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Apple has been sitting on kinect-like motion control technology for years

And it could finally show up in the new Apple TV .

Apple motionEnlarge
A visitor plays a full-motion controlled game during the Hong Kong Electronics Fair on April 14, 2012. (Laurent Fievet/AFP/Getty Images)

Apple has actually had motion-sensing camera technology similar to the Xbox Kinect motion controller since 2005, a source familiar with the software tells us.

The original technology, called "gestures," was built by interns around the time the first iPods were starting to gain real traction, according to our source.

It was originally built as a hack. For example, the interns taught the technology to shut off when it detected someone flipping the camera off, or waving goodbye.

Apple decided it was worth holding. When the original MacBook and iMac computers came with a built-in camera, our source theorized that's what the original intent was.

Apple didn't go that route, but there is still one other route that they can take the technology — the new Apple Television. (We're talking about the actual television, not the hockey puck device.)

Apple has a good incentive to include it, too — its primary competition for the living room, Microsoft, has a motion controller connected to just about every home entertainment device plugged into the TV.

If it wants to go toe to toe with the Xbox 360, which has speech recognition and motion controls, this could be the route Apple takes.

Apple has sat on the technology for several years without doing anything with it, though, so it could also continue to do more of the same.

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