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Arm-wave bye BYE! Apple grabs Kinect flail-sensor maker for $345m

Does fruity firm want fanbois to gesticulate at Apple telly?

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Apple has reportedly snapped up the Israeli firm responsible for the motion-sensing chip and hardware used in Microsoft's Kinect device.

According to the Israeli newspaper The Calcalist, Apple has finalised the acquisition of Primesense for an estimated sum of $345m. An official announcement is expected in the coming weeks.

This valuation estimate was later confirmed by AllThingsD, although it also quoted an unnamed source which said the price could end up being $20m more.

In a statement, Primesense said: "We are focused on building a prosperous company while bringing 3D sensing and Natural Interaction to the mass market in a variety of markets such as interactive living room and mobile devices. We do not comment on what any of our partners, customers or potential customers are doing and we do not [respond] to rumors or re-cycled rumors."

Earlier this year, Calcalist reported that Apple was looking to wolf down PrimeSense and had offered it $280m.

PrimeSense worked with Microsoft on the Kinect, but Redmond went on to build the device itself after licensing the 3D motion-sensing hardware and chip.

It's easy to see why Apple might want to get its hand on the Israeli firm's technology. First, Apple has already shown an interest in non-traditional ways of controlling devices, after introducing a fingerprint sensor to the iPhone 5S.

Secondly, if you look at the way Apple has been looking to manufacture its own sapphire glass screens and by designing its own chips based on the ARM core rather than contracting out that design to Samsung, it makes sense that Apple would want to own the tech rather than licensing it out indefinitely.

Thirdly, Cupertino might want it for Apple TV, to cut back on the number of buttons on both the unit and its controller, perhaps by encouraging fanbois to gesticulate at the telly to control it.

PrimeSense first pitched its tech to Apple way back in 2008. We first reported that Apple was interested in buying up the Israeli firm in July last year. ®

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