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Apple-connected Pearl Automation shuts down after low sales of rear-view camera

Pearl Automation — a startup founded by former Apple workers, which sold an iPhone-connected rear-view camera for cars — has reportedly shut down, largely because of low initial sales.

The situation was worsened by rapid venture capital spending, Axiom sources said. The company allegedly received multiple "acqui-hire" offers but opted to shut down instead.

Pearl was founded by three former iPod engineers in 2014 and eventually recruited dozens more people from an Apple background. The result was the RearVision, a $500 plate-mounted camera linked with iPhone and Android apps through a special car adapter. Beyond rear-facing views, it suports obstacle detection with audio-visual alerts.

The company's long-term goal was autonomous driving technology, and it's not clear how much of its $50 million in funding was spent on future concepts.

Pearl has yet to announce any closure on its website, and in fact released a software update on June 9. The RearVision is unavailable to buy, however, listed as "out of stock." It's uncertain what might happen to existing owners, who were promised a 30-day return policy and a three-year warranty.

Pearl may have been undermined by the cost of its hardware combined with advances in the auto industry. Rear-view cameras are increasingly standard or at least optional on cars, and people with older vehicles may have simply decided to save their money for a new car or other expenses.