Jan 04 - 2min readFacetime gets a Faceshift? Apple buys Zurich tech start up for undisclosed feeBy Launchbase

Apple has announced that it has purchased Faceshift, the Zurich based facial recognition start-up which might just change face time forever…


Apple has been particularly tight-lipped about the purchase, releasing a statement to confirm the purchase and adding that “(we) smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” Read into that what you will but it is likely that Apple is purchasing talent as much as tech in this case as it looks to expand into facial recognition, perhaps for iPhone security purposes or maybe entertainment with a growing emphasis on VR technology in the marketplace.


By being this quiet about their interests in Faceshift and the general facial recognition software that they produce it leaves the purchase open to speculation which is nothing new to Apple.


A Galaxy Far, Far Away


Sorry for the Star Wars plug but it’s out of our system now as we are hearing about Apple’s purchase of Faceshift, a start-up whose technology has been used in the recent Star Wars film. This follows a recent trend for Apple who has purchased a number of smaller companies over the last few years such as with the 2013 acquisition of Prime Sense whose technology can be seen in motion sensors such as with Microsoft’s Kinect.


What could Apple do with the technology? The possibilities are pretty endless and interesting. It may well end up being part of their focus on improved security. We already have thumbprint security on mobile so it stands to reason that facial recognition could also become part of Apple’s security process. Of course, it could also end up being a way for people to have animated Avatars which would really enhance the Face Time experience.


Whatever the usage Apple has shown its hand in the market with the purchase.


There are, of course, already players in the VR and animation sectors with Samsung chiefly among them but as one observer noted “Apple usually comes into a new space a few years late, and then blows everyone away with superior execution.” This could well be part of Apple paving the way for something big that will surprise us all in a year or two. The exiting thing about Apple is that pretty much anything is possible when it focuses its resources on one particular arena or another.


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Any movement from Apple in the VR or Facial Recognition arena is likely to be kept hush hush as the industry quietly forgets that acquisitions have occurred. Apple does not really purchase companies in a blaze of glory a la Facebook but the acquisition is interesting nonetheless.


The applications are certainly out there to be made and technology is shifting the way in which companies and their customers are able to operate and communicate.
And, while we can’t speak for anybody else, this digital agency certainly can’t wait to see what Apple has up its sleeve.


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