Apple Possibly Looking to Japanese Expertise to Improve Siri

Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted that Japan has a big part to play in the company's ongoing development of AI, as he continued his travels around the country via bullet train on Monday.

Speaking to Nikkei Asian Review, Cook revealed that Apple's new advanced R&D center in Yokohama, currently scheduled for completion in December, would focus on "deep engineering" and would be "very different" from the R&D base Apple is building in China, without giving away specifics.

Tim Cook in Japan

Photo via Tim Cook

However, Cook intimated that one of its main focuses would be on developing Apple's artificial intelligence services – which recently drew some criticism in the press – and emphasized that the company wanted to leverage specifically Japanese expertise in the field.

"AI is horizontal in nature, running across all products, and is used in ways that most people don't even think about," said Cook. "We want the AI to increase your battery life, to recommend music to Apple Music subscribers... [to] help you remember where you parked your car."

Japan's robotics heritage is legendary, coming on the back of years of successfully building industrial robots, however the state of its AI research remains ambiguous, given its relative lack of investment in deep learning from large amounts of analyzed data, which U.S. companies like Facebook and Google are already heavily researching.

To improve on this front, Japan has just opened a Center for Advanced Integrated Intelligence Research in Tokyo (RIKEN), which specifically aims to develop systems of AI that will be able to solve problems using "Big Data". The institution will work with several large companies including Sony, NEC and Toyota, and is set to receive state funding of $99.7 million over the next financial year.

Elsewhere in his interview, Cook talked up the Japanese model of the iPhone with regard to its hardware integration with Sony's contactless FeliCa standard, which is widely used across the country for making quick payments. "Japan is important to us. FeliCa was born in Japan. So by extension, FeliCa is important," he said.

Cook also said he hoped the use of Apple Pay, the iPhone and the Apple Watch would promote a cashless society: "We would like to be a catalyst for taking cash out of the system," he said. "We don't think the consumer particularly likes cash."

In addition, Apple is said to be working with IBM and Japan Post Holdings to offer health care services for the country's elderly, with the iPad being at the center of the program. Given the rapid aging of the country's population, Cook said "Japan is in the best position to lead" the way on such technology.

Previously during his Japan visit, Tim Cook met with Nintendo's legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto and played Super Mario Run, which is expected to arrive on iPhones by the end of the year. It's unclear what else Cook is planning during the rest of his stay in the country.

Tag: Japan

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
45 months ago
Siri-san, where is my new MacBook Pro?
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
45 months ago
Good. Love Japanese engineering; great culture of precision and quality. Steer all business away from the intellectual property thieves in China and South Korea.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
45 months ago
"We don't think the consumer particularly likes cash."

Speak for yourself, Tim! Cash is untraceable - no Big Data when cash is the vehicle of payment; Don't have to worry about my "Cash" data being hacked or hijacked or stolen by some third world script kiddies or state actors.

Cash is just fine for me!

YMMV
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
45 months ago

"We don't think the consumer particularly likes cash."

Wrong. Consumers love cash. Citizens should love cash. Citizens should never, ever allow only digital currency: your privacy will be eliminated. They will track Every. Single. Transaction. Forever.

Banks and tech companies also will constantly push for transaction fees and other costs every time you seek to use your "digital money." You will be constantly taxed, charged, gouged to use your own money.

This already happens with credit cards via the ubiquitous interchange fee, a massive tax all of us are paying to use credit cards. And it also happens with outrageous fees for out-of-network ATMs. It will be much, much worse with digital currency -- because there will be no alternative, which is exactly what tech, banks, and the corrupt Federal Reserve want.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
45 months ago

Anybody else but me wonder why the number $99.7 million was used instead of roughly $1 billion dollars?

Probably because it's no where near a billion dollars. I think you meant roughly $100 million dollars.

$99.7million <---------------------------------------$900million--->$1billion.:D:p
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
45 months ago
At this point, I think it would behoove Apple to invest further into Siri, one way or the other. There's no hiding that Siri has fallen behind and everybody's aware of it, mainly in dictation and deciphering, in my opinion.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Acquires Weather App Dark Sky

Tuesday March 31, 2020 10:22 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple has acquired weather app Dark Sky, Dark Sky's developers announced today. Dark Sky is one of the most popular weather apps on the App Store, known for its accuracy and storm warnings. Our goal has always been to provide the world with the best weather information possible, to help as many people as we can stay dry and safe, and to do so in a way that respects your privacy. There is no ...

Zoom Accused of Misleading Users With 'End-to-End Encryption' Claims Amid Other Security Issues [Updated]

Wednesday April 1, 2020 2:47 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Zoom is facing fresh scrutiny today following a report that the videoconferencing app's encryption claims are misleading. Zoom states on its website and in its security white paper that the app supports end-to-end encryption, a term that refers to a way of protecting user content so that the company has no access to it whatsoever. However, an investigation by The Intercept reveals that...

Case for Upcoming Low-Cost iPhone Shows Up at Best Buy With Alleged April 5 Stock Date

Monday March 30, 2020 4:25 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple has a new low-cost iPhone in the works, which is supposed to be launching sometime in the first half of 2020. Given the ongoing situation in the United States and other countries, it's been unclear if the device is going to launch within the planned timeline, but there are signs that it could be coming soon. We started seeing cases for the new low-cost iPhone back in early February,...

Bloomberg: Apple's 5G iPhone Still on Schedule for Fall Launch, But Future Products Could Be Delayed

Monday March 30, 2020 2:40 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Apple's 5G iPhone is still on track to launch within the company's typical annual fall release schedule, according to a new Bloomberg report on filed on Monday. Signs are that Apple's Chinese-centric manufacturing -- of which Hon Hai is the linchpin -- is slowly getting back on track. The next iPhones with 5G wireless capabilities remain on schedule to launch in the fall, partly because mass...

Testing Brydge's New Pro+ Keyboard With Trackpad for iPad Pro

Monday March 30, 2020 2:04 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Well ahead of when Apple introduced trackpad support in iOS 13.4, Brydge announced an iPad Pro keyboard with a built-in multi-touch trackpad. We have one of Brydge's new Pro+ keyboards on hand, and thought we'd check it out to see how it works with Apple's new 2020 iPad Pro models. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The Brydge Pro+ keyboard is similar in design to...

Apple's Work on New Upcoming Products Progressing Normally as Employees Adjust to Telecommuting

Monday March 30, 2020 11:58 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple's development of upcoming products is progressing as usual despite the fact that Apple employees around the world are working from home, according to a new report today out from Bloomberg. Apple is still working on new versions of the HomePod, Apple TV, MacBook Pro, budget iPads, Apple Watch, iPhone, and iMac, all of which could be released "as early as later this year" and have been...

Apple Releases ProRes RAW Beta for Windows

Monday March 30, 2020 9:33 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released ProRes RAW for Windows in a beta capacity (via Mark Gurman), with the software designed to allow ProRes RAW and ProRes RAW HQ video files to be watched in compatible applications on Windows machines. According to Apple, the software will let the files be played within several Adobe apps: Adobe After Effects (Beta) Adobe Media Encocder (Beta) Adobe Premiere...

Apple Configurator 2 Updated With New Features, Including Support for Restoring Firmware on 2019 Mac Pro

Tuesday March 31, 2020 5:34 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple Configurator 2 has been updated to version 2.12 with several improvements, including support for restoring firmware on the 2019 Mac Pro. The release notes:• Added support for restoring firmware on the 2019 Mac Pro • Allow access to websites using TLS 1.0 and 1.1 • VPN: Configure Provider Designated Requirement for Custom SSL connection type • VPN: Configure network options for ...

Seemingly Unreleased Version of Logic Pro X With Live Loops Appears on Apple's Education Site [Updated]

Sunday March 29, 2020 7:23 am PDT by Hartley Charlton
Update: Apple has replaced the Logic Pro X image with an older version. Original story follows. A seemingly unreleased version of Logic Pro X has appeared on Apple's education site, as spotted by a Reddit user. The image from Apple's education products page shows a 16-inch MacBook Pro running Logic Pro X, but with a familiar interface that looks extremely similar to GarageBand's Live Loops ...

Apple's 2020 MacBook Air vs. 2020 iPad Pro

Wednesday April 1, 2020 2:45 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple in March updated both the MacBook Air and the iPad Pro, and with the iPad Pro increasingly positioned as a computer replacement, we thought we'd compare both new machines to see how they measure up and which one might be a better buy depending on user needs. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We're comparing the base model 12.9-inch iPad Pro and the base model...