Apple has acquired PullString, an AI startup that sells software that lets non-technical people build voice apps for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, according to this report from Axios. It’s a move that could help make Apple’s much-criticized Siri digital assistant more useful at a time when iPhone sales are slumping.
The PullString deal has some other interesting implications for Apple. PullString’s co-founders Oren Jacob and Martin Reddy, who previously worked at Pixar, have hired creative writers to make their tools better at building apps that can converse as humans do. This is where Amazon and Google are focusing much of their research on digital assistants, and it’s also an area where Siri is most in need of an upgrade.