It was recently reported that Apple was on the verge of acquiring PrimeSense, the brain behind the first Kinect motion camera device that made Microsoft's Xbox 360 so popular. Now, Apple has confirmed the deal, triggering speculations that it will launch the much-rumored Apple TV soon.
The purchase indicates that Apple is interested in incorporating motion features in its rumored Apple TV device, or in future iMacs and MacBooks. However, Apple declined to comment on the purpose behind the acquisition. "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans," said Apple spokesperson Kristen Huguet, who confirmed the deal to AllThingsD.
Globes, the first website to report the acquisition, said the final purchase price is somewhere between $300 million and $350 million, while AllThingsD sources said the final purchase price is around $360 million, which is a lot, but pales in comparison to the $3 billion offer Facebook made to Snapchat. Rumors of a buyout began to circulate back in July via Calcalist, and resurfaced back again this month via the same source.
For the moment, Apple isn't saying much about its purchase of PrimeSense, but we can speculate that Apple is testing a Kinect like motion sensor for a future Apple TV-related product. Or, it could be possible that Apple might, in the near future, release a product that will compete with Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4 for control of the game console market. Per 9to5Mac, PrimeSense is also working on smaller components for mobile devices. If true, we could very well see an iPhone or iPad with a motion sensing camera in the future to come. It would be really interesting to see which of the two - Microsoft or Apple - is the first to bring such a product to the market.
It's not difficult to see that the next big battle is for the living room as Google, Microsoft, and Apple are all seeking to be the dominant player in this space. Google attempted to control the living room in the past with its Google TV initiative, but it failed to take off substantially. Microsoft has also been trying this since the days of the first Xbox, and with the Xbox 360. While the Xbox 360 went on to do well, it was not seen as a device fit for the living room. Its successor, the Xbox One, which comes pre-packed with the Kinect motion sensor camera and also have the ability to control your TV by bypassing the cable box, is being touted as more of an all-in-one entertainment device than a stand-alone game console.
It is not certain what are Apple's plan for the living room, but it could very well be the Apple TV.
However, Apple won't have it easy. It will have to deal with Microsoft and Google. And, let's not forget the cable providers, who are unlikely to go down without a fight.