Apple Acquires Canadian Startup DarwinAI to Stay Competitive in the AI Race

Apple to use M2 Ultra for AI servers, M4 planned for 2025: Report

Apple has acquired a Canada-based AI startup called DarwinAI, according to Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman, who’s usually spot-on with these scoops. This move isn’t just another headline — it could be a game-changer for iOS 18. While Google and Microsoft have been diving headfirst into generative AI for a while now, Apple’s been a bit behind. But with this acquisition, it looks like it’s gearing up to shake things up and redefine how AI fits into the ecosystem.

Why Apple’s Acquisition of DarwinAI Means Major Leap for iOS 18

There are a couple of reasons why. But before moving ahead, we must know that the report says the acquisition took place early this year. If I were to guess the timeline, it might’ve something to do with when CEO Tim Cook hinted about Apple’s in-house generative AI development during the February earnings call.

Let’s break down why Apple’s acquisition of DarwinAI could be such a big deal for iOS 18. Firstly, it could give Apple a significant boost in its AI capabilities. Secondly, it might allow Apple to process data directly on devices, leading to faster speeds and the ability for users to access AI features offline. What’s more important is that DarwinAI has been in the game since 2017. Just for context, OpenAI, the parent company of the widely-known AI chatbot ChatGPT, started in December 2015. It has been actively researching and has a history of partnering with big players like Lockheed Martin and Intel. Additionally, Apple has reportedly brought on board some key talent, like Alexander Wong, who’s now heading up the AI group. Interestingly, this matches previous reports like Apple shifting focus away from its ambitious Apple Car Project and towards AI.

Notably, among many other pros is that the acquired startup’s primary focus has always been on making AI systems “smaller and faster” which could play a crucial role as Apple has previously struggled for the same reason, numerous times while developing the native 5G chip for iPhone.

iOS 18 Could be the Biggest Update In Apple’s iOS History

As we get closer to the launch of iOS 18, expected at WWDC 2024, more developments could be cooking at Apple headquarters and we’ll hear more about it in the coming days.

Cook has promised that Apple will “break new ground” in artificial intelligence (AI) space this year. He has previously mentioned that there’s a lot of internal work happening but didn’t reveal much. However, he did acknowledge that there’s a significant opportunity for Apple with Generative AI and AI in general. On the consumer side, we may see loads of AI-powered features coming to iPhones later this year.


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