Apple has recently purchased a French startup named Regaind, an image analysis company that could add powerful new features to your iPhone or iPad photo library. Notoriously secretive about its corporate acquisitions, Apple confirmed the move with its customary terse boilerplate statement about such matters to TechCrunch: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
Regaind claims it can actually look inside your photos and “extract game-changing insights from your images,” perhaps meaning that their AI recognition and sorting algorithms will bring some sort of order to that sprawling mess of photos stored on your iPhone.
Apple added intelligent photo search features in iOS 10 with the Memories feature, allowing you to automatically organize images based on categories, such as “cats” or “vacation.” You can also search for specific people, places, or things in your photo library.
Regaind promises a far more in-depth analysis, with technology that assesses the “technical and aesthetic value” of your photos. A new photo management system for your smartphone or tablet could conceivably gather and sequence visually similar photos, select the most striking image from a burst shot, or even automatically create a video or slideshow using the best photos from thousands of images.
Then there’s the facial recognition API that Regaind has developed, which can detect the age, gender, and even emotions of faces in a photo. Apple may already be using some of this technology for the iPhone X Face ID recognition features, as well as the much-touted Animoji, custom messages that are derived from your voice and facial expressions.
Apple is tight-lipped about what specific role Regaind will play (or is already playing) in products such as the iPhone X, but it’s an interesting move that may signal a focus for the company in the upcoming years. If you’re still on the fence about the iPhone X, we recently got our hands on one and put it through its paces. There were some things we liked, and a couple things we didn’t.
Pre-orders for the iPhone X (which could top 50 million, according to some accounts) begin October 27, and the new device itself lands on store shelves November 3.