At some time between 2018 and 2019, Apple quietly acquired an Israeli computer vision company and has integrated the technology it has developed into current products. This company was originally called Tipit. But now, at the moment of acquisition, it was called Camerai.
Since the release of ARKit in 2017, Apple’s AR technology and related development have accelerated. According to a new report, some of these developments may be the result of Apple’s secret acquisition, rather than the result of internal research.
According to the Israeli newspaper Calcalist, Apple previously acquired Camerai, a start-up company located in Israel, to strengthen the company’s work in AR and computer vision. Calcalist reports that the startup’s technology has become ‘an important part of every Apple camera’.
The price of the acquisition has not been confirmed. But a source who worked at Camerai said that the transaction is worth tens of millions of dollars. At the time of the acquisition, the startup had 13 employees in Tel Aviv, most of whom joined Apple’s team in Herzliya.
Briefly On Camerai
It has been operating in stealth mode since its establishment in 2015 and raised very little funds. Particularly, it has raised a total of approximately $5 million. It includes a $2.5 million round of financing in 2017 and a $2.5 million round of financing in 2018. Its investors include Atooro Fund and Sko Fund.
Camerai’s platform allows applications and developers to easily create AR and image processing graphics without much technical knowledge. Around 2018, when the technology industry was full of praise for AR’s functions, several companies contacted Camerai to inquire about the possibility of an acquisition, including Samsung and Alibaba.
What Does It Bring?
Since being adapted into Apple’s camera, Calcalist reported that Camerai’s technology makes it easier for developers to add AR functionality to their apps. It indicates that development is related to ARKit or computational photography.
More specifically, according to TechCrunch, the company’s AR technology includes the ability to detect objects in pictures and outline them in order to adjust their appearance. The company has created an SDK. The latter allows developers to use AR tools to edit images in more complex ways.
However, it is unclear which specific features of Camerai’s technology is contributed by Apple. But we have to say Apple has introduced many AR and camera-related improvements since 2018. This includes the portrait mode on the iPhone SE that relies entirely on machine learning.
In addition to AR development based on smartphones and tablets, Apple is also developing wearable devices that integrate virtualized and mixed reality environments. Among them, we can mention headsets that may be rumored to be ‘Apple glasses’.
According to Calcalist, Apple operates a development center in Israel. It is based on local acquisitions. In recent years, the center has seen an ‘intensive recruitment’ phase. And it is estimated that it will employ more than 1,500 people.