Apple has acquired Israeli imaging startup LinX Imaging for £13 million. It is a lot smaller than the recent £11.25 billion Nokia acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent and LinkedIn’s acquisition of Lynda.com for £1 billion, but it might mean an awful lot for the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus coming later this year.
LinX has been working on small sensors with multi-aperture functionality. The startup claims it has revolutionised the current mobile camera, going beyond what other sensors can offer.
It is a big claim, considering Sony has invested a hefty amount into image sensors. Apple, Samsung, Motorola and LG all use Sony’s sensors in their own devices, but that might change this year with the LinX acquisition, at least for Apple.
Apple could have its hands on an imaging sensor capable of DSLR quality level photos, without the bulk of a normal £1,000 camera. It is a gamble, but Apple tends to make low-cost gambles with high rewards, like its £240 million acquisition of AuthenTec allowing them to build Touch ID.
It is moves like this that give Apple the illusion of “revolution” on mobile, without most people thinking it was just some buyout. This time, it looks like Apple is being more forward with its approach, confirming it acquired LinX a few months ago.
When asked why, Apple declined to comment. It would seem the technology LinX possess is of great importance to Apple’s iPhone effort, after two years with the same 8MP iSight camera.
Even with the upgrades to the camera, we suspect Apple needs some new features to make customers excited. The S model is normally where camera upgrades are first tested, before being added to the new in line.