Apple did it again.
According to a Bloomberg report, it has acquired the startup Perceptio, a company specializing in developing advanced artificial intelligence (or AI) for smart phones. It is led by Nicolas Pino and Zak Stone, who are researchers who are investing in the development of image-classification technology using deep learning.
The company has not confirmed the acquisition, with spokesman Colin Johnson replying with the usual deflective statement whenever the Cupertino-based makes an acquisition:
“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
This could lead to a smarter and more chatty Siri, along with a better Photos app.
One of Perceptio’s aims is to develop procedures to run AI-based image classification algorithms without having to offload a lot of data to Apple’s servers. This is in line with Apple’s goals to minimize usage of user data while maximizing the processing done in the device.
It is 2nd startup Apple acquired in less than a week, with the first being Vocal IQ five days ago. Like Perceptio, it uses AI, but instead of images it uses voice and is reportedly developing a virtual assistant more advanced that Siri, which is why Apple may have purchased it in the first place. The company creates speech-processing technology and is to foster natural communication between humans and computers. Apple neither denied or verified the purchase, releasing the cliche deflective response when asked.
Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant, has been further enhanced in the iOS 9. However, the virtual assistant is used for fun rather than for need, which is why Apple is acquiring startup companies which can help further its capabilities.
Several more companies are looking to enhance their device’s AI capabilities. Google has its own virtual assistant, while Microsoft boasts Cortana, which is shaping up to be Siri’s main rival.