John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

iNority Report: Apple Buys Face-Recognition Co.?

Apple is reportedly close to acquiring Polar Rose, a Swedish company that specializes in face-recognition technology–if it hasn’t already. A pair of reports in the Norwegian and Swedish media claim Apple has bought up all shares in Polar Rose, presumably with an eye toward building its facial-recognition technology into mobile devices like the iPhone.

Polar Rose’s offerings don’t require as much processing power as other recognition engines, making them well-suited to mobile phones and the like. More interestingly, they’re powerful enough to identify faces in live photos and video (see clips below). And there is a world of potential applications for that if Apple (APPL) were to incorporate it into iOS, whether it be as a further enhancement to the Faces technology used in its iPhoto and Aperture applications or as some sort biometric security measure. Recall that one early prototype of the iPad was believed to use a camera and facial recognition to differentiate between different users’ faces, switching out personal settings each time the device changed hands and allowing it to be shared within a family.

Is Polar Rose the acquisition that could make that a reality? It’s certainly possible–assuming there is, in fact, an acquisition. And at this point, that’s unclear. Neither Apple nor Polar Rose will comment on the rumored deal. If they do, I’ll update here.


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December 28, 2013 at 12:05 pm PT

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik