Apple is furthering its machine learning and artificial intelligence efforts with another acquisition. The Cupertino behemoth has now acquired Tel Aviv-based cybersecurity firm RealFace, specializing in facial recognition technology.
The deeds of this potential transaction haven’t been disclosed by either party. But Calcalist (a local Hebrew language publication) says that the deal is worth “several million dollars” whereas Times of Israel reports it to be only worth a couple million dollars. This is being reported as Apple’s fourth Israeli acquisition.
Further, the speculation of this acquisition adds weight to recent reports of Apple working on the integration of facial authentication technology into one of their upcoming iPhones. And it could possibly be the 10th Anniversary iPhone 8 or iPhone X, as it is currently being referred as. It is not intended to be used for Augmented Reality applications, to start with.
RealFace was set up by Adi Eckhouse Barzilai and Aviv Mader back in 2014, with the aim of building “frictionless authentication & login with the worlds best face recognition technology.” The company wishes to make deep learning-powered biometric logins customary and passwords redundant while unlocking your mobile device or PC. And RealFace’s technology is said to be highly accurate, and can be used in most situations and not just the ideal ones.
To make the aforementioned statement a reality, the company is said to have picked up around $1 million before its acquisition. It had offices both in Israel and United States before its potential acquisition. RealFace employed close to 10 staff members that helped build the first product, a mobile app called Pickeez. This app employs recognition technology to automatically choose the user’s best photos from every platform on the interwebs.
Prior to this acquisition, Apple has acquired numerous other machine learning startups working in different domains. It has acquired a Seattle-based machine learning startup called Turi for close to $200 million. Cupertino also acquired TupleJump, an India/US based machine learning company with a mission to simplify data management technologies. And the company has also dipped its toe in the AR/VR space with the acquisition of Flyby Media, back in early 2016.
We’ve reached out to both Apple and RealFace for more information on the transaction and will update you once we hear back from them. But, RealFace taking its website as well as social media accounts offline adds more weight to the speculations.