Xbox Kinect, the story of a product that could have been from Apple

Cult of Mac

The truth is that the cornerstone on which it works is based on a design and technology created by the Israeli company PrimeSense . Kinect was first announced in June 2009 under the name Project Natal, but only a year before it was Apple and not Microsoft who had the opportunity to get hold of it before.

Xbox Kinect, the story of a product that could have been from Apple
Xbox Kinect, the story of a product that could have been from Apple

So says Inon Beracha, PrimeSense’s CEO, whose main role at the company during its birth was to find a buyer who would be interested in this technology developed by a handful of Israeli army engineers. His first stop? Silicon Valley. The first door to knock on? None other than Apple’s… “It was the most natural place for technology” , says Beracha.

Apple has a long history of daring to try new things when it comes to interfaces rather than following the herd (and the first Macs with their graphical interface, the iPod with the click wheel and iPhone with its multi-touch interface prove it) so it’s not uncommon to think about why Beracha and his engineers thought of the apple first.

And what did they find? Well, pretty much what we experience as passengers on any airline when we have to go through the annoying and exasperating security checks at airports. “Apple is like a pain in the ass the executive laughs. Obsessed with secrecy , Apple tried to get Beracha to sign a bunch of intimidating legal and confidentiality agreements already in the first meetings.

And of course, the PrimeSense CEO flew to the nearest nest, Microsoft, in a panic. Why make life so complicated with all that paperwork when he had such an exciting and interesting technology in his hands and could sell it to another company for the same money? The birth of Natal was just around the corner, Kinect had flown from Apple to its eternal rival. The rest is well known to all.

Apart from this, maybe Microsoft should have been worried about signing some additional clauses. The latest news is that the exclusive on PrimeSense technology will disappear next year when we start seeing the first screens and computers with this infrared camera and sensor system on the market. Will Jobs believe in second chances?

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