Kinecting the dots: Why Apple bought PrimeSense

“Apple has made a strategically promising acquisition, one that hints that the Cupertino giant actually does have some vision for a future other than refining its current products as viable competitors get closer to matching or surpassing them,” Shel Israel writes for Forbes.

“Sensors are a key reason that our mobile devices are coming to understand each of us on such a personal level. PrimeSense is the best of the 3D sensor companies we found,” Israel writes. “Essentially, they let machines see you or your general location in 3D, allowing the machines to learn the context of a situation. PrimeSense devices allow the Microsoft Kinect for XBox 360 to understand what is going on in the living room. Its sensors are so good they can actually see the heartbeat of game players, thus understanding how much a player is enjoying a game or not.”

“Imagine a device that watches you as you watch it. It can see how your heart throbs when certain shows, celebrities or sporting events go on the air. Based on that, it will be able to customize what content it offers up to you. It will also see what you do during commercial intrusions and monitor how you respond when a new character is introduced into a series,” Israel writes. “PrimeSense can bring back Siri. So far, mobile phones have come to understand voice command in a clumsy sort of way, and to talk back in a slightly better fashion. Now the voice of Siri can acquire the eyes of PrimeSense, and that in itself could be a very big deal.”

Much more in the full article here.

“Given how long tech-land has been speculating about a genuinely breakthrough Apple version of a television, a device controllable with hand gestures seems like pretty yawn-inducing anticlimax at this point,” Rob Walker writes for Yahoo News.

“amsung’s Smart TV already features this concept; and while Microsoft has already pushed the idea of an Xbox/Kinect combo as no-buttons alternative to the remote control, that’s a notion that hasn’t exactly set the world on fire,” Walker writes. “Most reviewers still find it clunky, at best.”

“Unless Apple has cracked it, the gesture-controlled iTV might be a red herring; or this might be another case of Apple improving upon a janky existing technology (MP3 players, touchscreen smartphones) and perfecting upon it, making it indispensable and obvious,” Walker writes. “The bottom line is that it’s possible Apple might have something in mind that none of us is clever enough to deduce. After all, that used to be the Apple hallmark: telling the consumer marketplace what we wanted before we could even conceive of it.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple, late to the gesture game, tries to catch up with PrimeSense acquisition – November 25, 2013
Analyst: Apple’s PrimeSense acquisition sets stage for future Apple television products – November 25, 2013
For what will Apple use PrimeSense’s 3-D motion sensing tech? – November 25, 2013
Apple confirms acquisition of Israel’s PrimeSense, company behind Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect, for $350 million – November 25, 2013
Why is Apple buying the company that invented Microsoft’s Kinect? – November 18, 2013
Apple in talks to acquire PrimeSense – November 18, 2013
Apple in talks to buy Israel-based PrimeSense, company behind Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect, for $200 million – July 16, 2013
Apple’s latest patent is a game-changer for iPad – August 20, 2013
Apple partners with TV industry on ‘grand vision’ – July 18, 2013
Report: Apple could have obtained Kinect technology before Microsoft – November 5, 2010

21 Comments

  1. If you think about it devices seeing you, hearing you and talking to you are the beginnings of real artificial intelligence. A robot needs to be able to process these things in this way to be able to function. The iRobot isn’t far away…

    1. “[Apple] actually does have some vision for a future other than refining its current products as viable competitors get closer to matching or surpassing them.”

      I have a hard time ignoring just how loaded this introductory statement is. I mean, seriously, this kind of statement is what Phil Schiller was addressing when he said “Can’t innovate anymore, my ass.”
      It sounds like the rest of the article is potentially friendly, but this starting premise is pretty annoying in its implicit bias.

  2. I so can’t wait for the next big thing from Apple. Even so, I know I’ll have to wait. It’s just going to be mind-boggling. Until then, I’ll be like a kid waking up on Christmas morning. These pundits who haven’t figured out yet that Apple is the only company capable of blowing us away with the things we don’t even know we need…Poor schmoes writing for a paycheck. That’s all.

  3. I’m a skeptic when it comes to using gestures in general for divide control. Essentially, it’s pretty limited (unless, of course, the thing could understand ASL). But awareness of human physical expression is a different thing. As humans we understand a lot about the people around us because of our conscious to unconscious awareness of body language. This, in machines, could be unnerving!

  4. “Imagine a device that watches you as you watch it. It can see how your heart throbs when certain shows, celebrities or sporting events go on the air. Based on that, it will be able to customize what content it offers up to you. It will also see what you do during commercial intrusions and monitor how you respond when a new character is introduced into a series…”

    This is by far the creepiest and most absurd idea I have heard in a very long time!

  5. Apple sees the potentials of both voice controls and 3D displays, and intends to deliver them in their not-clunky, user friendly, inevitable form. Voice commands must be separated from background noise and unrelated chatter, and understood to come from a specific person. 3D visuals must be visible without color-distorting glasses to every viewer in a room, based on the position of every viewer’s eyes.

    Accomplishing either of these requires precisely locating and tracking where viewers and speakers are in relation to the device.

  6. Y’all have it all wrong.

    PrimeSense is not an Apple TV play.

    It is not a gesture capture play at all.

    Gesturing doesn’t work in front of a TV or anything else. You look like a clown that’s all.

    Apple is having such a hard time with Siri, the last thing they need to do is to aggravate it.

    PrimeSense is a play for the Apple Watch. It’s a biometric play. To measure what your body is doing. PrimeSense can remotely measure your heartbeat and your pulse. Now is it beginning to make sense?

    (From an insider who knows.)

    1. “Now is it beginning to make sense?”

      Nope and what does, “PrimeSense is a play for the Apple Watch” mean? Are you saying Apple is going to bake PrimeSense into a watch?

      What watch? You’ve seen “the watch” and now you see a connection between this acquisition and the rumor of a watch? 😉

  7. Y’all have it all wrong.

    PrimeSense is not an Apple TV play.

    It is not a gesture capture play at all.

    Gesturing doesn’t work in front of a TV or anything else. You look like a clown that’s all.

    Apple is having such a hard time with Siri, the last thing they need to do is to aggravate it.

    PrimeSense is a play for the Apple Watch. It’s a biometric play. To measure what your body is doing. PrimeSense can remotely measure your heartbeat and your pulse. Now is it beginning to make sense?

    (From an insider who knows.)

    1. Call me skeptical, insider who “knows,” but Apple is not having such a hard time with Siri. I’m no longer an insider so I can only speak to the outside I do see: kids and adults all around me are successfully using Siri for all kinds of tasks.

      1. I turned the bitch off!

        She’s easily overwhelmed by ambient noise. I see people everyday holding up the mic to their lips talking in brisk tones, trying to play a song, or dial a number.

        She’s confused easily, but I haven’t given up hope for her. She’s in my life, but only under optimum conditions.

        Try talking to her in a movie theater!

  8. Read my heartbeat? Then why not read me into the computer so I can traverse a virtual 3D world in the same manner Google’s Street View puts you center stage.

    Is it such a leap to think I could walk around in either First Person or even over the shoulder of my virtual self while using Apple’s tech? I think not.

  9. uh oh ..i see intelligent sex toys …but not too intelligent ..don’t want your sex toy to be a killjoy. multi-billion $$$ market. you just know someone’s gonna go after it. maybe not apple porn …but i can see maybe a little apple sauce, tee hee hee

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