PrimseSense specializes in motion controls and gestures used in gaming consoles, but they have been focusing lately on the creation of mobile equivalents. They had already unveiled their progress in the Nexus 10 tablet during a Google conference earlier this year.
It is interesting that Google’s competitor managed to snatch up the company, but not surprising. Apple has been showing interest in motion and voice controlled software for some time. They filed their first patent on the technology in 2011 with the Real Time Video Process Control Using Gestures. It allowed you to move files from one device to another using hand movements.
Why did they wait until 2013 to purchase a company dedicated to this aim? Most likely to see the developments that would be made, and how they would be received. With the popularity of the Wii, and the continued existence of the Kinect, Apple will need to get on board. Because rumors of both their expansion into gaming (outside of mobile alone), and further work on their Apple TV, are floating all over the tech world.
This purchase (for $350 million) seems to solidify those rumors. PrimseSense 3D sensors have a range of 3.5 meters. It is the perfect space for a living room, and so seems to point to a coming set top box. Or, if other whispers are correct, a combined TV/console/internet browsing device.
Apple TV has never been very successful, but the company isn’t giving up. There is no way these sensors would only be used for navigating a streaming TV. Games have to be a greater focus this time around, or else what would be the point? Could this be their first tentative steps out of minor cloud supported games, such as you would find from an app, and a real video game bid?
There is also a chance that they will be embedding this technology in their mobile range of devices. PrimseSense was doing plenty of experimentation in that area to make it a reasonable assumption that the iPhone 6 or next iPad will have some form of motion capabilities. Just look at how fast we saw the fingerprint technology after their 2012 acquisition of Authentec.
We will have to find out. But speculation is rife that the fruits of this labor will be hitting the market sometime within the next year. So we are unlikely to have long to wait before Apple comes forward with news of their coming device.