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

otternonsense Avatar
98 months ago
Siri-san, where is my new MacBook Pro?
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Velin Avatar
98 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)
nikon1 Avatar
98 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)
Velin Avatar
98 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)
69Mustang Avatar
98 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)
44267547 Avatar
98 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)

Popular Stories

Delta Feature

Delta Game Emulator Now Available From App Store on iPhone

Wednesday April 17, 2024 9:58 am PDT by
Game emulator apps have come and gone since Apple announced App Store support for them on April 5, but now popular game emulator Delta from developer Riley Testut is available for download. Testut is known as the developer behind GBA4iOS, an open-source emulator that was available for a brief time more than a decade ago. GBA4iOS led to Delta, an emulator that has been available outside of...
iOS 18 Siri Integrated Feature

iOS 18 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Friday April 12, 2024 11:11 am PDT by
iOS 18 is expected to be the "biggest" update in the iPhone's history. Below, we recap rumored features and changes for the iPhone. iOS 18 is rumored to include new generative AI features for Siri and many apps, and Apple plans to add RCS support to the Messages app for an improved texting experience between iPhones and Android devices. The update is also expected to introduce a more...
iOS NES Emulator Bimmy Feature

NES Emulator for iPhone and iPad Now Available on App Store [Removed]

Tuesday April 16, 2024 11:33 am PDT by
The first approved Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) emulator for the iPhone and iPad was made available on the App Store today following Apple's rule change. The emulator is called Bimmy, and it was developed by Tom Salvo. On the App Store, Bimmy is described as a tool for testing and playing public domain/"homebrew" games created for the NES, but the app allows you to load ROMs for any...
iGBA Feature

Apple Removes Game Boy Emulator iGBA From App Store Due to Spam and Copyright Violations

Sunday April 14, 2024 9:22 pm PDT by
Apple today said it removed Game Boy emulator iGBA from the App Store for violating the company's App Review Guidelines related to spam (section 4.3) and copyright (section 5.2), but it did not provide any specific details. iGBA was a copycat version of developer Riley Testut's open-source GBA4iOS app. The emulator rose to the top of the App Store charts following its release this weekend,...
iPhone 15 Pro Action Button Translate

All iPhone 16 Models to Feature Action Button, But Usefulness Debated

Tuesday April 16, 2024 6:54 am PDT by
Last September, Apple's iPhone 15 Pro models debuted with a new customizable Action button, offering faster access to a handful of functions, as well as the ability to assign Shortcuts. Apple is poised to include the feature on all upcoming iPhone 16 models, so we asked iPhone 15 Pro users what their experience has been with the additional button so far. The Action button replaces the switch ...
iGBA Feature

Game Boy Emulator for iPhone Now Available in App Store Following Rule Change [Removed]

Sunday April 14, 2024 8:06 am PDT by
A week after Apple updated its App Review Guidelines to permit retro game console emulators, a Game Boy emulator for the iPhone called iGBA has appeared in the App Store worldwide. The emulator is already one of the top free apps on the App Store charts. It was not entirely clear if Apple would allow emulators to work with all and any games, but iGBA is able to load any Game Boy ROMs that...