Apple is paying about $20 million to acquire LinX Computational Imaging, an Israel-based company that focuses on designing and selling tiny cameras for use in mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
The deal was reported in an April 14 story by The Wall Street Journal, based on unnamed sources who had knowledge of the transaction.
According to its Website, LinX "brings revolution to mobile photography" on smartphones, tablets and Ultrabooks through state-of-the-art multi-aperture imaging technology. LinX combines innovative image processing and advanced sensor and optics technology to create cameras that offer improved image quality, better low-light performance, improved color fidelity and less shutter lag than competing technologies, according to the company.
LinX also claims that its cameras are "significantly smaller than any camera on the market today, leading the way to DSLR performance in slim handsets," while also acquiring "very accurate depth information" for improved and more detailed images. LinX devices are also able to better refocus an image after it has been captured, compared with devices offered by competitors, according to the company. LinX was founded in 2011, The Journal reported.
For deep-pocketed Apple, the acquisition of LinX is apparently just the latest investment expenditure from its huge cash holdings of some $178 billion that's available for expansion and research. In January, Apple announced its best-ever financial quarter, posting $74.6 billion in revenue and $18 billion in net profits for the first fiscal quarter of 2015 due to a consumer frenzy of sales of its latest iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones, Mac computers, and apps and more in the company's App Store. That revenue tally is a 30 percent increase from the $57.6 billion in revenue that was posted for the same quarter one year ago, while the $18 billion in net profit was up 37 percent from the $13.1 billion net profit that was posted in the same quarter one year ago.
In March, Apple acquired the startup behind the Foundation DB database in a move that could be aimed at helping Apple continue to improve and support its own services to its own customers. Financial terms of the acquisition were not announced by the companies. FoundationDB is a high-performance database that provides NoSQL and SQL capabilities for users. Such databases have become more popular in recent years compared with traditional relational database management systems because they better serve the emerging generation of interactive applications, according to an earlier eWEEK report. NoSQL databases offer the flexibility, scalability and performance that today's Web and mobile app developers demand.
Apple has been spending some of its huge cash pile on other ideas, as well. In February, it was learned that Apple has been looking to diversify its business into electric car production, possibly by 2020, as it explores new business opportunities outside its core consumer technology and computer, tablet and smartphone businesses. The electric car efforts were revealed in Feb. 19 reports by The New York Times and by Bloomberg based on anonymous sources who described the project as growing and in a "prototype phase."
The company has been hiring people over the last several years to expand that effort, according to the reports.
Electric cars aren't the only electricity topic on the company's agenda recently. Also in February, Apple unveiled its plans to purchase $848 million worth of solar power for its corporate use over 25 years from a solar power facility that is being built in Arizona by First Solar as part of its goal to combat climate change by cutting its reliance on fossil fuels.