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News Roundup: Apple Acquires Face Recognition Firm, FaceTime Blocked In Middle East & iPhone 4 Launch In China

September 21st, 2010 09:21 admin Leave a comment Go to comments

iPhone 4

Apple is reported to have acquired a Swedish face recognition technology firm, Polar Rose. According to TechCrunch, Apple has paid close to $29 million to the Nordic Venture Partners owned 15-person company.

Polar Rose is in the business of developing tools that aid face recognition for web as well as mobile applications. One of the core products from the company is FaceCloud that lets users recognize faces on photos posted on Flickr and Facebook.

It is worth noting that the company had shut down its free services less than two weeks ago noting that they were moving towards a licensing business.

Quite understandably, officials from neither Apple nor Polar Rose have commented on the issue so far. However, news of this acquisition is interesting considering that Apple had only recently purchased im-sense whose eye-fidelity technology assists the production of instantaneous Dynamic Range Correction on standard and HDR photos. The recent acquisitions could help Apple gain access to a range of technologies that can spruce up their offering in the area of photography and imagery. 

Checkout the demo videos of their mobile facial recognition app called Recognizr to get a glimpse of what we can probably expect from Apple in future iOS software updates:

FaceTime Blocked In Middle East?

Reports are coming in that suggest that Apple could be blocking the highly popular FaceTime video calling functionality on the new iPhone 4 when the device launches in the Middle East later this month. These rumors are following reported modifications made to the Apple's website for Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Yemen where the description and photos referencing to FaceTime have now been removed. Apple is yet to confirm the move.

iPhone 4

iPhone 4 Launching In China On September 25

Apple has announced that the new iPhone 4 shall go on sale in China starting September 25. In a media statement released yesterday, Apple said:

"iPhone 4 will be sold in China through Apple's retail stores for a suggested retail price of CNY4,999 for the 16GB model and CNY5,999 for 32GB model without a contract. At China Unicom stores, iPhone 4 will be available for qualified buyers with a new two year contract, sold separately. For pricing and tariff information please visit www.10010.com." 

Fortunately, iPhone 4 will come with Wi-Fi thanks to the easing of regulations placed earlier by the Chinese Government that restricted Wi-Fi access from handsets and instead encouraged the use of a homegrown wireless standard called WAPI.

It will be interesting to see how the iPhone 4 with Wi-Fi does this time round as last year China Unicom had reported opening weekend sales of only 5000 iPhones.

As always, please let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

[via TechCrunch, TUAW, MacRumors]

Source: News Roundup: Apple Acquires Face Recognition Firm, FaceTime Blocked In Middle East & iPhone 4 Launch In China

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