Apple has reportedly acquired startup DarwinAI, which could boost Tim Cook's AI vision


Apple has reportedly acquired DarwinAI, a Canada-based startup focused on artificial intelligence (AI). The deal was struck earlier this year and is believed to boost the tech giant's AI ambitions. In February, CEO Tim Cook revealed during the company's quarterly earnings call that it was spending “an enormous amount of time and effort” on AI. While not disclosing any details, he also hinted that some of these developments may come out later this year. Notably, reports have suggested that the iOS 18 update could add new AI capabilities to the iPhone.

According to a report by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, the Cupertino-based tech giant not only bought DarwinAI but also hired away many of its employees. Gurman, citing unnamed sources, also said that new employees have joined Apple's AI division. It is believed that this acquisition is recent as reports indicate that the official announcement of the deal may be made later.

The startup's co-founder and chief scientist, Alexander Wong, has reportedly joined Apple as director of Machine Learning Research, the company's AI division. Responding to Bloomberg's question on the matter, the iPhone maker said it “buys smaller technology companies from time to time”. However, it did not disclose the purpose and plans of this particular acquisition.

According to its LinkedIn page, DarwinAI “provides manufacturers with an end-to-end solution to improve product quality and increase production efficiency.” It is said to have developed an AI system that can visually inspect components in the manufacturing process. Wong also reportedly invented a technique to make neural network models smaller and faster. It's possible that Apple could use the same technology to bring on-device AI models and features to its devices.

While Cook hinted that AI was a major focus for the company in 2024, he did not reveal what exactly the company is planning. Some rumors have suggested that Apple may be working on AppleGPT, its original foundation model. Other rumored features include an enhanced version of Siri that can act as a chatbot similar to ChatGPIT and Google Gemini, AI-generated playlists for Apple Music, AI integration into Apple's productivity apps like Pages and Keynote, and a lot. It is also reported that the iOS 18 update, which is expected to arrive with the iPhone 16 series later this year, may bring several new AI features to Apple smartphones.

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