Apple buys Polar Rose face-recognition company

Apple has once again opened that $40+ billion bank account and, according to reports, purchased Swedish face-recognition company, Polar Rose.

The Malmö-based company specializes in developing technology which makes facial recognition, not unlike what Apple already has and uses iPhoto for Mac OS X. Through sophisticated algorithms, manages the software of the Arctic Rose to recognize faces in images and the company offers three different products using this solution. Two of the (Face Cloud and FaceLib) them seem to be very interesting for Apple.

Likely yet another talent and technology acquisition, will this simply be used to bolster the existing iPhoto/Aperture Faces feature, or could Apple have grander plans for facial recognition? They do have iSight on Mac and front-facing cameras on iPhone and iPod touch, and likely iPad as well soon.

[Mac1 via 9to5Mac, additional video via MacRumors]

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 10 comments. Add yours.

dloveprod says:

It would be cute if you could log into your pc with facial recognition, no more passwords, even better use it with browsers too.

Kick Butt Applications says:

That totally Kicks Butt!!!
A quick check on Polar Rose's website and it states that their free face-tagging service is closed and they are now focussing on licensing. No doubt! The commercial application potential is huge.
There is an iPhone app called Face Match but I believe it will only search through photos you've already taken or loaded on your Facebook page.

zen says:

FaceTime face recognition baby!

BobbyMcWho says:

Facial recognition login for your phone would be pretty cool

JNGold says:

Still waiting to see the fruits of the Siri and Lala purchases. :)

UntidyGuy says:

I'm sure the Swedish algorithm will be great at identifying white people.

Kick Butt Applications says:

The other big thing is that now that Apple owns Polar Rose (or most of it) Google doesn't, so you won't see anything like it on the Android anytime soon!

Trevor says:

@Kick Butt - that could be the more important part of this. I have no doubt Apple could engineer anything on their own, this only speeds the process. It does keep the competition from using it. Pretty soon iPhone will be the new business standard w/FaceTime. They just need ConferenceTime!

ahmed al-khuzae says:

@dion comment made my day lol ,browsers hhh
and i see how they could use this to finally change the lockscreen in the iphone
i mean ya sliding was awesome 4 years ago but now ,,whats next ???

Dexter says:

If companies implemented face recognition for security protocols, I would merely slice the person's face off that I need for security clearance and use that. Either that or decapitate them without any blood whatsoever because I'm talented like that.