APPLE HAS CONTINUED its AI-focused spending spree with the acquisition of Silk Labs, a privacy-centric AI startup.
That's according to The Information (paywalled) which reports that the deal was made earlier this year. There's, ironically, no information about how much Apple splurged on the startup, but the website notes that the acquisition was likely a small one for Apple" due to the fact that Silk Labs only employs around half a dozen employees.
The company was founded back in 2015 by three former Mozilla employees - Andreas Gal, Chris Jones and Michael Vines - who worked on the company's now-defunct on Firefox OS, its attempted competitor to iOS and Android.
Silk's website says that it aims to "bring next-generation visual and audio intelligence to connected products" with "state-of-the-art image and audio recognition", and suggests its AI tech has a number of potential uses, from home security and digital display metrics to building surveillance and object recognition.
While the company's seemingly-obsolete blog and Twitter accounts provide little more information about the firm, we do know that it released a smart home monitoring camera through Kickstarter, called 'Sense', back in 2016, described by the company as "Dropcam meets Amazon Echo".
And the firm has a focus on privacy too, noting on its website that its AI platform "sends only key moments" to the cloud for training and "improves models using anonymized data that is not reversible back to the original content."
"Privacy and security is built into our company's DNA. With every line of code we write and in every design decision we make, Silk takes great measures to ensure that user data on the Silk Intelligence Platform is fully protected at all times," the firm pledges on its website.
This suggests that Apple could be planning to expand its range of smart home products with a focus on privacy, unlike, er, some other products on the market.
This isn't the only AI-related acquisition Apple has made recently. Last year, the firm scooped up machine learning and AI company Lattice Data for $200m, and the earlier this year Apple also hired Google's search and AI chief, John Giannandrea, to join its own AI efforts. µ
Privacy-aware office worker slams 'authoritarian' AFR tech
Flagship packs a 6.26in screen, quad-cameras and, er, Android Pie
Like, subscribe, and run away with my data
Tor of duty of care