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Apple acquires startup DarwinAI as AI efforts ramp up

Friday March 15, 2024. 05:34 PM , from Macworld UK

With 2024 set to be the year Apple breaks onto the AI scene in a big way, every move it makes is going to get attention. So naturally, the news that Apple has scooped up a Canada-based AI startup is a big story.

Bloomberg reported this week that Apple acquired DarwinAI, a small startup with a couple dozen employees, for an undisclosed sum earlier this year. Apple has reportedly folded the DarwinAI staff into its own AI team, including DarwinAI co-founder Alexander Wong, an AI researcher at the University of Waterloo who “has published over 600 refereed journal and conference papers, as well as patents, in various fields such as computational imaging, artificial intelligence, computer vision, and multimedia systems.”

According to its LinkedIn profile, DarwinAI is “a rapidly growing visual quality inspection company providing manufacturers an end-to-end solution to improve product quality and increase production efficiency.” In layman’s terms, that means Apple is likely interested in DarwinAI to streamline its manufacturing to be more efficient. That’s something that could save Apple a ton of money in annual costs.

Far more interesting to our consumer devices, however, is Bloomberg’s report that DarwinAI’s tech can be used to make AI models more efficient in general. Apple has been said to want any generative AI features to run on the device rather than the cloud, so models will need to be as small as possible and DarwinAI could definitely help there. 

Apple is expected to unveil some major AI advancements at WWDC in June, including an all-new Siri and generative AI feature in iOS 18.

Apple Inc

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