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Apple Acquires AI Start Up For $200 Million To Bolster Tech

Last week, Apple reportedly acquired Seattle-based company, Xnor.ai for $200 million in a move that could expand their artificial intelligence (AI) technology to compete with Amazon and Microsoft advances.

Xnor.ai is a start-up that’s focused on delivering AI capability and made it to the Forbes AI 50: America’s Most Promising Artificial Intelligence Companies.

In 2017, the company got $2.5 million in funding from Madrona Ventures which doubled its investment in 2018 with the Series A funding of $12 million.

Xnor.ai is a valuable acquisition for Apple because it focused its efforts on simplifying the workflow involved in the running AI, which is normally a complex two-part process, involving training and inference. The start up created a unified layer that developers can use to run deep learning models without being concerned about the AI accelerator.

(Photo by Yichuan Cao/Sipa USA)

The start up also built a developer SDK and toolkit to deply and integrate AI with applictions running on desktops and edge devices.

Xnor.ai also ships a Bundle, a single binary module that contains an inference engine and an AI model, allowing the model to run on-device with just a few lines of implementation code. Each code targets a specific industry, such as retail, smart home and automotive.

With the acquisition of Xnor.ai, Apple immediately gained access to the IP and expertise the run AI at the edge. This technology is set to advance Apple’s home platform based on iOS and iPadOS.

It also bolsters Apple’s competition against Amazon and Microsoft in the IoT and edge computing markets.

(Photo: Holger Hollemann/dpa)

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