The Future of Mobile

Apple buys AI startup for a reported price of around $200m

David Murphy

Apple has acquired, a startup specializing in low-power, edge-based artificial intelligence tools, GeekWire reports. Quoting “sources with knowledge of the deal”, the report says that Apple has paid around $200m for the company, and suggests that Xnor’s AI-enabled image recognition tools could well become standard features in future iPhones and webcams.

The company’s tech focuses on machine learning and image recognition tools that can be executed on low-power devices rather than the cloud. It has also developed a self-service platform that enables software developers without AI skills to drop AI-centric code and data libraries into device-centric apps.

When was nominated for an AI innovation award last year, the company’s CXO (chief Xnor officer) Ali Farhadi, told GeekWire: “We make ‘AI everywhere’ a reality by enabling leading global brands to run state-of-the-art deep learning models on anything from a $2 batteryless piece of hardware to the cloud. We empower any developer to deploy countless AI models optimized for the edge with just a single line of code, a future where ‘AI for everyone’ is real.”

When asked by GeekWire to confirm the acquisition, Apple issued its usual non-committal response: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”