Apple's purchase of PrimeSense

Apple has completed an acquisition of the Israeli firm PrimeSense, a sensing company whose technology has powered Microsoft’s popular Xbox Kinect for Xbox 360. (Microsoft moved to an in-house technology for the Xbox Kinect for Xbox...

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Apple has completed an acquisition of the Israeli firm PrimeSense, a sensing company whose technology has powered Microsoft’s popular Xbox Kinect for Xbox 360. (Microsoft moved to an in-house technology for the Xbox Kinect for Xbox One).

For the consumer market, Apple’s purchase opens up a number of tantalising product possibilities:

  • Apple TV. The long-rumoured Apple television set - as well as the long-extant AppleTV set top device - could both benefit from motion-sensing and depth/color sensing, particularly for next-generation interactive television applications.
  • Mobile and wearable products. PrimeSense has made a strong effort to miniaturise its components, and the next logical step would be to embed its technologies into mobile or wearable computing products. While often seen as a motion-sensing technology, PrimeSense is at base a depth- and color- perception technology that could potentially someday be used to recognise people - or to help the blind navigate the streets.
  • Customised e-commerce. In 2011, I wrote a report suggesting that Kinect and other sensing technologies could be used by companies to offer mass customised clothing and furniture. Imagine scanning your house - or your body - to receive custom-build cabinets or bespoke clothing shipped to you in short order. PrimeSense technology can already empower these mass customised scenarios.

Perhaps just as interestingly, PrimeSense powers a number of interesting enterprise technology solutions. Apple has traditionally proved averse to articulating an enterprise-specific marketing and sales strategy, preferring to focus on end users - be they consumers or workers. But PrimeSense’s enterprise portfolio is meaty, including (but not limited to) a number of vertical scenarios:

 

Ultimately, Apple’s acquisition of PrimeSense gives the company additional ammunition in the drive to innovate its products - as well as a new foothold in the enterprise-focused technology market.

To learn more about PrimeSense and companies like it, Forrester clients can check out this report by Michael Yamnitsky and Sophia Vargas.

Posted by JP Gownder
JP Gownder, a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research serving Infrastructure & Operations Professionals. Follow him on Twitter at @jgownder.

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