Apple acquires startup developing machine learning to improve iPhone photography

Apple has acquired a startup in the UK that develops technology designed to improve smartphone photography. According to a new report from Bloomberg, Apple has acquired Spectral Edge for an undisclosed sum.

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Spectral Edge uses machine learning to “make smartphone pictures crisper, with more accurate colors.” This works primarily by taking an infrared image and blending it with a standard photo.

“Spectral Edge combines patented Image Fusion tech with Deep Learning to reveal more of the color, detail and clarity in any image,” the company explained in its pitch.

It’s pretty easy to see how Apple could implement Spectral Edge’s technology in the iPhone’s Camera app. Apple is already doing quite a bit of image processing to improve picture quality with things like Smart HDR and Deep Fusion.

Apple has not yet confirmed the acquisition, but Bloomberg cites various documents and filings that indicate Apple now controls Spectral. Those filings also indicate that Apple corporate lawyer Peter Denwood was named a director of Spectral, while “other advisers and board members were terminated.”

It’s unknown how much Apple paid for Spectral Edge. The company had raised over $5 million in funding.

Apple has made quite a few acquisitions throughout 2019 – that we know of. In February, Apple acquired digital marketing startup DataTiger. Perhaps most notably, Apple confirmed its acquisition of self-driving car technology in June.

Apple also often acquires smaller companies that go under the radar. In May, Tim Cook said that Apple had acquired 20-25 companies in the previous six months.

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