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Tales From The Future. I picked my nickname because many advisors and investors claim they can predict the future of the (stock) markets and somehow pick the winners. I don't. I usually do not engage in short-term trading and myopic analysis (quarter by quarter, without looking at the big... More
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  • AAPL And Primesense: It Could Be More About Mobile And AR Going Mainstream  4 comments
    Nov 26, 2013 5:19 PM | about stocks: AAPL, STM, INVN, NXPI, ARMH

    Apple rarely spends a lot on acquisitions - especially given its huge cash balance. The company prefers to buy out small teams or companies.

    In this context, Primesense (a 3D HW and SW sensing company based in Tel Aviv) was one of its larger acquisitions; in fact it was one the largest in recent years at about $360 million*:

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mergers_and_acquisitions_by_Apple

    It's therefore worthwile to have a closer look at the company.

    Since Primesense first came to prominence as a technology supplier for Microsoft's first Kinect device (a camera accessory for its XBox 360 game console), many observers may think that Apple bought the company to (finally) advance its offerings in the living room - where AAPL still refers to its Apple TV box (on sale at $99) as a "hobby".

    MSFT in the meantime switched alliances and bought a Primesense competitor back in 2010 to advance Kinect and include it in XBox One:

    Microsoft said on Friday that it was buying Canesta, a small Silicon Valley company that specializes in gesture-recognition technology.

    Interest in this technology has surged because it lets people control computers and other devices through hand movements and other bodily gyrations, in similar fashion to the systems depicted in futuristic films like "Minority Report."

    Canesta makes chips that, when coupled with a digital camera, give all manner of devices a sense of depth perception for the world around them, letting them "see" in three dimensions.

    www.nytimes.com/2010/10/30/technology/30..._r=0

    So will AAPL merely follow suit and create a new Apple TV on steroids?

    I think AAPL could have more in mind with Primesense (although Primesense technology coupled with in-house AAPL technology such as the Siri assistant could of course show up in future Apple TV iterations):

    Primesense recently gave demos of its new mobile sensor named "Capri". It is basically a shrunk-down Kinect version for mobile devices:

    PrimeSense's newest 3D sensor and most recent technology, the Capri, is a system-on-a-chip small enough to be incorporated into mobile devices and laptop computers. According to PrimeSense, the Capri enables a mobile device to "see the world in 3D," letting users interact with their surroundings, "blurring between the real and virtual worlds."

    A demo of the Capri at Google I/O earlier this year focused heavily on the augmented reality applications of the technology rather than gesture-based uses. The Capri is able to scan a full environment in 3D, including furniture and people, providing an on-screen representation. It is also able to measure virtual objects and provide relative distances and sizes, which could have a number of uses in interactive gaming, indoor mapping, and other applications.

    www.macrumors.com/2013/11/25/beyond-tele.../

    I invite every AAPL share shareholder to spend the 7 minutes and look at the "demo of Capri" video linked in the quote above.

    These may only be crude first demos hobbled together for a 2013 technology conference - but imagine the technology further shrunk down in iOS mobile phones and tablets - with an army of experienced iOS developers in the AAPL ecosystem and a myriad of app ideas.

    With two giants working (or at least rumored to work) on HW, namely

    - GOOG with Google Glass (I see more possibilities for Glass in B2B environments for now, the design still looks quite awkward or "dorky" for mainstream consumer use in my opinion)

    - AAPL with a rumored "iWatch" or a similar wearable device**

    the days of mainstream AR (Augmented Reality) thanks to mobile devices with more sensors and cameras could be soon become reality.

    We will probably find out more in late 2014 or in 2015. Also keep an eye on potential suppliers like STM, INVN, NXPI and ARMH.

    The odd one out would be MSFT who pioneered the technology in the living room - but maybe MSFT is also secretly working on integrating the technology in future Win phones (née Nokia) thanks to Canesta.

    ______________

    * AAPL rarely releases M&A details unless it is required to do so by law. This number is only an estimate like most M&A deals involving AAPL as the buyer. Please see the linked Wikipedia article for more numbers/estimates and sources. This was M&A deal number 50 for AAPL (as counted by Wikipedia at the time of the writing) since 1988. Arguably the best ever was on February 7, 1997 (NeXT acquisition).

    ** I wrote an earlier Instablog entry about the potential of an Apple iWatch (or a similar wearable device) here:

    seekingalpha.com/instablog/5760541-tftf/...-ii

    The list of applications in transactions and identification, local search and mapping, health/fitness - and now AR (including entertainment) thanks to Primesense - is long.

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Comments (4)
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  • Tales From The Future
    , contributor
    Comments (5787) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Addition: I didn't mention Samsung in the article but the Korean company also incorporates gesture support on its high-end TVs and smartphones already.

     

    In my personal opinion, its features are quite "gimmicky" in comparison to the more robust and extensive Kinect features offered by MSFT on game consoles.

     

    Another interesting article on Primesense and competing ecosystems from Samsung and Microsoft was recently penned by SA member Quoth The Raven:

     

    http://bit.ly/1csz2G1

     

    I recommend it for further reading (includes Samsung links).
    26 Nov 2013, 08:21 PM Reply Like
  • Tales From The Future
    , contributor
    Comments (5787) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Another addition about Microsoft's plans in this area:

     

    Back in 2012, there was a leak regarding the XBox 720 (which turned out to be the XBox One released in late 2013) and the new Kinect:

     

    "Kinect v2 Sensor (2013) - Better 3D Play Space (closer, wider, deeper); Improved Voice Rec.; 4 Player tracking; Dedicated Processing; Improved HD "

     

    The MSFT document also discussed a "Project Fortaleza", AR or 3D glasses with a 2014 and 2015 release date attached:

     

    "Fortaleza (Kinect 3D Glasses) in 2014 with WiFi for living room; by 2015 it will have a cell radio/4G for use everywhere"

     

    http://bit.ly/183rQAi

     

    Plans may change, but this shows MSFT is also working on glasses and AR. MSFT may even step up the game since it soon owns NOK's hardware assets.
    30 Nov 2013, 01:21 AM Reply Like
  • Tales From The Future
    , contributor
    Comments (5787) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Another interesting article on this:

     

    "Apple, PrimeSense And Perceptive Computing Or: Why Your Phone Will See In 3D"

     

    ...

     

    "It's becoming clear that perceptive computing - devices that are aware of us and their surroundings - is going to be the next big thing in portables. The things we carry with us are getting more ways to gather and interpret data and being able to perceive and leverage 3D space is the hurdle that many major mobile companies have chosen to leap next."

     

    http://tcrn.ch/INRCQ6
    4 Dec 2013, 01:04 PM Reply Like
  • Tales From The Future
    , contributor
    Comments (5787) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » I don't have time to write another article, so just a short comment as an update:

     

    Concerning MEMS / wearables, these two companies should also be looked at:

     

    - STM
    - INVN

     

    Both hold interesting patents in the area (and battled each other in court in the past about these patents):

     

    http://bloom.bg/1fkaJMS

     

    While STM is a much larger company, INVN (not just because of its physical proximity to AAPL) could be an interesting partner for AAPL.

     

    INVN is another company to watch in 2014+ in this space.
    11 Dec 2013, 11:58 AM Reply Like
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