The report did not specify the financial terms of the deal. The tech giant's plans for Emotient were not immediately clear, the Journal reported, confirming the news with an Apple spokeswoman.
Emotient's software reads the expressions of individuals and crowds to gain insights that can be used by advertisers to assess viewer reaction or a medical practitioner to better understand signs of pain in patients.
San Diego-based Emotient had previously raised USD8 million from investors including Intel Capital, the Journal said. Last month, Tesla Motors Chief Executive Elon Musk and other prominent tech executives announced USD1 billion in funding for an artificial intelligence non-profit called OpenAI.
Apple and Emotient did not immediately respond to requests for comment.