Tim Cook’s Apple Makes Major AI Push With Acquisition of Canadian Startup DarwinAI

Tim Cook's Apple Makes Major AI Push With Acquisition of Canadian Startup DarwinAI

Apple, led by Tim Cook, has made a significant move into the artificial intelligence space by acquiring the Canadian startup DarwinAI.

Bloomberg reports that earlier this year, Apple finalized the acquisition of DarwinAI, a company based in Canada. The acquisition saw numerous employees from DarwinAI joining Apple’s AI department. However, these employees have chosen to remain anonymous as the deal has yet to be officially announced.

DarwinAI, known for its expertise in developing AI technology for visual component inspection in manufacturing, serves a diverse range of industries. The company has specialized in creating high-speed and compact AI systems, distinguishing it within the AI landscape.

Alexander Wong, an AI researcher at the University of Waterloo, played a significant role in building DarwinAI. He has now become a part of Apple’s AI department, serving as a director.

Apple, when approached by Bloomberg, stated that it occasionally acquires smaller tech companies but refrains from disclosing its upcoming plans. Following the news, Apple’s stock briefly increased by 1% to $173.37. However, it later dropped by 10% to $172.92.

Having secured over $15 million in funding by 2022, DarwinAI had attracted investments from major firms like Inovia Capital and Honeywell Ventures. The company, headquartered in Ontario has collaborated with industry giants such as Intel Corp., and Lockheed Martin Corp. as reported by Communitech.

This acquisition precedes Apple’s anticipated expansion in AI this year. The company is set to introduce new features in its iOS 18 software, leveraging the technology behind ChatGPT, generative AI, and other advanced tools.

Tim Cook has expressed Apple’s commitment to pioneering advancements in AI, with an announcement expected at the company’s annual developers’ event in the month of June.

Despite Apple’s acquisition of several AI companies in the past decade, it has lagged in the generative AI arena. The launch of ChatGPT by OpenAI in 2022 caught Apple off guard, while competitors like Microsoft Corp. and Google have taken the lead with innovative features.

Internally, Apple has begun integrating generative AI, leveraging the technology to aid in customer service inquiries. Additionally, the tech giant is slated to enhance its software by incorporating features for text completion and automatic presentation creation. 

According to sources, Apple is also in the process of developing an updated iteration of its Xcode programming software and integrating AI capabilities to support code writing for developers.