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Apple rumored to reach beyond the touch screen

Rumors have surfaced that Apple has acquired the firm that developed sensor technology for the Microsoft's Xbox Kinect, but the news may have been leaked before the deal was finalized, according to one tech expert.

Israeli news site Calcalist and several tech news sites have reported that Apple acquired technology company PrimeSense, and with it, gesture recognition technology which Microsoft licensed to use in its Xbox Kinect game console add-on.

Apple has not responded to a request for comment. PrimeSense told CNBC that it won't comment on rumors, but it is focused on "building a prosperous company" and bringing its 3-D sensing technology to the mass market.

"It sounds like somebody wanted to spike the football a little bit early there. We don't know for sure what the terms of the arrangement are, but there are lots of reasons for Apple to want to acquire a company like this," said Dan Costa, editor-in-chief of PCMag.com.

Apple employees in San Francisco.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Apple employees in San Francisco.

Apple uses voice recognition technology and has dominated with touch screens, according to Costa, and adding gesture based sensing technology could help boost Apple's dominance in the living room and beyond.

There's one piece of technology that Apple is definitely using, however: its iBeacon transmitter, which the company is deploying in stores to track consumers with iPhones. Using the transmitter, Apple can send information to phones based on where the consumer is in its stores.

Similar technology is already being used by retailers including Kenneth Cole and Timberland, Costa noted.

"What retailers have to figure out is, once they know where the consumer is, what's the value proposition? Are you really just going to send them an alert or send them a coupon every time they're in a certain location in the store? People don't want more interruptions. They want value," Costa said.

By CNBC's Althea Chang.