Apple reportedly acquires burst photo app-maker SnappyLabs

By , Jan 5, 2014

snappycam-feature

Apple has reportedly acquired app developer SnappyLabs, the one-man photo technology startup behind the app SnappyCam. For those unfamiliar with the title, it was a popular camera app that allowed users to take full-resolution pictures at 20 to 30 frames per second.

SnappyCam mysteriously disappeared from the App Store, shortly after founder John Papandriopoulos announced that he had achieved a breakthrough with “discrete cosine transform JPG science.” He essentially reinvented the JPG image format, and word has it Apple wanted in…

TechCrunch’s Josh Constine has the scoop:

“I first noticed something was up when we got tipped off that SnappyCam had disappeared from the App Store and all of SnappyLabs‘ websites went blank. Sources have since affirmed that the company was acquired by Apple, and that there was also acquisition interest “from most of the usual players”, meaning other tech giants. I don’t have details on the terms of the deal, and I’m awaiting a response from Apple, which has not confirmed the acquisition.”

Constine has since updated his post with a note that Papandriopoulos’ girlfriend shared a link to his story on Facebook congratulating the founder. So although Apple itself hasn’t confirmed the acquisition, it would seem that the writer’s sources within the company are accurate.

snappycam-features

Back in July, SnappyCam was upgraded with new technology, detailed in a since-deleted blog post, that explains how Papandriopoulos was able to redesign how JPG images are compressed, allowing the iPhone to shoot full-quality photos at higher FPS than competing technology.

“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.)”

It’s not hard to imagine what Apple would want with this kind of technology. It’s constantly striving to improve the cameras in its mobile and desktop devices, from both a hardware and software standpoint, and it recently introduced a burst mode feature of its own in iOS 7 for taking fast photos.

As Constine says, there’s no word yet on terms of the deal or when it was finalized. But Tim Cook did announce last quarter that Apple made 15 strategic acquisitions during its fiscal 2013, and only 12 of them have been made public. The most recent to come to light were BroadMap and Catch.

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  • Jad Boukai

    Kind of off topic, but can anyone confirm what the picture says about the 6x Zoom without losing any detail. Seems far fetched considering that zoom quality also relies on the camera hardware, not just the the software, right? Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    • Ricky

      i think its 6x digital zoom which means you will lose the sharpness of the image and give more noise to your pict. thatss what i think because not all apple product(i think none)have optical zoom. correct me if I’m wrong
      Edit: the description says that its digital zoom means its just software not hardware

  • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

    Sounds so interesting that I’m betting this will be the revolutionary feature exclusive to the iPhone 6s (the s stands for snappy) despite it working on the soon to be 3 years old iPhone 5…

    • on3simpleclick

      I don’t think Apple will continue with the same naming scheme as they have been in recent years/

    • Luism27

      6S doesn’t sound right!

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        Apple knows how to make the “doesn’t sound right” sound right and how to make the “doesn’t look premium” look premium. They’ve got the PR and marketing skills to do it.

  • on3simpleclick

    If anyone didn’t manage to buy SnappyCam before Apple acquired it, it’s available on AppAddict ;)

    • Tony Trenkle Jr.

      Is that one of the app stores on cydia?

      • on3simpleclick

        No, Google ‘AppAddict’, it’s a website. Kind of like a repo, but accessible via your computer/mac. You will need to download iFunbox as well to install the .ipa file to your phone.

      • Tony Trenkle Jr.

        I got it on my iPhone as an app and then installed snappycam without downloading iFunBox. You just need AppSync

      • Royce Otero

        There is a away to do it without using your PC or Mac at all.

  • Ted Forbes

    Go for it A. MS NEED TO DO BETTER WITH SKYPE IMAGING it use to be good now it’s the worst of all.

  • iBanks

    Maybe I’m a little ignorant towards such a thing but…. Isn’t it apples API’s being used to create such a feature? If so, why would they have to acquire another company to implement such a feature if it’s already something they can provide? But I can understand if it’s something they are doing to give credit to the developer whom unleashed it first.

    • diggitydang

      Maybe also to keep it away from the likes of Google??? Also, I think this article is saying the dude came up with a new type of JPEG compression that allows for compression at less of a quality loss, something that currently happens with any JPEG.

  • PoleGirl

    Oh man! I’ve had this app for a while now…it’s great for critiquing golf shots, etc. it’s a fun app.

  • chumawumba

    Well that guys rich