Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, as its own PR would respond to inquiries. However, it is not so frequent that I hear that such an acquisition causes direct problems to a different company. That is exactly the strange situation behind the Apple-informed purchase of the Seattle-based startup Xnor.ai, which is apparently the real reason why Wyze is losing a key feature of its smart security cameras.
Although perhaps virtually unknown, Xnor has a bit of legacy behind, even if it is a bit indirect. It was created by the Artificial Intelligence Allen Institute or AI2, the latter founded by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Xnor specializes in AI that uses edge-based people recognition, the same technology that Wyze used for his Wyze Cam.
In November of last year, the smart home company known for its affordable products dropped the bad news that it would be losing its key People Detection feature. At that time, he simply declared that Xnor used a clause of his agreement with Wyze to terminate the partnership. Now it seems that the reason was that Apple planned to buy it or was already doing it.
This gives a hard blow to Wyze, who took advantage of that feature to make his Wyze Cam popular. Artificial intelligence based on the Xnor edge allowed Wyze to keep all the processing on the device without relying on any cloud service, let alone filter data in transit. No wonder Apple is so interested in technology, for whatever purpose it has intended.
Neither Apple nor Xnor have commented on the report. For its part, Wyze has promised to work on a replacement, but has not made any public announcement about its scheduled arrival. Meanwhile, Wyze Cam owners are reporting that firmware updates began to be implemented and eliminates People Detection even before Wyze could launch its replacement.