Apple's Big AI Push Implied By Startup Acquisitions and Job Postings

Apple has been quietly making a series of artificial intelligence related acquisitions and staff hires in a bid to bring on-device AI to its next-generation iPhones, claims a new report by the Financial Times.

siri symbol iphone feature
According to the report, indications suggest Apple has been focusing on "tackling the technological problem of running AI through mobile devices." To that end, it has acquired several AI-related startups, the last one occurring early last year when it purchased California-based WaveOne, which offers AI-powered video compression.

According to a recent research note from Morgan Stanley, almost half of Apple's AI job posts have included the term "Deep learning," which relates to the algorithms used to power generative AI.

Previous reports have suggested Apple has been testing its "Ajax" large language model (LLM) since early 2023, but in contrast to LLMs like OpenAI's ChatGPT, Apple's primary goal is to develop generative AI that works locally on-device, rather than being powered by cloud services in data centers.

The challenge in achieving that aim involves optimizing the LLM while reducing its size, as well as heavier reliance on high-performance mobile hardware and faster Apple silicon chips. For example, Apple is said to be planning a significant upgrade to the iPhone 16 microphone to improve a new AI-enhanced Siri experience.

Just last month, Apple AI researchers said they have made a key breakthrough in deploying large language models (LLMs) on iPhones and other Apple devices with limited memory by inventing an innovative flash memory utilization technique.

Apple is said to be on schedule to announce a series of generative AI-based tools at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, when iOS 18 will be previewed. Morgan Stanley analysts expect the mobile software will be geared towards enabling generative AI and could include its voice assistant Siri being powered by an LLM.

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Top Rated Comments

Nimrad Avatar
20 weeks ago
Siri has to be one of the biggest missed opportunities in Apple's history.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rradcircless Avatar
20 weeks ago
In Siri related news, I downloaded the new firmware update for HomePod second generation, and instead of two attempts to play a song by voice command, it took three attempts! I said the same command each time, and it only played the song I wanted by the time I was recording it.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
orderoftheditch Avatar
20 weeks ago

Apple; If you can't innovate, buy and copy.
Not really. Other than Beats, Apple generally only buys very small companies to get specific talent for its own product teams. This is the opposite of Microsoft, Google and Amazon who make big acquisitions for products and market share.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wanha Avatar
20 weeks ago

I doubt that Apple will be able to make a satisfying New Siri in a few months.

God bless iPhone 16 series
Do you seriously believe they've only spent "a few months" to create an AI powered Siri?
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BlueCreek Avatar
20 weeks ago

Apple is fine with being late to the game every time, hopefully their offering is very polished.
There’s being late, then there’s completely missing the boat. Which is what Apple has done with Siri.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
a m u n Avatar
20 weeks ago
“Apple may be quiet on AI, but it’s also the biggest buyer of AI companies.”

The power of silence in a noisy world.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)