Apple has gobbled up Perceptio, a startup that enables companies to run advanced artificial intelligence software on smartphones without forcing users to share obscene amounts of personal data.
Not a lot is currently known about Perceptio, as the company doesn’t have a website, but leaders Nicolas Pinto and Zak Stone use deep learning to develop image-recognition systems.
iOS 9 arrived last month with a much-improved version of Siri, and this acquisition could see Apple position the digital assistant as an alternative to Google Photos. The search giant's picture app automatically organises your snaps by people and places, and allows you to edit and animate them too, as well as creepily/incredibly being able to identify exactly what's in each image with a reasonably high degree of accuracy. The majority of iPhone users would no doubt welcome a version of Siri with such capabilities.
Though Apple has confirmed the purchase to Bloomberg, it isn’t particularly keen on releasing any more details, with a spokesman merely saying, “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."
CEO Tim Cook is keen to present Apple as a champion of privacy, making a deal of both defending the company’s practices and slamming those of rivals, such as Google and Facebook.
“I’m speaking to you from Silicon Valley, where some of the most prominent and successful companies have built their businesses by lulling their customers into complacency about their personal information,” he said earlier this year. “They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetise it. We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be.”
If Siri does eventually become an all-seeing Google Photos alternative, routinely scanning iPhone users' snaps, will the Cook-ie monster be able to stand by his non-snooping values? [Bloomberg]