back to article Confirmed: Apple gives nod to gobblement of Kinect-maker PrimeSense

Apple has reportedly confirmed its interest Israeli company PrimeSense, which helped to develop Microsoft's Kinect motion sensor, by buying it. The FT reports, as does AllThingsD, that Cupertino has written a cheque for about $350m-$360m to get its fruity fingers on the company. Apple's not saying why it decided to acquire …


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  1. Thorne

    Saw this in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

    A loud clatter of gunk music flooded through the Heart of Gold cabin as Zaphod searched the sub-etha radio wave bands for news of himself. The machine was rather difficult to operate. For years radios had been operated by means of pressing buttons and turning dials; then as the technology became more sophisticated the controls were made touch-sensitive--you merely had to brush the panels with your fingers; now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components and hope. It saved a lot of muscular expenditure, of course, but meant that you had to sit infuriatingly still if you wanted to keep listening to the same program.

    Zaphod waved a hand and the channel switched again.

  2. Mikel

    News from the future

    Apple claims patent on ASLAN to text translation. Sues Samsung and Google to prevent the mute and / or deaf from having a choice of devices.

    1. SuccessCase

      Re: News from the future

      And then Tim Cook starts snatching babies from prams in the street and setting fire to them, and ripping their heads off with his teeth. But Fandroids, helped by an army of bunny rabbits and and Galaxy Gear watches that actually work, fly down and fight Tim Cook and push him and his iPhone using Chitauri cohorts back through the portal hole, seal it up and save the world.

      Isn't this tech commenting a lark when you can just make criticisms up,

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: News from the future

      You'll be able to write in the air with your finger while wearing an iDevice on your wrist, it will translate the gestures into text and send the message for you while making you a cup of tea.

      There is a patent for that you know.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple TV set or gaming?

    I suspect that's what it is for. There isn't much in the way of useful gesturing for UI control to be done to a device that's already being held in one hand (or often in both hands, in the case of a tablet) Certainly not to the point of needing to acquire the company that designed Kinect as sensors to detect hand waving type stuff have been around since well before Kinect.

    I don't particularly feel that waving at a TV set is better than a remote control, as any gestures that are too precise will be a pain to do correctly, and those that are too imprecise will be done accidentally. Or deliberately, as anyone who has ever had or been a younger sibling will quickly realize.

    If it is paired with the iPhone/iPad it might be an external device, or something that is intended for use with the device sitting upright (docked) That is, something used for gaming, rather than UI control.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Apple TV set or gaming?

      Gaming and Apple: Discuss.

      Really, it's a weird one. It seems Apple have never put that much effort into games. They have had the market position to release a reference design game controller add-on for iDevices (Nintendo's turf), but never have done. The only game I remember Steve Jobs presenting was Halo, back when it was a Real Time Strategy work in progress. The Pippin died with the rest of the Apple clones.

      It's almost as if gaming is an area Apple are wary of, maybe because the market used to encourage perpetual hardware upgrading.

      True, may games are released for iOS, (some even working between devices such as an iPhone and an iTV or iPad) but Apple don't seem to talk it up beyond updating their mobile graphics hardware (which has utility besides running games).

      1. Nick Pettefar

        Re: Apple TV set or gaming?

        I think that every Apple presentation/Keynote/developer thingy involves gaming with guest speakers/demos from the gaming industry. I guess you've never seen them.

        iPad/od/hone is probably the largest games platform.

  4. Joey


    ... there might be some patents in there that could be used to clobber somebody.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Or...

      Depends on the licensing deal MS signed with them. MS might not have been daft enough to bet their future products on technologies that could be suddenly whipped away from them if the originating company was bought by a rival.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Or...

        Apple and MS have a patent cross licensing agreement, so they couldn't sue them.

        One can hate on Apple for how they deal with patent suits all they want, but they don't wade into an established market and try to sue everyone for what they're already doing. If they built on the existing Kinect-style tech with some new ways to interact with games using gestures they'd defend that use. But they aren't going to try to sue Sony for their motion controller (assuming that works similar to Kinect, I have no idea if that's true or not)

  5. mhollis

    Improving the interface

    Fact is, on iOS devices, there is no "mouse hover" state. This puts those of us who are web developers into a bit of a pickle, as we have to retranslate a "touch" on mobile into "mouseover" through the use of JavaScript.

    If this motion sensing brought back mouseover, mouseout, hover, mousein states, it would seriously improve the interface for iOS. I have a feeling that the sensor would be intentionally "blind" (as the Kinect is) at distances that are not practical for these gestures. On iOS, the gesture would be just a few inches. On Apple TV, a number of feet.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Improving the interface

      There's some limited value to this, I guess. But I don't particularly care for interfaces that use 'hover', that's lazy web coding IMHO.

  6. Mark Wilson

    R&D budget increased again

    It looks very much like Apple have increased their R&D budget once more i.e. lets research companies that do what we want and develop ownership of said company.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: R&D budget increased again

      That's a big part part of design. We all do it... putting up some shelves? Let's see what brackets are available from the hardware store. Making an MP3 player? Let's see what HDDs Toshiba will sell us in six months time. Making a handheld device? Let's see if there are any small companies using novel human input methods we can buy (FingerWorks)

      It's usually cheaper and easier to go shopping than it is to make everything yourself.

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