Apple To Bid £186m For Israeli Firm Behind Xbox Kinect – Report

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Primesense, the Israeli firm behind the technology for the first generation Xbox Kinect, is in Apple’s sights

Apple is reportedly interested in acquiring Primesense, the Israeli fabless chip designer which worked with Microsoft to create the first generation Kinect sensor for the Xbox 360 games console.

Israeli newspaper Calacist says negotiations are still at an early stage, but Apple is prepared to pay $280 million (£186m) for the company, sparking suggestions that its technology could be incorporated into existing devices or any future living room offering.

Apple’s interest has apparently been the result of earlier visits by delegations from Primesense, proposing that the iPhone manufacturer use the technology in previous products. Apple also maintains three Research and Development centres in Israel, employing between 300 and 400 people.

Xbox Kinect tech

Kinect Windows TopFounded in 2005, Primesense’s 3D sensing technology gives devices the ability to observe a scene in three dimensions and translate these images into information.

The best-known application is the original Kinect motion sensor, which has now sold more than 20 million units, however it has also been used in medical environments and to create 3D models of interior spaces for the real estate industry.

Apple’s acquisition – if it goes through – could signal its intent to create a product to combat the threat of Samsung and Google’s expansion into the living room more effectively than Apple TV, which has so far failed to capture the imagination of consumers.

A device that is able to run App Store software on television, combined with motion-optimised applications could appeal more and effectively compete with the third party Android-based Ouya.

It could also appease investors concerned about Apple’s continued ability to innovate to compensate for increasingly competitive and saturated smartphone and tablet markets. The company is believed to be working on a smartwatch widely known as the iWatch, but this might not be released until late 2014.

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