Apple ostensibly snapped up Israeli AR and camera startup Camerai last year

Apple acquires small startups for their technology at a rate of one per every few weeks, TechCrunch reported Thursday, citing a report earlier today by Israeli newspaper Calcalist.

Based out of Israel, Camerai was a startup that specialized in augmented reality, advanced camera technology and computer vision. Apple reportedly acquired and shut down Camerai, which used to be called Tipit originally, sometime last year. The iPhone maker has yet to confirm the deal with its standard boilerplate statement, however.

The fact it shut down Camerai suggests that the deal is another “acqui-hire” for the Cupertino technology group, which in turn probably means that Apple has been using Camerai’s engineering talent to bolster iPhone photography with new features for some time now.

From the TechCrunch story:

The Calcalist report said that Camerai employees joined Apple’s computer vision team, and that the company’s technology has been incorporated into Apple products already. It’s not clear specifically where and when, but recall that both iOS 13 and iOS 14 have featured big software updates to the camera.

Calcalist said that the startup sold for “several tens of millions of dollars.” Camerai was founded in 2015 by Aaron Wetzler, Erez Tal, Jonathan Rimon and Moty Kosharovsky. It built software tools to help edit and use camera-made images in augmented reality.

Its technology included the following perks:

  • Detecting different objects in a picture
  • Outline objects with precision to alter them cosmetically
  • The ability to outline and apply filters across the whole image
  • Detecting body joints in real time
  • Selective focus for enhanced portraiture photography

This isn’t Apple’s first acquisition of an Israeli company. The iPhone maker in the past acquired several technology startups based out of Israel, including flash memory experts Anobit for a reported $500 million, using its technology to speed up flash storage in its own product

It also snapped up 3D sensor company PrimeSense for about #345 million, serving as a basis for Face ID development work. And then there’s perhaps Apple’s most famous acquisition of an Israeli firm, a 2012 deal to buy NFC and smart sensor maker AuthenTec for $356 million which was leveraged to a great success to build the secure Touch ID fingerprint-scanning technology.