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Rumor: Apple Almost Bought Kinect in 2008

Fascinating rumor posted by Cult of Mac today: according to author Leander Kahney, Apple almost acquired the company behind today’s Microsoft’s Kinect controller in 2008. According to the rumor, Inon Beracha, CEO of Israeli company PrimeSense, had been visiting many companies in the Silicon Valley to sell the technology, developed by engineers in the Israeli military.

Based on cameras and an infrared sensor to recognize users’ movements in space, Beracha thought Apple would be interested in applying the technology in its products.

In fact, he’d already had several meetings at Apple. It was the first place he and his engineers thought of. “It was the most natural place for the technology,” he said.

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 Beracha to sign a stack of crippling legal agreements and NDAs.

Due to Apple’s usual secrecy (but I guess that with such a technology in your hands, you want to use some secrecy – especially in the Valley) the deal didn’t go through, and Microsoft eventually used the motion-based technology to deploy Kinect, formerly known as Project Natal.

In the meantime, you can also check out a video detailing how Kinect actually works below.

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