Apple Acquired Camera Sensor Company InVisage Earlier This Year [Updated]

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Oct 25, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple has reportedly acquired or at least hired some talent away from InVisage, according to the blog Image Sensors World. The report, citing two unnamed sources, claims the deal was closed in July of this year.


    Beyond the sources familiar with the matter, there are only subtle clues that Apple may have scooped up InVisage.

    Image Sensors World, for example, highlighted that InVisage is no longer listed as a current investment in the portfolios of venture capital firms Nokia Growth Partners and InterWest Partners.

    InVisage also removed a news page and a list of employee profiles from its website, compared to an archived version from February. Many companies acquired by Apple in the past have simplified or even removed their websites.

    LinkedIn lists at least six Apple employees who previously worked at InVisage, although only two joined the company this year. One employee joined Apple as a hardware engineer in July, the same month as the rumored acquisition.

    InVisage also filed to register a manufacturing subsidiary in June with the state of California, where the company is headquartered, but it later surrendered the request and the entity was legally dissolved in early October.

    InVisage, founded in 2006 and based out of Newark, California, has developed new image sensor architecture with a dedicated QuantumFilm layer that can maximize a smartphone camera's light sensing capability.

    The company's website says QuantumFilm pixels have over three times higher dynamic range, allowing users to capture "supremely detailed images in almost any lighting condition where there is bright sky."

    InVisage's technologies could certainly be implemented as part of annual improvements to iPhone and iPad cameras.

    Update: Apple has confirmed its acquisition of InVisage in a statement provided to TechCrunch.

    Article Link: Apple Acquired Camera Sensor Company InVisage Earlier This Year [Updated]
  2. Appleaker macrumors 68020

    Jun 13, 2016
    It looks like this could result in quite a significant camera upgrade, without adding to the camera bump! It could be a while until we see this but it’s exciting nonetheless.
  3. nexesnex macrumors regular

    Sep 18, 2014
    Hmm, everyone should wait 3 years until the next big thing. Don't buy the iPhone X. Please don't buy it. Be sure not to order... I want to make sure I am able to get one :)
  4. Amazing Iceman macrumors 68040

    Amazing Iceman

    Nov 8, 2008
    Florida, U.S.A.
    A lighting condition requiring a bright sky is a very specific condition, not "almost any lighting condition".
  5. macduke macrumors G4


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    Sounds great. Between this and the Sony A7rIII announcement this morning, I'm feeling pretty stoked about the future of my photographic gear.
  6. Xavier macrumors 68030

    Mar 23, 2006
    I saw Sony's announcement as well. I think I am sold now on switching over!
  7. zubikov macrumors member

    Sep 3, 2014
    I wonder how they measure 3X more dynamic range. If an average camera does 10 stops, does this do all ~30 stops that the human eye can see? Or do they mean that the average HDR is +/-2 stops, and now this tech will allow them to do +/- 6 stops? In any case, I'm psyched if this tech ever reaches mass market!
  8. Andres Cantu macrumors 68030

    Andres Cantu

    May 31, 2015
    Rio Grande Valley in South Texas
    I wonder when we’ll get more than 2x optical zoom?
  9. agsystems macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2013
    Agree but if the OIS works they way they show in the demo video - this would be an incredible improvement.
  10. macduke macrumors G4


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    Yes! I am switching from Canon. I have older gear at home and will be upgrading that, but will still use Canon gear at work for the foreseeable future. I rented the A7rII this summer when I went on vacation in the Rockies and this new camera addresses nearly every single issue I had with that camera. Glad I waited, and even if it's not perfect, the image quality will be amazing. The inexpensive 28mm f/2.0 and 85mm f/1.8 rendered beautiful, sharp images on the A7rII and editing them on my 10.5" iPad Pro (and carrying it all in my compact Tenba mirrorless messenger bag) while traveling was a dream.

    I couldn't believe that they priced it that low relative to the A9 when it has many of it's features. On paper it looks almost too perfect, aside from the lack of 60fps 4K. Fortunately I don't record a lot of video and when I do it will probably be with my iPhone X which can do 60fps 4K. But it can also do 24fps which is nice for the cinematic look that I enjoy and it also does HDR. The only remaining issue that will probably be a problem for me is dust. Mirrorless cameras my nature seem to collect more dust inside since they don't have a mirror blocking the sensor when swapping lenses. I'll need to be blowing it out with my Giottos rocket blaster frequently when changing lenses since I've moved to mostly using primes and love shooting outdoors.

    I'm glad that companies like Sony are able to push innovation in the professional sector while Apple eats up the low end of the market. It's good to keep professionals several steps ahead of the general population, but I have to wonder how long before smartphones are able to mostly catch up by faking everything with ML and advanced image processing. Even hardware advancements like the one in this article will help make tiny sensors and lenses much more capable.
  11. Xavier macrumors 68030

    Mar 23, 2006

    I am going to sell all my canon stuff and make the switch. The a7rIII has everything I want in a camera (except maybe a faster FPS but I can make do as I don't do a lot of fast motion sports) and the video capabilities are perfect. While I would like to shoot 60fps at 4K, I also don't want to deal with ingesting that large of a file and don't need to do it for what I do. 30fps will work for me at 4K. And it's almost $2K more to get the very similar A9.

    Lens are competitively priced as well. I would probably like to do what I have currently, a solid shorter range zoom, an 85mm, and then a long lens. Couple this with an a6500 and you've got a super nice, and very portable setup. All would fit in a small bag. That is a HUGE selling point to me with mirrorless, and Sony in particular.
  12. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    Maybe "Almost any bright sky condition."
  13. Digitalclips macrumors 65816

    Mar 16, 2006
    Sarasota, Florida
    "QuantumFilm" .... Very useful for photographing a cat in a box ... /too deep?
  14. scrapesleon Suspended


    Mar 30, 2017
  15. taxiapple macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2009
    So when can we expect this to show up in an iPhone?
  16. MadeMyDay macrumors regular


    Sep 13, 2016
    Global Shipping
  17. ksnell macrumors 6502a


    Aug 26, 2012
    "60% of the time, it works, every time."
  18. a.gomez macrumors 6502a


    Oct 10, 2008
    There you go. lets buy another company that cant compete in their market. Sony and Samsung have been running circles around these guys for ages now.
  19. mi7chy macrumors 603


    Oct 24, 2014
    Seems to be somewhat matching the quality that Google Pixel 2 is shipping now.

    The fact that InVisage stopped making YouTube videos in 2015 and nothing has come to fruition after two years is worrying.
  20. Starfyre macrumors 68030


    Nov 7, 2010
    They had a factory back in 2015... is this technology in use in the iPhone already?
  21. thasan macrumors 65816

    Oct 19, 2007
    Looks like it incorporates a quantum dot layer. If that’s the case, not gonna be super ground breaking. Just improve sensing in poor lighting conditions.
  22. rGiskard macrumors 68000


    Aug 9, 2012
    Sort of an odd acquisition since Apple don't seem to care much about image quality. They currently use relatively small image sensors in even their $1000 flagship X so low light performance is poor compared to competition from Samsung and Pixel.

    Maybe they view the InVisage tech as a potential means for cheaper or smaller image sensors. That's more in line with their quest for thinner products with higher margins.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 26, 2017 ---
    Maybe, though I'd prefer to keep the camera bump and get improved image quality. Most people don't even think about the bump since with a case the camera remains sufficiently recessed to avoid scuffing. In my view it's Apple best recent iPhone design innovation because it's functional.
  23. Tech198 macrumors G5

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth
    interesting.... quantum film silicon...... goes together like a chocolate milk shake.

    Maybe, but it's "better images' You can either fail it, or make it great.
  24. Keirasplace macrumors 601

    Aug 6, 2014
    Considering that's a major problem with smart phones, them having microscopic sensors, it is "ground breaking".

    You could also shoot video at a very high frame rate with less degradation doing that (cause those frames get less light obviously).
  25. SactoGuy18 macrumors 68030


    Sep 11, 2006
    Sacramento, CA USA
    My personal guess is that Apple may have already gotten Sony to build prototype front and rear image sensors using this new technology. There's a small chance that the 2018 model iPhones may use this new sensor.

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