Apple Acquires Israeli Camera Tech Company LinX Imaging for ~$20 Million

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Apple has purchased Israeli camera technology company LinX Imaging for approximately $20 million, reports The Wall Street Journal. LinX specializes in creating multi-aperture camera equipment for mobile devices and it's possible that Apple will use the company's technology in upcoming iOS devices.

Last year, LinX announced the launch of miniature multi-aperture cameras half the height of standard mobile cameras with the ability to create "stunning color images and high accuracy depth maps" for SLR image quality without the bulk of an SLR camera.

The image quality of mobile cameras has reached a dead end. Device makers are striving to differentiate using imaging capabilities but the pixel size race has ended and next generation cameras do not reveal any dramatic improvements. LinX cameras revolutionize mobile photography and broaden the usability span and user experience, allowing us to leave our SLRs at home.

The engineers at LinX have solved all problems associated with combining multiple images captured from different points in space such as registration errors and occlusion related artifacts which are seen on competing technologies.
LinX's technology uses software to extract depth information for each pixel to create a depth map for that can also be used for 3D image reconstruction. LinX's website is now defunct, but the company offered products with two, three, and four camera arrays in multiple configurations and sizes. Its most recent technology was downscaled enough to be ready for use in mobile devices.

LinX technology includes several other improvements Apple could potentially take advantage of, including multiple sensors for a smaller size, better sensitivity to light, and greatly improved image quality in low light.

There have been rumors suggesting Apple's iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus will offer much improved dual-lens camera technology with image quality on par with SLR cameras, which could be made possible through mobile camera advancements like those LinX Imaging has worked on.

Camera improvements and iPhone photography have always been important to Apple, and its iOS devices routinely offer highly competitive picture taking capabilities that often outclass devices from competing companies. In the past, major improvements to camera technology have come in "S" release years, so it is likely we will see at least some boost in picture quality in the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.

Apple confirmed the purchase of LinX Imaging with its standard acquisition statement, given to The Wall Street Journal: "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."

Article Link: Apple Acquires Israeli Camera Tech Company LinX Imaging for ~$20 Million
 

Albright

macrumors regular
Aug 23, 2011
120
178
So if you make an app to apply filters to and share smartphone photos, that's worth $1 billion, but if you make the actual hardware to take those photos, that's only worth $20 million.

Sometimes I really hate this industry.
 
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NYC Matt

macrumors newbie
Jul 27, 2011
14
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Breaking - Kuo predicts new cameras

Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst with a history of predicting the blindingly obvious, predicts that future Apple products will contain this camera technology.
 

kemal

macrumors 68000
Dec 21, 2001
1,638
1,800
Nebraska
Only $20M? I would suggest all tech startups also create a streaming music service.

Seriously, Apple needs this tech.
 

thelookingglass

macrumors 68000
Apr 27, 2005
1,925
348
SLR quality from an iPhone would be flat out terrific. The iPhone already takes incredible pictures as is. The only thing I want from it is good depth of field on certain shots.
 

oneMadRssn

macrumors 603
Sep 8, 2011
5,303
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So if you make an app to apply filters to and share smartphone photos, that's worth $1 billion, but if you make the actual hardware to take those photos, that's only worth $20 million.

Sometimes I really hate this industry.
It's more like, if you make an app that has 50 million registered users that create their own content, most of which compulsively check for new content several times per day, translating into 50 million sets of eyeballs for ads, it's worth $1 billion; but if you make comoditized hardware that can be ripped off by any competitor because patents are becoming worthless, that's only worth $20 million.
 

chrmjenkins

macrumors 603
Oct 29, 2007
5,322
154
CA
I just heard this, the move away from Sony it seems.
I don't know the full extent of their technology portfolio, but I'm guessing the image sensors are not directly made by them and that we can assume this doesn't necessarily boot Sony out of the equation.
 

AdonisSMU

macrumors 604
Oct 23, 2010
6,641
2,221
It's more like, if you make an app that has 50 million registered users that create their own content, most of which compulsively check for new content several times per day, translating into 50 million sets of eyeballs for ads, it's worth $1 billion; but if you make comoditized hardware that can be ripped off by any competitor because patents are becoming worthless, that's only worth $20 million.
That sounds about right. Users are much harder to generate. Companies don't have control over what users are doing. They do have control over wether or not they will rip off your IP.
 

dannyyankou

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Mar 2, 2012
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techwhiz

macrumors 65816
Feb 22, 2010
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It's all cool, but let's stop pretending; it's not SLR quality.

Sensor size does matter. You will never get the performance of an SLR out of a small sensor.
 

KazKam

macrumors 6502
Oct 25, 2011
490
1,649
... with image quality on par with SLR cameras, ...
Sorry, but the reason you won't get "image quality on par with SLR cameras" isn't because of the sensors or resolution, it's because of the lenses. The quality, quantity, and size of glass you can fit into a phone or compact camera is the bottleneck and the reason phones and compacts still haven't, and probably won't replace SLR-sized camera platforms for a loooooong time for professional quality images.

You can pack as many sensors as you want at resolutions that are stupid-high, but all you're capturing is as good as what's coming through the "glass".
 

Col4bin

macrumors 68000
Oct 2, 2011
1,727
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The mobile phone industry (and consumers) are finally acknowledging that stuffing 5,000 mega pixels into a mobile device doesn't really make for a better picture, more a marketing gimmick. It's all about F/stop aperture, larger image sensors, and better quality optics. This is a great move by Apple. Hope to see this tech integrated into the iP7 when I'm next due to upgrade. :D
 

Bhatu

macrumors regular
Apr 1, 2013
167
85
They may put a small LinX in future watches and macs for facetime.
 

2457282

Suspended
Dec 6, 2012
3,327
3,014
This is terrible news. I was hoping for minimum updates on the 6s and planned to skip it. Therefore I used the saved money to buy the watch. Now, I will stew with envy for a year until I can buy the 7. :mad::eek::D
 

solamar

macrumors regular
Dec 30, 2008
179
72
Hopefully this will mean the end of the camera bulge on the iPhone. Multiple half height sensors should do it.
I don't mind the bulge.. don't care at all.. I use a ultra slim case and even that completely negates the bulge. :rolleyes:

I especially don't mind if it gets us SLR level photography. :eek:
 

576316

macrumors 601
May 19, 2011
4,056
2,556
So if you make an app to apply filters to and share smartphone photos, that's worth $1 billion, but if you make the actual hardware to take those photos, that's only worth $20 million.

Sometimes I really hate this industry.
It's down to which makes more money and is more popular.
 

LordVic

macrumors 603
Sep 7, 2011
5,559
12,090
Sorry, but the reason you won't get "image quality on par with SLR cameras" isn't because of the sensors or resolution, it's because of the lenses. The quality, quantity, and size of glass you can fit into a phone or compact camera is the bottleneck and the reason phones and compacts still haven't, and probably won't replace SLR-sized camera platforms for a loooooong time for professional quality images.

You can pack as many sensors as you want at resolutions that are stupid-high, but all you're capturing is as good as what's coming through the "glass".
its a combination of sensor and lense.

its a matter of physics and how light reacts. So you're not wrong, but you can't discount the sensor.

simply put, photography works by absorption of light. the more light, the better. that means, bigger better glass, bigger better sensors.

Smartphones are limited in both the Glass and the Sensor size. unless someone invents a way of defying the laws of physics and light behaviour, you will never be able to match the larger format cameras.

however, thats not to say that modern smartphone cameras aren't completely capable of handling some impressive things.

I will never trade my DSLR in for a smartphone camera, but I appreciate having the ability to take HD Shots from my pocket
 

Ries

macrumors 68020
Apr 21, 2007
2,215
2,633
It's down to which makes more money and is more popular.
The hardware guy has no idea if his idea will take off or not.

The "website" with million of users, even thou not profitable, knows that each users information and activity is worth something, so he can say pay me x$ for each user i have.
 

6836838

Suspended
Jul 18, 2011
1,536
1,325
You'll never get SLR performance out of tiny lenses. It's simple physics. As for optical telephoto lenses, erm...
 
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