Apple acquires SnappyLabs for quick-shot photography

Jan 5, 2014
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Apple acquires SnappyLabs for quick-shot photography

This week the folks responsible for picking up companies at Apple have made a purchase - the SnappyLabs group responsible for quick-shot photos in iOS devices. This app was titled “SnappyCam” and can still be accessed for a short time - if you’re rooted. As for the real-deal app on the iTunes App Store, you’ may very well be out of luck. Until Apple incorporates the app’s abilities into their own naive camera app, that is.

What we’re seeing first is the disappearance of the SnappyCam app earlier this week. Their websites were erased from the earth, and anonymous sources spoke with TechCrunch on the matter, suggesting that Apple had scooped up the whole lot. It wasn’t long after this set of events that Apple confirmed with Re/code that they’d picked the site up with their usual note:

”Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do no discuss our purpose or plans.” - Apple

The SnappyLabs founder let it be known that their next-generation handling of JPG files. A blog post from the founder contained the following on the subject - until recently, of course:

”First we studied the fast discrete cosine transform (DCT) algorithms … We then extended some of that research to create a new algorithm that’s a good fit for the ARM NEON SIMD co-processor instruction set architecture. The final implementation comprises nearly 10,000 lines of hand-tuned assembly code, and over 20,000 lines of low-level C code. (In comparison, the SnappyCam app comprises almost 50,000 lines of Objective C code.)

JPEG compression comprises two parts: the DCT (above), and a lossless Huffman compression stage that forms a compact JPEG file. Having developed a blazing fast DCT implementation, Huffman then became a bottleneck. We innovated on that portion with tight hand-tuned assembly code that leverages special features of the ARM processor instruction set to make it as fast as possible.” - SnappyCam founder John Papandriopoulos

snappycam-features

The original app worked with HUD control connectivity, volume shutter connectivity, and high and low speeds. This app allows 60 photos a second, pushes through 6x zoom in fast lossless mode, and infinite shooting mode to boot. We’ll likely see some next-level photography action in the next iPhone - surprise!


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