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Apple acquires Paris-based AI company Datakalab to bolster its AI technology

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Apple is expected to reveal a suite of AI features with iOS 18 that is speculated to debut at WWDC 2024 on June 10. There are reports that some of the AI features in iOS 18 will run locally on an iPhone, meaning there won't be any cloud processing involved. Now, a fresh report suggests that to bolster AI features, Apple has acquired a French startup specializing in AI.

According to a report by French business magazine Challenges (via 9To5Mac), Apple acquired Paris-based startup Datakalab, which specializes in AI and computer vision technology. Notably, the acquisition was already completed in December 2023, the news of which is coming out now.

The Datakalab company defines itself as "experts in low power, runtime efficient, and deep learning algorithms" that work on devices. Before Apple's acquisition, Datakalab had 10-20 employees. The official website of Datakalab is now dead.

Datakalab Apple acquisition

Reportedly, Apple has taken a 100% stake in the company that was founded seven years ago by brothers Xavier and Lucas Fischer. Datakalab is the same company that joined hands with the French government during COVID in May 2020, to help deploy AI tools in Paris transportation systems to analyze whether people were wearing masks or not.

The French startup has also worked with Disney and many other companies in the past. There is no acknowledgement of the acquisition from either Datakalab or Apple. However, Challenges notes that the details of the deal were communicated to the European Commission this month. The reports further state that two founders did not join Apple, but several other employees did make the switch.

Apple's interest in this AI company goes in line with the iPhone makers' plan to deploy AI features into the upcoming iOS 18. And since Datakalab has experience in computer vision technology, Apple could use those skills for its Vision Pro ambitions in the future.

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