Apple Acquires AI Startup Silk Labs: Report


Apple acquired a developer of artificially intelligent software for connected devices earlier this year, according to a report.

The startup, Silk Labs, still maintains its website and there has been no official announcement of the acquisition.

[Related: Apple Acquired Machine-Learning Green Screen Startup For $30M]

The Information reported Wednesday that Apple has “quietly” acquired the company. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Founded in 2015, San Mateo, Calif.-based Silk Labs has focused on developing software for image and audio recognition using deep neural networks, according to the company's website.

Like the other biggest tech companies in the industry, Apple has been seeking to enhance the AI capabilities in its products, though the company's stance against leveraging private customer data has been somewhat of a disadvantage in terms of training its AI systems, such as Siri.

The company largely failed to capitalize on the lead it had on voice assistants by launching Siri back in 2011, and then missed another opportunity by using an even less-capable version of Siri in its HomePod speaker.

In April, Apple hired the former AI chief at Google, John Giannandrea. He was borught on to head up Apple's machine learning and AI strategy, and reports to CEO Tim Cook, according to the New York Times.

Meanwhile, Apple is also pushing harder into image technologies such as augmented reality via its ARKit augmented reality development platform for iOS devices and, reportedly, with plans to develop an augmented reality headset.

In August, Apple confirmed the acquisition of Akonia Holographics, a startup with technology for generating holographic AR images on a headworn display.