is nothing to do with biometrics. 
  • Reply 11 of 18
    The AR side of things makes sense.  I do know that when facial recognition becomes another security option, it will be yet another one that I disable, as the courts will no doubt rule that, like your fingerprints, your face isn't protected from law enforcement's unwarranted use.
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 12 of 18
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,927moderator
    "frictionless face recognition" is what the company, that presumably is deeply into the technology, calls this tech.  So why does the press continue to refer to this as "facial" recognition?  Facial recognition is a subset of face recognition.  And it's completely, absolutely the wrong term to use for what is being discussed.  I guess it really is going to require Tim Cook & Co to stand up on stage and refer to it by the correct term before the press gets it.  Sheesh!  
    edited February 2017
  • Reply 13 of 18
    "frictionless face recognition" is what the company, that presumably is deeply into the technology, calls this tech.  So why does the press continue to refer to this as "facial" recognition?  Facial recognition is a subset of face recognition.  And it's completely, absolutely the wrong term to use for what is being discussed.  I guess it really is going to require Tim Cook & Co to stand up on stage and refer to it by the correct term before the press gets it.  Sheesh!  
    Hate to break it to you but this is a lost cause man. Every TV show and movie for twenty years calls stuff like this facial recognition.
  • Reply 14 of 18
    Apple is not using facial recognition as a replacement or supplement to Touch ID. Nope, not happening, not ever.

    If anything you'll see this manifest as part of the Photos and Camera apps.
  • Reply 15 of 18
    The AR side of things makes sense.  I do know that when facial recognition becomes another security option, it will be yet another one that I disable, as the courts will no doubt rule that, like your fingerprints, your face isn't protected from law enforcement's unwarranted use.
    Correct. Only a password is a serious legal buffer against warrantless search.
  • Reply 16 of 18
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,868member
    birko said:
    Regardless the price here, it is amazing how many Israeli start-ups succeed enough to be bought out by bigger, often American, companies. They are doing something right in the education system over there.
    Yep, probably strong emphasis on STEM unlike certain places I could think of. 
  • Reply 17 of 18
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Being able to do PRECISE, real time recognition of many different targets and so can identify them and be able to pull up info would be great to have in a small phone.

    systems that do this now are much more elaborate.

    This obviously has some privacy implications when broadcasting this stream of info.


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