Apple could have had Microsoft's Kinect controller?

Cult of Mac says PrimeSense, the company whose technology is behind Microsoft's new Xbox Kinect, originally tried to sell it to Apple. What went wrong and why didn't Apple get it? Yup, secrecy and control!

Apple has a history of interface innovation, of course, and had recently introduced the iPhone with its paradigm-shifting multitouch UI. PrimeSense’s system went one step further: It was multitouch that you didn’t even have to touch. Apple seemed like a natural fit.

Yet the initial meetings hadn’t gone so well. Obsessed with secrecy, Apple had already asked [PrimeSense CEO Inon Beracha] to sign a stack of crippling legal agreements and NDAs.

He shook his head. Why didn’t he want to do a deal with Apple? No need. The technology was hot. He could sell it to anyone.

I just got an Xbox Kinect and have been testing it out. The setup was a bit long and the only game I've tried so far is Kinect Adventure. (Farbod says Kinect Sports is better). We're standing about 7-feet away and it works well enough for a single player but has issues with 2 players. We lose the second player a lot. I'm going to try lowering the lights and seeing if we can increase the distance.

Contrast this with using the original iPhone's multitouch, which in my experience and in published tests is still not matched by other phones, and it's easy to see Apple did a great job and really polished the experience before they released it.

What would an Apple Kinect-style controller have looked like and how would it have performed? We'll never know now, but we can speculate in the comments! Minority Report iPhone anyone?

(Note: Image above is not really Steve Ballmer using a Kinect, but it's funny to pretend.)

[Cult of Mac]

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Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector, Review, and Isometric podcasts, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Dow.

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Reader comments

Apple could have had Microsoft's Kinect controller?


Maybe Apple knew that Microsoft was interested... and thought to themselves "it's gotta be junk if they want it. :lol:

I got the Kinect and the software and adapter itself is amazing and does a great job. The key as to any piece of hardware is software that makes it shine...right now the game's don't do it justice..but once dev's get into this thing and we see more 360 like games using the technology and less Wii style'll be a huge deal in innovation. There's only so much the Wii can do...but the Kinect opens the doors to developers big time!

That's funny...there was a time not to long ago when Apple was on the hunt for innovations, and Microsoft was the one to turn off a private developer with corporate arrogance.

Last place I thought I'd be reading about Kinect. Is it really that cool? I have a Wii but I barely play it. Being an old school and more hardcore gamer I'm still of the mind that they will have to pry the dual analog controller from my cold dead hands.

What would it have looked like if Apple had gotten the technology. That's a slowball question. It would have worked perfectly, but required that everyone wore special Apple clothing.

Matt b
without being a PS3 fanboy, explain to me the things you find BETTER in PS3 Move.
I love my PS3 dont get me wrong, but the move totally sucks. its a Wii wanna be.
Kinects camera resolution and how it titlts and follows you around is amazing.
PS3 is just fine without Move, the only game that remotely gets an enhancement with Move is Heavy Rain

"imo playstation move is way better than kinect"
don't do anyone else on this blog a favor by actualling substantiaring yourself. Have you used Playstation Move? Kinect? Do you own either? Do you feel it was worth your investment? How could Apple have better used PrimeSence?
I can hardly believe that ur comment is your grand summation of thoughts on the issue.
PS: man that really bothers me. It's like spam. If I wanted to listen 3rd grade opinions, I'd ask my neice what she thinks of Apple passing up on PrimeSence? Her answer " Uncle Dave, I like Apples." Yeah sweety, and Matt likes playstation move.

I have Kinect, Wii, and PS3's Move. Kinect is by far the most innovative and forward thinking of the three. The only question is will they actually make a good game using kinect for hardcore gamers or will they continue to make only family oriented games...

I think that maybe Apple wouldn't have wanted it very badly. Look at what they're doing and where their products are going. They don't make GAMES. They make cool platform. Apple wouldn't go making a built-in game for the device and it would take awhile for some good games to come out. For Apple, TV is what they want for the TV. I could go on but won't bore you. It's like Apple was in a electronics store. Just because it does a cool trick and people think Apple should want it doesn't mean they actually would.

Why would they want it when they have the iPod Touch Apple TV iPad and iPhone. Think about this Air Play game to tv play with iPod Touch view on TV how cool is that going to be.

I think it would have been for the apple tv to navigate it, or I think they would have used it for the Mac, so you could set it on top, and navigate.

Kinect is alot of fun, I wish you could control more stuff with hand gestures like the dashboard and Netflix is not support yet.

I've to confess, I've been a huge Venture Natal/Kinect sceptic ever because it was introduced with that sham Milo walkthrough and an terrible lot of hyperbole. I have been trying to keep an open mind however the numerous rumours which have circulated about space, lighting and multiplayer issues have been a cause for concern. The advertising choice that Microsoft took to place this within the fingers of mainstream journalists and celebrities moderately than anyone who actually has experience and expertise writing about gaming was extraordinarily worrying.