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Report: Apple Acquired Canadian AI Startup DarwinAI

Apple has reportedly acquired Canadian artificial intelligence (AI) startup DarwinAI, in a strategic move to strengthen its position in AI market.

The acquisition occurred earlier this year but has not been officially announced, Bloomberg reported Thursday (March 14), citing unnamed sources.

Apple did not immediately reply to PYMNTS’ request for comment.

DarwinAI’s website can’t be reached.

Apple told Bloomberg that it sometimes buys smaller technology companies but does not discuss its plans, per the report.

DarwinAI is known for developing AI technology that visually inspects components during manufacturing, according to the report.

The startup’s expertise in creating smaller, faster AI systems aligns with Apple’s focus on running AI on devices rather than solely on cloud-based solution, the report said.

Alexander Wong, an AI researcher at the University of Waterloo and a key figure in building DarwinAI, has joined Apple as a director in its AI group, per the report.

The reported acquisition comes as Apple prepares for a significant push into generative AI in 2024, according to the report. Apple CEO Tim Cook has promised to “break new ground” in AI this year, with an announcement expected at the company’s worldwide developers conference in June.

Despite acquiring more AI companies than most of its competitors over the past decade, Apple has lagged in the generative AI market, the report said.

Internally, Apple has already begun integrating generative AI into its operations, per the report. It is using the technology to assist with customer service requests, and it plans to incorporate it into software for auto-creating presentations and completing blocks of text. Additionally, Apple is working on a new version of its Xcode programming software that uses AI to aid developers in writing code.

It was reported Feb. 27 that Apple is cancelling its effort to build an electric car and is shifting many members from the car team to its AI division.

On Feb. 28, Apple CEO Tim Cook said during an annual shareholder meeting that the company will provide more details about its strategy for using generative AI later this year.

Cook said the company recognizes the extraordinary potential of the technology, is making significant investments in the field and expects to develop transformative advancements.