Apple has quietly acquired a startup, Silk Labs, that specializes in making artificial intelligence software lightweight enough to fit onto consumer hardware like cameras, another sign of its growing ambitions around AI and smart home devices.
The acquisition, which hasn’t been reported before, occurred earlier this year, according to a person briefed on the transaction. The deal was likely a small one for Apple, as Silk Labs only had about a dozen employees and raised approximately $4 million in funding, according to PitchBook, a research firm that tracks startup financing. Apple and Silk Labs have spoken in the past of similar preferences for more privacy-friendly AI that runs locally on personal devices. AI that runs in the cloud, in contrast, can allow companies to collect large amounts of personal data.