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Apple is quietly stockpiling startups and hunting for talent as it fights for a slice of the AI boom

Apple has largely sat out of the AI arms race — but that could be about to change.

The Silicon Valley heavyweight has acquired 21 AI startups since 2017 — more than any of its rivals — according to data from PitchBook, shared with Business Insider and cited by the Financial Times.

And it's embarking on a hunt for AI talent as it seeks to catch up with rivals like Google and Microsoft.

Based on analysis of academic papers, industry data, and insights from tech sector experts, the FT report suggested that Apple is primarily focused on getting AI to run directly on its iPhones — rather than relying on massive data centers and a connection to the cloud, as services like ChatGPT do.

The tech titan is also reportedly working on a smarter, AI-powered version of its Siri voice assistant that Morgan Stanley analysts predict could launch alongside iOS 18 at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June, the FT wrote.

Apple has also updated some of its hardware to support generative AI, unveiling more powerful M3 chips for its Macbook line in October and a new S9 chip for the Apple Watch, which allows Siri to access data without being connected to the internet.

A look at Apple's job listings shows that the company is hiring a number of roles focused on improving Siri's AI capabilities and "enabling a better conversational experience" with Apple's voice assistant.

They also suggest that Apple is ramping up its search for AI talent, advertising AI-focused jobs across several areas, including health, on-device AI, and building "foundation models," which are baseline AI models like GPT-4.

Posted on: 1/27/2024 5:14:51 AM


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