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I knew it! Those evil bastards at Apple are f-cking around with!

I knew it. Those guys are experimenting with the Devil! They are developing all sorts of dirty tricks. Tim Cook is like Lord you know who!

On the other hand, I can't wait to get my Apple Nimbus 5000 phone which will be able to fly circles around other smartphones on the Quidditch Pitch.

Apple may be quiet on AI, but it’s also the biggest buyer of AI companies

Microsoft and Google talk a lot about AI but haven't bought nearly as many startups as Apple

By Michelle Cheng. Quartz Media

Sept 26, 23

If there’s one thing that has been constant in the artificial intelligence frenzy it’s that Big Tech companies Google, Microsoft, Meta, and Amazon can’t stop talking about their AI investments, whether that’s in earnings calls or new product announcements. But one industry leader tends to be absent from such chatter: Apple.

But, there’s a gap between Apple’s public disclosures and its internal efforts. Since 2017, Apple has been the top buyer of AI and machine learning companies, according to market research firm PitchBook. Apple’s AI shopping spree shows that the technology is indeed core to the future of the company’s consumer products, from the iPhone to the MacBook.

Apple has purchased 21 AI startups since 2017, nearly double the number that Microsoft and Meta have bought. Accenture, a global consulting firm, bought 19—good for second-most behind Apple.

When asked why Apple eschews discussing its AI investments on a conference call with investors and analysts in August, Apple CEO Tim Cook said,“[W]e tend to announce things as they come to market, and that’s our m.o., and I’d like to stick to that.”

That’s a contrast to Microsoft and Google who have been public about every announcement of some new AI product in part because they want real-time feedback to improve their products, as Scott Beechuk, Norwest enterprise investor, recently told Quartz.

What AI companies have Apple bought?

In recent years, Apple has bought AI startups focused on self-driving technology, voice design, music generation, and image recognition, according to PitchBook.

These investments align with the company’s recent rollouts of new iPhone features like personal voice, where users can create an artificial voice that sounds like them, and live voicemail, a real-time transcription of the message. Apple CEO Tim Cook clarified that these features are made possible with AI and machine learning on a conference call with investors and analysts in August, and emphasized that the company has been researching generative AI for years.

Apple’s style is a contrast with that of Microsoft and Google who have been very public about AI products but more conservative in acquisitions. M&A has proven difficult given increased antitrust scrutiny, so these companies find ways to work with startups rather than buying them outright, Brendan Burke, an analyst at PitchBook, told Quartz. Just this week, Amazon said it will invest up to $4 billion into Anthropic, the maker of the AI chatbot Claude. The pairing of a big tech company with an AI startup echoes Microsoft’s relationship with OpenAI.

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