Apple reportedly purchases PrimeSense, the 3D sensor tech company behind the original Microsoft Kinect technology

By , Nov 17, 2013

primesense

Apple has reportedly purchased PrimeSense, an Israeli-based 3D sensor technology company, for $345 million. Rumors of the acquisition surfaced earlier this year, but Israeli news outlet Calcalist says the deal is now done, and Apple plans to announce it within the next few weeks.

PrimeSense is best known to most folks for its work with Microsoft, who used its technology, chips, and designs inside the first Kinect sensor for the Xbox 360. But the company sells its own 3D sensors and software for use in other markets such as as TV, mobile, retail, and robotics…

Reuters passes along the Calcalist report:

“Apple has bought PrimeSense, an Israeli maker of chips that enable three-dimensional (3D) machine vision, for $345 million (213 million pounds), the Calcalist financial newspaper reported on Sunday without citing sources.

PrimeSense has raised $85 million from Israeli and U.S. venture capital funds such as Canaan Partners Global, Gemini Israel and Genesis Partners, Calcalist said.”

It’s not hard to guess why Apple would be interested in such a company. For starters, we’ve seen consistent rumors over the last two years that it’s working on a TV device with Kinect-like motion control. Perhaps it was having trouble recreating the tech, so it decided to buy the source.

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Apple has in the past acquired companies and directly integrated their technology into its products—a good example being the AuthenTec deal last year, which led to Touch ID. This would also be the second time it has purchased an Israeli parts-maker—the first being Anobit in 2012.

Apple has not yet responded to requests for comment, but Reuters has a statement from PrimeSense:

“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 said. “We do not comment on what any of our partners, customers or potential customers are doing and we do not relate to rumours or recycled rumours.”

This is obviously a rumor until it’s proven to be otherwise, but if Apple really has picked up 3D sensor-maker, speculation on its future products just got a lot more interesting.

What do you make of all of this?

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  • ✪ aidan harris ✪

    I don’t think without leaks it’s safe to assume anything at Apple but iTV?

  • chumawumba

    Hopefully it will be incorporated into an iTV so we could flip through channels with the wave of a hand.

    • ConduciveMammal

      With hyperactive children, I imagine that wk be a royal pain in the ass

  • Juan Herrera

    on a concept vid i saw them rumor 3D camera in the iPhone 6.. a stretch by far but to see this the day after opened the possibility in my mind.. curiosity will kill us all before we figure it out

  • Al

    This is the 2nd tech company that’s based out of Isreal. Sounds like Isreal is becoming a hotbed for tech.

  • onebyone_

    Maybe they will implement into one of the next gen iPad, iMac ( osx) and of course the rumored iTV

  • Raashid

    I smell a lawsuit coming against Samsung’s Smart TVs that incorporate motion controls…

    • XboxPS

      Some people say that Microsoft will need to pay to Apple for every Kinect sold.

      • Raashid

        Sounds like the typical Apple…wouldn’t be surprised if that actually is the case.

      • Taf Khan

        All license agreements will stand surely, that’s common sense. Makes the acquisition even more appealing…

  • Taf Khan

    Very good acquisition for Apple. I already see a iTV you can shout at or wave your hands at, let’s just hope the voice of Siri does shout back and refuse to obey instructions… :P

  • R4

    Hopefully this is for iTV. Motion sensing on phones is kinda useless no matter how much Samsung advertise it.

  • Tom

    Yay!!! Again an Israeli company!!! Like the flash storage, touch id…. Everything was born in Israel :) but still, we don’t have Apple stores here, Apple Maps is black and white.. It’s just not fair!