Report: Apple buys PrimeSense, the maker of the original Kinect sensor

PrimeSense's "Carmine" 3D sensor

PrimeSense’s “Carmine” 3D sensor

After countless rumors pointing to an acquisition, Apple has finally pulled the trigger and bought PrimeSense.

According to a report by AllThingsD, Apple purchased the Israel-based manufacturer of 3D sensing products for around $360 million. Neither company has discussed the terms of the deal.

If PrimeSense’s name sounds familiar, that’s because it made the sensor that powered the original Kinect for the Xbox 360. That doesn’t mean Microsoft is out of luck for the Xbox One, though. The company has switched to its own proprietary sensor for its next-generation console, powered at least in part by the company’s acquisition of Canesta, one of PrimeSense’s rivals.

Still, that raises a question: what does Apple want with PrimeSense? It could hope to turn the Apple TV into something similar to the Kinect, which would allow users to control the company’s set-top box with gestures. Apple could use that capability to take its AirPlay mirroring technology one step further, and allow owners of an updated Apple TV to control a mirrored iPhone or iPad by waving their arms around.

There’s also a possibility that Apple plans to use PrimeSense’s expertise to add 3D sensing to its mobile devices. Amazon is rumored to be working on a smartphone that uses four front-facing cameras to track where its owner’s face is and adjust the screen accordingly, and Samsung is already implementing gesture control into some of its devices.

What do you think? Where should Apple go with PrimeSense’s tech?