Apple bought yet another AI startup

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Apple has acquired Datakalab, a French artificial intelligence startup specializing in on-device AI processing, computer vision technology, and deep learning algorithms. The acquisition was completed in December 2023 for an undisclosed amount and was recently reported to the European Commission. Key points about Datakalab and the acquisition:
  • Datakalab develops low-power, runtime-efficient deep learning algorithms that operate entirely on-device, aligning with Apple's focus on privacy and security.
  • The startup's expertise includes AI compression and embedded computer vision that is fast, cost-effective, and precise.
  • Datakalab previously collaborated with the French government and Disney, deploying AI tools to monitor face mask usage in Paris transportation systems and analyze audience reactions during cinema screenings.
  • While Datakalab's founders did not join Apple, several employees did make the transition.
This acquisition comes as Apple prepares to introduce a suite of AI features in iOS 18, expected to be unveiled at WWDC 2024. By focusing on on-device AI processing, Apple aims to differentiate itself from competitors like Google, Microsoft, and OpenAI, offering faster and more secure responses at the potential cost of less powerful and knowledgeable AI in some cases. The integration of Datakalab's technology could contribute to various Apple products and services, such as:
  • Auto-summarizing and auto-complete features for core apps and productivity software
  • Improved playlist creation in Apple Music
  • A significant overhaul of Siri with a focus on AI
  • Advanced vision-based technology for Apple's Vision Pro ambitions
  • Enhanced facial recognition for Photos and Face ID
Apple's acquisition of Datakalab demonstrates the company's ongoing efforts to bolster its AI capabilities and deliver cutting-edge, privacy-focused AI experiences to its users.
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