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Apple bought a startup that could help make iPhone AI even more powerful

Published Apr 22nd, 2024 4:05PM EDT
Siri on the Vision Pro headset. Apple GPT
Image: Apple Inc.

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Early reports suggest iOS 18 is going to be packed with AI features, and Apple is continuously hinting at that. We’ve seen published papers, CEO Tim Cook talking about how we’re going to hear more about AI this year, and now Apple has bought another startup that specializes in making large language models work in smartphones.

According to Challenges (via iPhoneSoft), Apple bought a French startup called Datakalab in December 2023. The company specializes in algorithm compression and embedded artificial intelligence, two important features that Apple needs to stand out from the competition with built-in AI instead of cloud-based features.

With this move, it seems many engineers from the startup are now working at Apple. On its website, Datakalab describes itself as a startup specializing in “low-power deep learning algorithms that are efficient in terms of execution, respectful of privacy, and operate entirely on board.”

Interestingly, Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman also talked about iOS 18 AI features in his latest Power On newsletter. According to the journalist, Apple wants to differentiate itself from Google, Microsoft, and OpenAI by offering faster and more secure responses by focusing on on-device AI instead of cloud-based solutions.

The downside is that the AI might be less powerful and knowledgeable in some cases, which could be a major drawback for some users. The upside is that it will be quicker and, of course, more secure and private. Some of the possible iOS 18 AI features have already been reported by the journalist, such as:

  • Auto-summarizing and auto-complete features for core apps and productivity software (Pages, Keynote). This was also rumored by leaker yeux1122, which says code on iOS 18 suggests this function.
  • Better playlist creation in Apple Music
  • Siri (a big overall overhaul with a focus on AI)
  • Code completion in a new version of Xcode for developers
  • AppleCare tools to assist employees in helping customers with troubleshooting

We’ll soon learn more about what Apple has in store during the WWDC 2024 keynote on June 10.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.