Microsoft pulls the plug on Kinect as Apple prepares to launch iPhone X with Face ID

“With days until the launch of the iPhone X and its Face ID camera array, Microsoft’s own motion sensing and facial recognition system for Xbox, dubbed Kinect, has been officially discontinued after a long period of languish,” Neil Hughes writes for AppleInsider.

“Kinect first debuted as an optional accessory for the Xbox 360 in the fall of 2010, amid a wave of motion-controlled gaming hype. The camera and microphone system found initial success, but quickly faltered as the technical limitations of the device became apparent in gameplay,” Hughes writes. “For Apple fans, Microsoft’s first Kinect for Xbox 360 is noteworthy because it was based on technology licensed from an Israeli company called PrimeSense. Apple eventually bought PrimeSense for $345 million in late 2013, paving the way for the Face ID technology that will debut next Friday in the iPhone X.”

“This week, Microsoft confirmed to Fast Company that it has ceased manufacturing of the Kinect hardware entirely. Given the lack of Kinect support on Xbox One, it’s not surprising,” Hughes writes. “The technology’s initial promise would ultimately go unfulfilled — at least in Microsoft’s hands.”

“Apple saw value in the same technology, but took a different approach,” Hughes writes. “Apple had very different plans, seeing the miniaturization of the same technology as the future. The purchase of PrimeSense proved to be part of Apple’s push to replace Touch ID with Face ID and TrueDepth.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Microsoft’s marketing budget for Kinect? $500 million. God only knows how much they blew on R&D, etc. Straight down the crapper! 🙂

There’s nothing new in this latest chapter of an age old story. As with the GUI, the portable media player, the smartphone, the tablet, the smartwatch, etcetera, in Microsoft’s hands, it’s a tangled pile of dry straw. In Apple’s, it’s spun into pure gold.

iPhone X and iOS 11 use Face ID to determine display of Lock screen notifications – October 13, 2017
Kinecting the dots: Why Apple bought PrimeSense – November 26, 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

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]


    1. And I’m sure *those* will take the world by storm (hint: people don’t want to wear headsets). /sarcasm

      Microsoft, as ever, just doesn’t get it. As much as I criticize Apple these days, Microsoft continues to make it so very, very easy. How Windows is still (or ever was, to me) a market leader is a real head scratcher.

      1. Why disparage the product before it even is on the market? As far as we know it could be a cross between a headset and spectacles leaning closer to the latter. As an AR platform it may tend towards helmeted displays but may fill an important niche not just in business but in sports.

        1. Because Microsoft has a long track record of producing mediocre or terrible products. This one will definitely NOT take off or even fill “an important niche” because is a clunky piece of hardware that no one in their right mind wants to be seen wearing in public. The iPhone will be that product because it will be in hundreds of millions of pockets.

          1. Why would they be wearing it out in public? It sounds like what Really is talking about are headsets used in a studio to do work or play. Since it appears to be tied to Win10 I don’t expect anyone to be outside with it on their head.

          2. Why would they be wearing it out in public? It sounds like what Really is talking about are headsets worn in a studio to do creative work or maybe for use in play with a PC or XBox. I wouldn’t have expected it to used outside since it appears to be tied to Win10. Sort of like a VR device that requires MacOS wouldn’t be seen commonly on anyone walking the streets if they had to lug a Mac around to use it.

            1. Fair enough, there may be a niche, but honestly I have no faith or interest in MSFT products. If by chance these products find a niche, I think it will be largely irrelevant to what Apple will achieve with AR and related tech through the orders of magnitude more devices that will be out in the wild and have apps being written for them in droves.

            2. Well, never really expected MSFT and AAPL to be competing in the same area for AR anyway. GOOG is most likely the competition in the public AR space, though they have also made a nice niche for their Business Glass product over the last 3 years.

      2. I don’t know what kind of future VR has overall, but for gaming it’s a niche I see growing.

        I haven’t used the new headsets on win10 but I’ve had a lot of fun with an HTC Vive setup running apps off of Steam VR.

        It’s an interesting and growing field.

    1. What successes? In truth they get unquestioning publicity around their manufactured successes. Kinect was talked up for years even before it launched, by the press at present Surface is being fawned over yet is so far a total failure in the market with returns on dome products unsustainable reliability is do poor yet that is hardly mentioned. Then there’s the various iterations of their phone platform which regularly got unquestioning positive promotion in the media parroting without objective questioning of claimed seamless Win10 experience which never arrived while playing down its other innate limitations. And don’t even talk to me about the zune hype that totally ignored the realities of that device/platform in real world use. Indeed without the often mindless support from press and analysts over the years one has to doubt the company could have survived at all.

      It’s less than a year ago I read how the company was once again on the up under its dynamic leader out innovating the opposition. Since then the phone business has been dumped leaving it limping around like a 3 legged dog in a quad aped world and now Kinect goi g the same way. And even talk of Surface being dumped though I personally doubt that unless losses get unmanageable. But what did happen to that desktop sensation with that stupid puck thing you stick on the screen, that the ‘experts’ were fawning over as the future, the only relief for them is that the less they sell the less they lose no doubt. Truth is the cloud and Azure is their saviour but as things stand that’s not very sexy for the non tech press to report on whatever the advertising dollars, in traditional style try to bribe out of them to do so.

  1. I just have to laugh at the apologists on here regularly slagging off Apple and praising the likes of Microsoft by comparison though to be fair a lot less in recent times. I mean the disasters that are Microsofts efforts at innovation are legendary. I like many remember the pre launch hype regarding Kinect with the unimaginable AI interactions it was going to offer that would transform the computer world let alone the games world. We had it many times before and various times since and inevitably they turn out as duds that never get close to the hype. And yet they never get the a fraction of the criticism Apple gets even when stories are fabricated or mis-directed. Maybe it’s just an Apple mis step still surprises while for Microsoft it’s a totally precictable cycle, expectation, hype, launch, manipulated reviews, disappointment, failure, scrap… Repeat.

  2. The only R&D Microsoft did, AFAIK, was the write software drivers , APIs and provide IO hardware in the Xbox. The Kinect box itself already existed on the market before MS bought the rights. IOW it’s another case of own, neglect and killed IP, a common tale of woe.

    So, how come I keep thinking of Siri? Hmm. 😏

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