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Rachel Metz

A View from Rachel Metz

Apple Buying PrimeSense? Makes Sense.

Buying gesture control company PrimeSense could help Apple drum up more excitement for its products.

  • November 18, 2013

Gesture-sensing hardware from Israeli company PrimeSense helped Microsoft’s Kinect grow enormously popular with gamers. Now, Apple may be soon be using it to add gestural controls to its own products.

PrimeSense, whose 3-D depth-sensing technology is used for everything from a mobile 3-D sensor to a healthcare robot, has reportedly been purchased by Apple for $345 million. The news was reported by Israeli publication Calcalist, but Apple declined to comment and PrimeSense said in a statement that it does not comment “on what any of our partners, customers or potential customers are doing and we do not relate to rumors or recycled rumors.” However, buying PrimeSense could be a good move for Apple.

PrimeSense’s technology could help Apple add gesture controls for its video-streaming box, Apple TV, and perhaps appear in an actual Apple TV set. Adding gesture sensing to Apple’s computers, iPads, and even iPhones could differentiate them from competing products and reverse the waning levels of excitement about recent Apple product releases (see “Another Day, Another iPad”). If the technology can be shrunk down enough, it may also be useful in a smart watch or other wearable devices Apple may eventually release.

There are already ways to bring gesture controls to Apple products (such as Flutter, which was recently scooped up by Google), but it would be pretty cool to see Tim Cook on stage demonstrating how he can control an iPad with a dismissive hand wave using software and hardware Apple built in-house.

Even if Apple doesn’t incorporate any of PrimeSense’s technology into its products for a while, it would give it a great base of knowledge with which to experiment.

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