Apple has picked up an Australian start up called SnappyLabs, developer of the high-tech photo app SnappyCam.
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The app lets iPhone users capture full-resolution images at up to 30 frames per second, much faster than what the native iPhone can do. TechCrunch first reported the transaction, which was confirmed by Re/code.
As per the case with Apple’s acquisitions, the company is not commenting beyond confirming to Re/code that the deal happened. Exactly how it will use SnappyCam is anyone’s educated guess (more on that in a minute) but some recent stats from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project point to who Apple expects to target.
The survey, released in October 2013, was Pew’s first time asking about photo sharing apps Snapchat and Instagram.
Predictably both are much more heavily used by youth than older adults.
Pew found that among cell phone users, 26% of 18-29-year-olds say they use Snapchat; that figures drops to an astoundingly miniscule 5% among 30-49-year-olds; 3% in the 50-64 crowd and 2% among those 65 and older.
Some 43% of 18-29-year-old cell phone owners use Instagram. Instagram’s base, though, isn’t as heavily skewed as Spapchat’s is: 18% of respondents in the 30-49 age group use Instagram.
So here’s the theory: Apple is seeking to make deeper inroads among younger people with the less expensive 5C, later models will sport SnappyLabs-like technology to further make its case.
And here’s another: one likely driver behind the deal is the SnappyLabs’ talent—and what may have in the pipeline, not necessarily on the market. In this case, the “talent” is John Papandriopoulos, an electrical engineering PhD from the University of Melbourne who hit upon a strategy that essentially reinvents the JPG image format.
According to TechCrunch:
By bringing Papandriopoulos in-house, Apple could build this technology and more into its iPhone, iPad, Mac, and MacBook cameras. Photography is a core use for smartphones, and offering high-resolution, rapid-fire burst mode shooting could become a selling point for iPhones over competing phones.