Apple secretly acquired a camera startup and has already used its AR technology

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 2020
Sometime between 2018 and 2019, Apple quietly acquired an Israeli computer vision company -- and has already adapted its developments into current products.

Credit: Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider
Credit: Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider


Apple AR technology and related developments have picked up the pace since the release of ARKit in 2017. And per a new report, some of that development may have been the result of secretive acquisitions instead of internal research.

According to Israeli newspaper Calcalist, Apple's acquisition of Isreal-based startup Camerai has already bolstered the company's work in AR and computer vision. Calcalist reports that the startup's technology has already become a "significant part of every Apple camera."

No purchase price for the acquisition has been confirmed, though a source formerly at Camerai said that the deal was worth tens of millions of dollars. At the time of the acquisition, the startup employed 13 people in Tel Aviv, a majority of whom joined Apple's team in Herzliya.

Although it operated in stealth mode since its founding in 2014 and raised very little capital, Camerai's platforms allowed apps and developers to easily create AR and image processing graphics without much technical knowledge. Around 2018, when the tech industry was abuzz about the capabilities of AR, several other companies approached Camerai about the possibility of an acquisition -- including Samsung and Alibaba.

Since being adapted into Apple's cameras, Calcalist reports that Camerai's technology has made it easier for developers to add AR capabilities into their apps -- suggesting that the development is related to ARKit or a computational photography feature.

More specifically, the company's AR technology included the ability to detect objects within a picture and outline them so that they could be adjusted cosmetically, TechCrunch reported. The company had created an SDK that allowed developers to use AR tools to edit images in more sophisticated ways, the publication added.

Although it isn't clear which specific feature Camerai's technology contributed to, Apple has introduced many AR- and camera-related improvements since 2018. That includes the Portrait Mode on the iPhone SE that relies solely on machine learning.

In addition to smartphone- and tablet-based AR developments, Apple is also reportedly working on wearables that integrate virtualized and mixed-reality environments -- including a rumored headset-like device that could be called "Apple Glass."

According to Calcalist, Apple's operates a development center in Israel that was based on the foundation of local acquisitions. In recent years, that center has seen as "intensive recruiting spree," and is estimated to employ more than 1,500 people.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 5
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
    tmay
  • Reply 2 of 5
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,531member
    They say the only reason to buy a knockoff iPhone is for the Pixel camera software. If Apple can surpass that tech then there's no reason left to buy Android. Maybe 5G? I don't know. That excuse may be gone soon too.

    This article gives me an excuse to express who I think Apple should buy:
    I think Apple should acquire Adobe and develop iPadOS/Apple Pencil with it in mind. Make iPad more of a creative platform than it already is. Integrate it deeply into macOS. Heck, maybe have it's creative sweet free for Apple users or a free year trial like Apple TV+.
  • Reply 3 of 5
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 5,690member
    Beats said:
    This article gives me an excuse to express who I think Apple should buy:
    I think Apple should acquire Adobe and develop iPadOS/Apple Pencil with it in mind. Make iPad more of a creative platform than it already is. Integrate it deeply into macOS. Heck, maybe have it's creative sweet free for Apple users or a free year trial like Apple TV+.
    This makes zero sense. Adobe already has multiple iPad apps that use Pencil. Not to mention the vast numbers of Adobe customers not on Macs. Make it free? Do you have any idea what constitutes the Creative Cloud software line? What are you smoking?
    edited August 2020 Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 5
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,531member
    Beats said:
    This article gives me an excuse to express who I think Apple should buy:
    I think Apple should acquire Adobe and develop iPadOS/Apple Pencil with it in mind. Make iPad more of a creative platform than it already is. Integrate it deeply into macOS. Heck, maybe have it's creative sweet free for Apple users or a free year trial like Apple TV+.
    This makes zero sense. 1.) Adobe already has multiple iPad apps that use Pencil. 2.) Not to mention the vast numbers of Adobe customers not on Macs. 3.) Make it free? Do you have any idea what constitutes the Creative Cloud software line? What are you smoking?

    1.So?

    2. So?

    3. So?

    Why are people so closed minded on this site? I need a good site where people share ideas.
  • Reply 5 of 5
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 5,690member
    Beats said:
    Beats said:
    This article gives me an excuse to express who I think Apple should buy:
    I think Apple should acquire Adobe and develop iPadOS/Apple Pencil with it in mind. Make iPad more of a creative platform than it already is. Integrate it deeply into macOS. Heck, maybe have it's creative sweet free for Apple users or a free year trial like Apple TV+.
    This makes zero sense. 1.) Adobe already has multiple iPad apps that use Pencil. 2.) Not to mention the vast numbers of Adobe customers not on Macs. 3.) Make it free? Do you have any idea what constitutes the Creative Cloud software line? What are you smoking?

    1.So?

    2. So?

    3. So?

    Why are people so closed minded on this site? I need a good site where people share ideas.
    Close minded? I'm being realistic knowing the reality of what comprises Adobe and their CC lineup, having been a customer of both for decades. What real advantage do you see in your imaginary scenario where Apple owns Adobe with their over 22 thousand employees and dozens of products?
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