In a strategic move to bolster its capabilities in anticipation of a major foray into generative AI in 2024, Apple has successfully acquired DarwinAI, an artificial intelligence firm based in Canada.

Sources, who wish to remain unnamed due to the confidentiality of the deal, revealed that the acquisition occurred earlier this year. Following the purchase, a significant number of DarwinAI’s workforce has been integrated into Apple’s AI division, marking a significant expansion of the tech giant’s expertise in the field.

As a pivotal element of the acquisition, Alexander Wong, a distinguished AI researcher from the University of Waterloo and co-founder of the company, has taken on a leadership role within Apple’s AI division, assuming the position of director.

DarwinAI specializes in technology that is able to visually inspect components during a manufacturing process to save time. DarwinAI serves a range of other industries and their customers as well. But one of its key AI technologies that Apple is likely interested in is making AI systems smaller and faster. Previous reports have mentioned that Apple is focused on running AI tasks natively on its devices rather than depending on the cloud, which would align with Darwin’s specialties.

Apple is expected to integrate generative AI in not just iPhones, but iPads, MacBooks, Apple Watches, and other products as well. More details should be revealed with the launch of iOS 18.

Apple did not reveal much when asked about its recent AI startup acquisition. In response to questions about the deal, the Cupertino giant simply said: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time.”

Soon after news of the acquisition became public, Apple’s shares briefly increased by 1%, reaching $173.37. It was trading at $172.92 around March 14, which represents a 10% shortfall compared to last year.

Darwin AI has been doing well for itself, raising more than $15 million as of 2022, as per the Canadian startup community Communitech. Key investors in this funding round included Honeywell Ventures and Inovia Capital as well as some other venture capital firms. According to Communitech, Darwin has previously worked with notable industry giants such as Intel and Lockheed Martin Corp.

Via: Bloomberg