Apple has recently bought LinX, a startup camera manufacturing company based in Israel that produces multi-aperture camera modules that are capable of effects such as background focus blur, parallax images, and 3D picture capture.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the acquisition was valued at about $20 million. According to sources familiar with the negotiations between the two parties, Apple was reportedly targeting to have access to LinX's camera module hardware technology and use it to boost the capabilities of the tech giant's future smartphones and tablets.
The Israeli firm's camera tech not only has the potential to offer the types of background defocus usually featured on low aperture lenses paired with DSLRs, but it could also aid smartphone users in achieving enhanced low light performance, which would be very handy when capturing images in indoor settings, or during nighttime without having to use flash.
LinX utilizes a wide range of sensors that can take multiple shots at the same time, and combined with certain proprietary algorithms, its cameras can better ascertain depth and produce 3D image maps. As claimed by the startup firm in press releases, its technology can pave the way for more advanced camera abilities, such as background removal, 3D object modeling, and even facial recognition. Now, Apple has access to all of these, and will surely make the most out of them.
It is also quite possible that Apple is looking at adapting LinX's camera technology not only in its mobile devices, but also in its notebooks. Soon, we could see camera modules on laptops being replaced with components that bolster image capturing capabilities but without being limited by any size constraints. In other words, we can expect Apple devices to have improved camera qualities without bulking up.
One of LinX's strengths is in the area of selective focus post capture. Many modern devices nowadays have this option, and it appears that Apple will be making full use of it in its future mobile device offerings.
But perhaps the most significant thing that Apple can gain from its acquisition of LinX is the ability to produce high quality images in low light conditions -- something that has been plaguing smartphone makers for years. Sure, cameras on mobile devices have taken a big leap in recent years in terms of innovation, with Apple playing an important role in improving the quality of images that users can take using their smartphones and tablets. By buying LinX, Apple has put itself in a good position to continue to push the envelope in achieving better smartphone cameras.
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