Apple’s recent acquisition of UK-based photography startup Spectral Edge could improve the iPhone’s camera taking capabilities. While details of the purchase are not out yet, though it is clear that Apple now fully controls Cambridge, UK-based Spectral Edge. Bloomberg reports that Apple’s corporate lawyer Peter Denwood has been named as the director of Spectral Edge. The startup’s website and social media handles have been taken down.
Established in 2014 by researchers at the University of East Anglia, the startup developed an “image” fusion technology that uses infrared photos and machine learning to produce photos with more details. So essentially the proprietary technology takes advantage of artificial intelligence to improve photos.
Back in 2016, the company’s managing director Christopher Cytera told TechCrunch that using infrared imaging and machine learning resulted in improved images in mist and foggy conditions.
The secret sauce is being able to combine… the infrared with the visible light picture in a way that’s pleasing,” he adds. “There’s been other techniques to combine the two in the past but they don’t end up with pictures that are nice to look at,” said Cytera.
It remains to be seen if Apple’s future iPhones get this camera technology. There’s a chance Apple could put infrared cameras into a future iPhone. Interestingly, Spectral Edge previously said that its camera technology can be applied to both hardware and software.
Over the past months, Apple has focused a lot on improving the camera taking capabilities of the iPhone. It recently launched the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro with possibly the best camera in the industry. Apple also managed to impressed critics with effective Night Mode and Deep Fusion, a new computational photography feature for the iPhone 11 series.