Apple quietly buys AI startup

Tyrone Stewart

AppleApple reportedly completed the quiet acquisition of an AI startup which specialises in making software lightweight enough to fit onto consumer hardware.

Silk Labs, according to The Information, completed the deal with Apple earlier this year. The acquisition is believed to have been rather small in size, seeing as the startup had only raised around $4m in funding and had about a dozen employees.

It’s likely that Apple made the decision to purchase Silk Labs due to its focus on privacy-friendly AI. According to the startup, its software only sends key learning moments to the cloud rather than a constant stream of data. In addition, it only sends anonymised data and has privacy and security at its heart.

Apple has put a lot of focus on AI in 2018, including bringing in Google’s former AI and search chief John Giannandrea to front a new team combining its core machine learning and Siri groups and hiring several software engineers.