Apple's latest business move is expected to improve its camera game.
As pointed out by Bloomberg, new public filings indicate Apple has acquired Spectral Edge Ltd.—a U.K. startup that specializes in smartphone camera technology. The filings show Apple attorney Peter Denwood recently took on the role of Spectral Edge director, while the company's other board members and advisers were terminated, thus leaving Apple in full control.
Though it's unclear how much the tech giant paid for the acquisition, Bloomberg reports SE raised more than $5 million in funding last year; this suggests the deal didn't put much of a dent in Apple's budget.
SE was formed in 2011 from academic research conducted at the University of East Anglia. According to a 2016 report by TeleCrunch, the company is primarily known for developing computational photography technology, which blends "data captured by a standard camera lens with an infrared shot of the same scene in order to enhance the depth and color of the photo." This technology is particularly useful for photos that were taken in a hazy setting or when subjects are overexposed.
"It’s bringing extra detail into the picture that you can’t necessarily see with a normal camera," MD Christopher Cytera told TeleCrunch. "Because infrared penetrates through mist and fog much better than visible light. And so when you have a picture with a little bit of mist, little bit of fog you get a much more stunning effect."
Because Apple has yet to address the acquisition, it's unclear if SE's infrared technology will be implemented in upcoming iPhones. SE is also based in Cambridge, England, where Apple has multiple offices dedicated to artificial intelligence development.