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What Apple’s latest acquisitions can tell us about its product pipeline

Sure as summer turns to fall, sure as pizza is the most delicious food, sure as a shark will devour whatever lies in its path, Apple is once again gobbling up smaller companies. In the past few weeks, we’ve heard of at least three acquisitions that Apple has made recently.

Whether it’s because the companies have developed some sort of technology that Apple wants for itself (or to deny its competitors) or because the Cupertino-based company is looking to hire more people with certain specialities, Apple tends to acquire smaller companies regularly. According to comments from Tim Cook last year, it’s at a rate of roughly one company every two or three weeks, which is, well, a lot of acquisitions.

While you can’t always draw a straight line from the firms that Apple decides to buy to actual shipping products, I do believe that there’s information to glean from what technology catches the company’s eye in terms of what it’s interested in and where it’s putting its energy. With that in mind, let’s take a look at those recent three purchases and see what there is to see.

Putting the AI and AR in Camerai

Apple’s focus on photography vis-a-vis the iPhone has been one of the driving forces of its smartphone development ever since the device was first introduced. Every year has seen attempts to push the envelope of what the iPhone camera can do, whether it be multiple lenses, additional photo modes, or improved camera hardware.

And with Apple’s more recent push in augmented reality, it’s no surprise that the Israeli

camerai Camerai

Apple’s aquisition of Camerai could be for its efforts in AR.

startup Camerai found itself in Cupertino’s crosshairs, sitting as it does at the intersection of those two areas of interest. Camerai provided a framework for apps to implement features, some of which are similar to those Apple already offers—namely, a portrait mode powered by machine learning identifying certain objects in the photo. But Camerai also offered features like “skeleton tracking,” which uses technology to detect where the joints are in a body, something that could be of great interest to those developing AR apps. (And, given that Camerai’s acquisition seems to have been a while back, may already be implemented into the upcoming AR pose detection features in iOS 14.)

It seems clear that Apple has plenty of significant AR and photography enhancements in the pipeline, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see this manifest in the form of camera features with better abilities to recognize (and thus optimize pictures of) not only people, but also potentially more types of scenes and objects. iOS already does a lot of work behind the scenes in how it takes great pictures, and acquisitions like this only help make Apple’s camera smarter.

Spaces to grow

Apple has for a long time had a feature called Spaces, which allows you to maintain multiple desktops on your Mac.

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