Apple quietly acquires Canadian AI startup DarwinAI, deepening its AI push

Apple’s AI push gains momentum with the recent acquisition of Canadian AI startup DarwinAI. The move, kept under wraps until now, underscores Apple’s commitment to advancing AI technologies, particularly as it prepares for the release of iOS 18 later this year.

According to reports from Bloomberg, Apple finalized the acquisition earlier this year, quietly bringing on board numerous DarwinAI employees to bolster its AI division. The sources, who preferred to remain anonymous as the deal is yet to be officially announced, revealed that the acquisition aligns with Apple’s strategy of enhancing AI capabilities within its product ecosystem.

“Apple Inc. has acquired Canadian artificial intelligence startup DarwinAI, adding technology to its arsenal ahead of a big push into generative AI in 2024,” Bloomberg reported.

DarwinAI specializes in developing AI solutions for various industries, with a particular focus on optimizing AI systems for efficiency and speed. This expertise is of particular interest to Apple, which aims to deploy AI functionalities directly on its devices rather than relying solely on cloud-based solutions.

Notably, Alexander Wong, a prominent AI researcher who played a pivotal role in DarwinAI’s development, has joined Apple as a director within its AI group as part of the acquisition.

Based in Ontario, Canada, DarwinAI had secured over $15 million in funding by 2022, according to sources within the Canadian startup community. The company garnered investments from notable firms such as Honeywell Ventures and Inovia Capital and collaborated with industry giants like Lockheed Martin Corp. and Intel Corp.

While Apple remains tight-lipped about the specifics of the acquisition, the company stated that it routinely acquires smaller technology firms to enhance its product offerings.

This acquisition comes amidst Apple CEO Tim Cook’s pledge to push boundaries in AI, with rumors suggesting the integration of generative AI features in the upcoming iOS 18.

Apple’s pursuit of AI innovation is not new, with the recent acquisition of Brighter AI earlier this year aimed at bolstering privacy features across its product lineup, including Apple Vision Pro.

With Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) scheduled for June, anticipation mounts for potential AI-related announcements. As Apple continues to make strategic moves in the AI space, the tech world awaits eagerly to see what groundbreaking developments the company has in store.