Apple Acquires Israeli Facial Recognition Startup RealFace
Feb 21, 2017 09:47 AM EST
A significant step on Apple Inc's hopes to feature facial recognition on its devices' security has finally been cemented. Reports are now indicating that the Cupertino-based firm has officially acquired Israeli startup firm RealFace.
As cited by Business Insider, Hebrew-language site Calcalist has reported that the Californian tech company has bought RealFace, an Israeli startup that specializes on facial recognition technology. The firm currently focuses on technology that aspires to replace passwords or log-in credentials with facial recognition. This mechanism will allow enable users to unlock their devices or applications with just an aid of their faces. It has also developed the now discontinued app called Pickeez that collated its subscribers' best photos across all platforms using its facial recognition software.
Meanwhile, The Times of Isreal has shared that Apple has purchased the Tel Aviv-based company for a en estimated $2 million while Calcalist has noted that the firm was snapped up for "several million dollars". The acquisition of RealFace couldn't have come more beneficial for Apple as it readies its forthcoming flagship smartphone iPhone 8. The upcoming device is speculated to ditch its Touch ID functionality and its physical home button in favor of the new facial recognition feature. The new feature will reportedly showcase a front-facing 3D laser scanner.
Apple's acquisition of RealFace marks as the company's fourth time to buy an Israeli-based firm. In 2011, it acquired the flash memory maker Anobit for a massive $400 million. This followed the acquisition of 3D sensor company PrimeSense for $345 million in 2013. A year after, Apple bought LinXn for an estimated $20 million. During the same year, the company was granted a patent for "locking and unlocking a mobile device using facial recognition," a feature that has yet to appear in their upcoming devices. As of this writing, the company has not made it official whether the groundbreaking feature will indeed be making its debut on the next iPhone.