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Apple Buys Israeli Tech Co. (22/02/2017)

Israel’s reputation as a center for tech innovation just got a substantial boost thanks to the world-famous creator of the iPhone.

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Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing at Apple Inc, discusses the iPhone 7 during an Apple media event in San Francisco, California, U.S. September 7, 2016. (REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach)

In a multi-million dollar deal Apple has purchased Israeli startup RealFace, which develops facial recognition technology, reported financial website Calcalist on Sunday.

The deal could represent a part of Apple’s AI strategy, as Tel Aviv-based RealFace specializes in biometrics, and hints at the possibility of facial recognition being a part of the next iPhone.

RealFace was founded in 2014 by Adi Eckhouse Barzilai and Avi Mader, and released its first product that year, called “Pickeez”, an app that helps users identify their best pictures through facial recognition.

The small Israeli company has managed to raise $1 million dollars since its launch.

Although exact numbers have not been revealed, reports indicated that Apple spent “several million dollars” on the company, which has only ten employees.

Rumors suggest that Apple is trying to eliminate the iPhone “home button”, which is currently needed to unlock your phone via fingerprint or password identification. The technology that RealFace specializes in could be the answer.

The India Times noted that last year Apple released an AI research paper that focused on image recognition, titled: “Learning from Simulated and Unsupervised Images through Adversarial Training.”

According to Calcalist, this is the fourth Israeli company that Apple has purchased since 2011. That year it bought flash memory card designer Anobit and it has since acquired a 3D sensor company, PrimeSense, and camera tech company LinX.


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