What Will Apple Use its Latest Artificial Intelligence Acquisition For?

apple-aapl-logoNews broke on Friday that Apple acquired artificial intelligence company Turi Inc. for around $200 million, fueling speculation on how Apple will leverage the new technology to improve its devices and services.

In its typical fashion, Apple was mum about its plans. “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” the company said in a statement.

Turi, which was founded in 2013, offers a slew of advanced services for businesses. From Bloomberg:

Turi helps developers create and manage software and services that use a form of AI called machine learning. It also has systems that let companies to build recommendation engines, detect fraud, analyze customer usage patterns and better target potential users, according to the Seattle-based startup’s website. Apple could use this to more rapidly integrate the technology with future products.

The most obvious fit for Turi within Apple’s ecosystem is to improve Siri, Apple’s personal assistant. Siri has been around for nearly four years now, and hasn’t changed all that much since its launch. As such, Apple has fallen behind companies like Amazon, whose open-to-developers Alexa service has quickly made huge inroads in the world of voice recognition and commands. Apple has since followed suit and opened Siri to developers as well.

Apple has been on a bit of a spending spree acquiring A.I. companies lately. As Bloomberg notes:

In January, Apple acquired Emotient, a startup that uses AI to recognize and act upon facial expressions. Last year, Apple acquired a pair of voice-centric AI startups, VocalIQ and Perceptio, to bolster Siri. VocalIQ specialized in using machine learning to allow voice assistants to engage in more realistic conversation. Perceptio focused on helping AI systems run on devices while sharing limited amounts of personal user data.

With sales growth of its flagship iPhone faltering, Apple is looking in several different directions to help differentiate its products and offer compelling add-on services to their hundreds of millions of users. Investors can bet that these recent acquisitions will be a big part of its offerings moving forward.

AAPL shares closed the week at $107.48 per share, up $1.61 (+1.52%) in Friday trading. The stock has now gained 2.11% year-to-date, versus a 7% rise in the S&P 500 during the same period.

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