Apple Buys UK-Based Company 'Spectral Edge' to Bolster iPhone's Photographic Capabilities

Apple has purchased UK-based photography company Spectral Edge, reports Bloomberg. The Spectral Edge website is now defunct, but the company had developed a mathematical technique for improving photographic imagery in real-time.

Created in 2014 from academic research at the University of East Anglia, Spectral Edge's algorithm is able to enhance low-light smartphone images, something that could be potentially useful for Night Mode and other photographic capabilities in future iPhones.


Spectral Edge's technology captures an infrared shot and then blends it with a standard photo to make images crisper and to improve color accuracy. Bloomberg suggests that Apple could use Spectral Edge's machine learning techniques to further improve the quality of iPhone photos.

In court filings, Apple corporate lawyer Peter Denwood has been named a director of Spectral Edge, with other advisors and board members now terminated. According to Bloomberg, the documents indicate that Apple is now in control of the company.

There is no word on what Apple paid for Spectral Edge, and Apple did not respond to Bloomberg's requests for comment.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
24 weeks ago


Even if it's all software, you know Apple will tell us we need some future A-series CPU to take advantage of this new tech

You *DID* read the article, where they mentioned RGB-IR sensors, right? The whole article was about using IR to help make better pictures... And I don't think the current cameras have IR sensors in them...


On the smartphone front, Thomas says the company is waiting for consumer hardware to catch up — noting that RGB-IR sensors “haven’t yet begun to deploy on smartphones on a great scale”.

Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
24 weeks ago
Even if it's all software, you know Apple will tell us we need some future A-series CPU to take advantage of this new tech
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
24 weeks ago
The iPhone might be very thin compared to a dedicated camera, but there is always a "room" for improvement when it comes to software and mathematical voodoo.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
24 weeks ago


Even if it's all software, you know Apple will tell us we need some future A-series CPU to take advantage of this new tech

The iphone 11 pro uses a TON of horsepower to run the camera app with all the computation going on behind the scenes. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if they did need more headroom to fit a whole extra layer in to keep the UX from becoming choppy and laggy.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
24 weeks ago

Why are people so into improving the camera quality?

Because they can. Because iPhone cameras have not yet caught up to DSLRs, but continue to make progress. Because not everyone uses their iPhone camera just for instagram posts.

Every pic I've taken of my nieces growing up has been with an iPhone camera, because that's what I had with me at the time (I don't generally carry around a larger camera day-to-day). They'll never be that age again, so I'd like the best pics of them possible. And the pics from my iPhone 8 now are objectively better than the ones my iPhone 6 used to take (which were better than the 5 and 4 before it).

The first digital cameras took images we wouldn't want to use for thumbnails these days, but they were the best available at the time. Someday we'll look back at the images we're taking today and we'll think, "that was a great time, but those images are so coarse and grainy, I wish we had better pictures of that magical moment". So, the constant striving for better camera quality.

(And, yeah, a huge percentage of images taken are throwaways that don't need super quality - but you never know until some time later which were the ones that really matter.)
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
24 weeks ago
Got curious and found a video about the technique they use for the low light shots. Might be similar to what Apple is planning to do.

Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Leaker: Apple to Stick With Lightning Over USB-C for 'iPhone 12' Before Going Port-Less Next Year

Tuesday May 26, 2020 2:31 am PDT by
Apple will use a Lightning port instead of USB-C in the upcoming "iPhone 12," but it will be the last major series of Apple's flagship phones to do so, with models set to combine wireless charging and a port-less Smart Connector system for data transfer and syncing in the iPhone "13 series" next year. The above claim comes from occasional Apple leaker and Twitter user "Fudge" (@choco_bit),...

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.5 With Battery Health Management Features, Fix for Finder Freezing

Tuesday May 26, 2020 1:59 pm PDT by
Apple today released macOS Catalina 10.15.5, the fifth update to the macOS Catalina operating system that was released in October 2019. macOS Catalina 10.15.5 comes two months after the launch of macOS Catalina 10.15.4, which introduced Screen Time Communication Limits. macOS Catalina 10.15.5 is a free update that can be downloaded from the Mac App Store using the Update feature in the...

16-Inch MacBook Pro, iPad Pro, and iMac Pro With Mini-LED Displays Again Rumored to Launch in 2021

Tuesday May 26, 2020 5:30 am PDT by
Apple plans to release several higher-end devices with Mini-LED displays in 2021, including a new 12.9-inch iPad Pro in the first quarter, a new 16-inch MacBook Pro in the second quarter, and a new 27-inch iMac in the second half of the year, according to Jeff Pu, an analyst at Chinese research firm GF Securities. This timeframe lines up with one shared by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who recently...

Leaker Shares Details on 'iPhone 13' Camera

Wednesday May 27, 2020 4:27 pm PDT by
The next-generation iPhone 12 lineup coming in fall 2020 isn't out yet, but Fudge (@choco_bit), a leaker who sometimes shares information on upcoming Apple devices, today offered up details on what Apple has in store for the 2021 iPhone 13's camera setup. A simple design drawing depicts a device with a four camera array, which Fudge claims will have the following features: 64-megapixel...

Jailbreak Tool 'unc0ver' 5.0 Released With iOS 13.5 Compatibility

Sunday May 24, 2020 3:06 pm PDT by
The team behind the "unc0ver" jailbreaking tool for iOS has released version 5.0.0 of its software that claims to have the ability to jailbreak "every signed iOS version on every device" using a zero-day kernel vulnerability by Pwn20wnd, a renowned iOS hacker. The announcement comes just days after it was announced that the tool would soon launch. The unc0ver website highlights how the tool...

Apple Making It Harder to Avoid Nagging macOS Update Notifications

Thursday May 28, 2020 8:13 am PDT by
With the release of macOS Catalina 10.15.5 and related security updates for macOS Mojave and High Sierra earlier this week, Apple is making it more difficult for users to ignore available software updates and remain on their current operating system versions. Included in the release notes for macOS Catalina 10.15.5 is the following:- Major new releases of macOS are no longer hidden when...

HBO Max Now Available on Apple TV and iOS Devices

Wednesday May 27, 2020 2:42 am PDT by
HBO Max launched today, and is now available on Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad. WarnerMedia's new streaming service, which replaces HBO Now, combines HBO content with shows and films from Warner Bros and Turner TV. The service is available as a native app on the ‌Apple TV‌ HD and ‌Apple TV‌ 4K, but second and third-generation ‌Apple TV‌ owners will need to AirPlay HBO Max content...

First App Using Apple and Google's Exposure Notification API Launches in Switzerland

Tuesday May 26, 2020 3:02 pm PDT by
The first app that takes advantage of the Exposure Notification API developed by Apple and Google has launched in Switzerland, according to a report from the BBC. A team of app developers working on contact tracing app called SwissCovid have rolled out the app in a beta capacity for members of the Swiss army, hospital workers, and civil servants. After the app is tested and approved by MPs,...

Anker Launches $100 24K Gold-Plated USB-C to Lightning Cable

Wednesday May 27, 2020 12:47 pm PDT by
Anker, a brand normally known for its well-made, affordable accessories for Apple devices, has debuted a new $100 24K gold-plated USB-C to Lightning cable. According to Anker, the cable, which is in the PowerLine+ III family, features a "Special Edition Gold Design" that's "bold yet elegant" with the aforementioned gold-plated cable heads and matching braided gold and black cable. The...

Apple Reissuing Numerous iOS App Updates, Potentially Related to Recent 'This App is No Longer Shared' Bug

Sunday May 24, 2020 9:13 pm PDT by
Over the past few hours, a number of MacRumors readers have reported seeing dozens or even hundreds of pending app updates showing in the App Store on their iOS devices, including for many apps that were already recently updated by the users. In many cases, the dates listed on these new app updates extend back as far as ten days. Apple has not shared any information as to why updates for...