SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Apple has confirmed the purchase of motion sensor tech developer PrimeSense for approximately $345 million, according to Israel’s Calcalist newspaper.
PrimeSense’s 3D machine vision technology enables devices to identify people and objects. The Israeli company has powered over 24 million devices worldwide since 2005, with its motion-sensing chips, software, and IP used in the original Xbox Kinect.
The company has also a sensor solution (known as Capri) meant for smartphones and tablets as well as other small-form-factor devices. Investment research platform Seeking Alpha speculates that PrimeSense’s technology could be used in an iTV or next generation Apple TV as well as future iPhones and iPads.
Apple did not disclose the PrimeSense purchase price or use of its technology. Likewise, PrimeSense officials could not comment on the use of its technology.
"We are focused on building a prosperous company while bringing 3D sensing and natural interaction to the mass market in a variety of markets such as interactive living room and mobile devices," a spokeswoman for PrimeSense told Reuters. "We do not comment on what any of our partners, customers or potential customers are doing and we do not relate to rumors or recycled rumors."
Over the last two years, Apple has stepped up the pace at which it's buying component vendors, Seeking Alpha reported:
Apple has purchased flash controller chip vendor Anobit (bought for a reported $500M), fingerprint sensor developer AuthenTec (bought for $356M and used to create the iPhone 5S' fingerprint sensor), and low-power Bluetooth chipmaker Passif Semi (bought for an unknown sum).
Apple was reported to be interested in PrimeSense in July, when Intel purchased Israeli gesture recognition tech firm Omek Interactive. Google bought Flutter, a hand gesture recognition software startup, a couple months later.
Samsung has been working on adding gesture-recognition to its TVs and mobile devices, and startup Leap Motion has begun selling a PC sensor.
— Jessica Lipsky, Associate Editor, EE Times