Apple, which went on a buying binge last year, kicked off its 2014 acquisition spree with the buyout of SnappyLabs, creator of the SnappyCam app which allows the iPhone’s camera to take fast high-resolution photos.
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The deal was confirmed by Apple in a statement to Re/code. “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
TechCrunch, which first reported the acquisition, says SnappyCam is a one-man shop started by John Papandriopoulos, an electrical engineering PhD from the University Of Melbourne “who invented a way to make the iPhone’s camera take full-resolution photos at 20 to 30 frames per second — significantly faster than Apple’s native iPhone camera.”
The $1 SnappyCam app has been a top-seller on Apple’s app store, and the rapid-fire, burst mode photo shooting technology could help distinguish the iPhone and iPad from rival devices.
The acquisition makes sense for Apple, which has generally acquired smaller companies with interesting technology and small teams. Apple CEO Tim Cook used some of the company’s nearly $150 billion in cash last year to acquire 15 companies in the fiscal year ended in September, three times as many as in fiscal 2012. According to Bloomberg, the tally for 2013 alone was 10 companies. The list (below) includes technology for mapping, social media analytics, low-power chips, and motion sensing hardware, among other things. While Apple didn’t reveal any of the transaction details, the company reportedly paid $200 million on Topsy Labs and $350 million on Primesense.