Apple Buys LinX, A Camera Module Maker Promising DSLR-Like Mobile Performance

Apple has acquired LinX, an Israeli camera tech company whose most recent offerings include multi-aperture camera models which can enable effects like background focus blur, parallax images and 3D picture capture. TechCrunch received the following from Apple, which is a statement the company provides in lieu of confirmation when it has, in fact, acquired a smaller company:

Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.

The LinX acquisition was valued at around $20 million according to the Wall Street Journal, according to sources familiar with discussions between the two. The Israeli startup’s hardware was targeted at tablets and smartphones specifically, and could not only offer the kinds of background defocus that’s popular on low aperture lenses paired with DSLRs, but could also help achieve better low-light performance, ideal for taking pictures indoors or at night without using flash.

Apple’s plans could also include putting the tech to use in its notebooks, replacing those camera modules with better performing parts while respecting size constraints. This could be very handy in building devices like the MacBook, for instance, while retaining better picture quality. They could also potentially help push image quality while helping slim down camera design.

One of LinX’s big stated hardware features, according to the company’s own communications, is achieving selective focus post-capture. This is a popular option for modern devices, and one that Apple could benefit from in future devices. Still, the big advantages of the multi-aperture design for the iPhone maker are probably around producing the best results in terms of low light, HDR and color fidelity with general, everyday picture-taking.