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Apple acquires company behind Star Wars SFX

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Apple now owns one of the hottest facial recognition companies in town.
Apple now owns one of the hottest facial recognition companies in town.
Photo: Faceshift

When you go to theaters to see the latest Star Wars movie, the special effects — particularly the faces of aliens — will now be driven by Apple technology. That’s because Apple has purchased Faceshift, a Zurich-based company that has created cool tech to capture a person’s facial expressions in real time.

Apple acquires big data company to help improve iCloud

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Hacker who tried to extort Apple for $100k is spared prison
Apple is trying to improve its iCloud services. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Rightly or wrongly, iCloud is one of Apple’s most regularly criticized products (speaking personally, I’ve never had any major problems with it, but I use Google’s rival service far more.) It seems that Apple is more than aware of the negative feedback, however, because it’s in the process of improving the back-end infrastructure needed to support its cloud-based services.

Firstly, the company bought FoundationDB, a Virginia-based startup, which specializes in handling large chunks of data very quickly. Now a separate report claims that Apple acquired U.K.-based big data analytics firm Acunu sometime in late 2013, with the likely effort of using its database technology for providing analytics related to iCloud services.

Apple Acquires Closed Video Search Startup Matcha

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Matcha

Apple has acquired Matcha, a second-screen video search and recommendation service that was recently closed, for a fee believed to be between $1 million and $1.5 million.

Matcha was previously available as an iOS app, and it allowed users to get an overview of everything they could watch on a variety of cable TV networks and video-streaming services. But the service was closed back in May as it focused on a new direction — one which will now be controlled by Apple.

Apple Acquires Canadian Mapping Company Poly9

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Apple has settled claims with state regulators who allege the company mishandled electronic waste.
Apple has settled claims with state regulators who allege the company mishandled electronic waste.
Photo: Thomas Dohmke

Speculation that Apple may be preparing to build its own mapping application gained strength Wednesday on a report the Cupertino, Calif. company acquired a Canadian online mapping developer. If true, the report could be the latest skirmish between the iPhone maker and Internet giant Google.

French-Canadian news site cyberpresse.ca wrote Wednesday Apple purchased Quebec-based Poly9 and moved employees to Cupertino, Calif. The company’s website is also offline, as well as Poly9’s chief product, Poly9 Globe. The product, which operates in a web browser, lets users find their location on a 3D globe. Websites, including Skype.com reportedly offer the service.

Although there is no official comment by Apple, the Canadian report said Poly9 was “recently” acquired and it Quebec headquarters closed. The company’s customers include Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, MSNBC and NORAD.

The purchase could be the next step in Apple developing its own mapping application for the iPhone and iPad. In 2009, Apple acquired Placebase, a Google Maps rival, as well as advertising for someone to take iPhone’s Maps “to the next level.”

[AppleInsider]

Amazon acquires self-driving startup that employs former Apple Car workers [Updated]

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Amazon buys self-driving car startup Zoox
More than a dozen Zoox employees worked on the Apple Car project before it was scaled back.
Photo: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory/Flickr CC

Amazon is buying Zoox, a self-driving car startup that employs at least 17 people who previously worked on Apple’s Project Titan.

The Information first reported the purchase of Zoox, and Amazon confirmed it Friday in a blog post. The deal could set Amazon back upward of $1 billion.

Apple TV+ could get new NFL Plus streaming alongside Sunday Ticket

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It seems the new NFL Plus streaming service could go to the bidder who wins NFL Sunday Ticket.
It seems the new NFL Plus streaming service could go to the bidder who wins NFL Sunday Ticket.
Concept: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Some sources suggest Apple TV+ has already signed a deal for the rights to NFL Sunday Ticket. Now a new report say the football league’s planned NFL Plus streaming service could sweeten the deal for Apple — or another winning bidder, as the case may turn out to be.

The two services together on Apple TV+ could offer fans a great selection of viewing options.