iOS 4.1’s ability to take high-dynamic range photos has been a much buzzed about new feature particularly to amateur photogs looking to maximize the quality of their casual smartphone snaps, but Apple does not appear to have gone it alone: according to some excellent research done by MacRumors’ Eric Slivka, it appears that Apple acquired a small, Cambridge-based company called Imsense to bring the feature to an iPhone near you.
Before being bought by Apple, Imsense did business in a technology called “eye-fidelity” which used software algorithms to remap image tons in order to produce nearly instantaneous Dynamic Range Correction in both standard and HDR photos. While the iOS 4.1 implementation of HDR is done in the classical fashion of blending three separate exposures into a single image, Imsense’s Eye-Fidelity algorithms appear to be used in iOS 4.1 to further spruce the resulting image up and make the colors pop.
It seems surprising that Apple could make any move to buy a company and not immediately be found out, but it appears that the acquisition went down under everyone’s nose back in July, with three Cupertino officers named directors of Imsense on July 15th, 2010. Could Apple once again be getting a tight grip on the secrecy they’ve lost handle of over the past year?