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Apple Acquires Paris AI Startup Datakalab


Apple has stepped up its foray into artificial intelligence (AI) by acquiring Datakalab, a Paris-based AI tech startup. 

The acquisition, finalized on Dec. 17, was quietly noted in a filing with the European Commission and reported by French media. It’s part of Apple’s reported push into AI. 

Datakalab, founded in 2016 by Xavier Fischer and Lucas Fischer, specializes in making efficient AI algorithms that consume less power and are ideal for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. According to the company’s LinkedIn page, Datakalab describes itself as a company that offers “industry-leading compression and adaptation to implement integrated computer vision that is fast, cost-effective and accurate.” 

The move may be part of Apple’s broader plan to bring state-of-the-art AI features to its devices, starting with the upcoming iOS 18.  

PYMNTS has reported that Apple researchers have developed a new artificial intelligence (AI) system, ReALM (Reference Resolution As Language Modeling), that could transform how voice assistants understand and respond to vague references and contextual hints. 

ReALM turns the intricate task of interpreting screen-based visual cues into a simpler language modeling challenge using advanced large language models. The software is part of a broader effort to improve AI-driven voice communication, which could enhance a range of commercial applications.

Dan Faggella, an AI researcher not connected with Apple, commented on the potential impact of such advancements to PYMNTS: “On one hand, many chatbots currently lead to customer frustration. However, if we can develop AI systems that quickly and effectively answer simple questions and enhance the customer experience, it could likely lead to increased customer loyalty and sales.”

According to a March 18 Bloomberg report, Apple is currently in discussions with Google to integrate Google’s AI engine into the iPhone.

Sources close to the situation have disclosed that Apple is looking to license Google’s Gemini AI models to bolster the capabilities of upcoming iPhone software features set to launch this year. Moreover, according to the report, Apple has also been exploring options with OpenAI and has considered incorporating its AI model.