Apple reportedly buys UK startup Spectral Edge to improve iPhone photos

iPhone 11 Pro camera
iPhone 11 Pro camera (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple reportedly bought UK-based startup Spectral Edge.
  • The company uses machine learning to improve photo quality.
  • Crisper images with more accurate color are expected.

Apple has bought UK-based startup Spectral Edge, according to a new Bloomberg report.

While Apple hasn't confirmed the purchase, filings made in the UK show Apple lawyer Peter Denwood was recently named as a company director while other board members have been removed. Bloomberg doesn't know how much the buyout cost.

The move appears to be one aimed at improving the quality of photos that future iPhones take. Spectral Edge reportedly uses machine learning to improve image clarity and color reproduction.

Spectral Edge uses a type of AI called machine learning to make smartphone pictures crisper, with more accurate colors. Its technology takes an infrared shot and blends it with a standard photo to improve the image.

Interestingly, Spectral Edge previously said that its technology can be applied to both hardware and software, suggesting it may arrive as a software update for older or existing phones in the future.

Apple is no stranger to taking multiple shots of a scene and then merging them to create something new and, importantly, improved. Its recently released iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro phones are its strongest yet in terms of photography and it seems intent on making sure that's a key differentiator in the future.

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

2 Comments
  • "Interestingly, Spectral Edge previously said that its technology can be applied to both hardware and software, suggesting it may arrive as a software update for older or existing phones in the future." That's not any different to how Google, Samsung and Apple currently have been improving their camera quality. It's by software. They could choose to improve older models by software but choose not to for the money. So there's nothing new there. I honestly think Apple bought the company more for the people who work there and less for what they've already done.
  • You can get a lot of third-party camera apps which utilize the power of the phone to improve the pictures a lot too. I recently bought the Spectre camera app, which greatly improves night-time photography through the power of software.