Generative AI was once a dream, and now it’s a race every major tech company is running in to create something bigger and better. While OpenAI‘s ChatGPT, Microsoft and Google have sunken their teeth deep into the game, Apple has been a bit late to the party. But better late than never. A Bloomberg report revealed that Apple has acquired Canadian artificial intelligence startup DarwinAI.

Apple has said that it “buys smaller technology companies from time to time”. Recently, reports were suggesting that Apple has shut down its electric car project to focus on AI. It has already integrated dozens of DarwinAI’s employees into the company, including co-founder Alexander Wong.

Apple acquires DarwinAI generative AI technology

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The Bloomberg report also adds that the acquisition would help Apple make AI systems “faster and smaller” – what DarwinAI is best known for. DarwinAI also worked on AI technology for visually inspecting components during the manufacturing process and catered to clients across various industries.

Apple hasn’t officially confirmed the news but the signs are all there. DarwinAI’s social media accounts and official website have been shut down. The AI researcher who played a role in DarwinAI’s development, Alexander Wong’s LinkedIn account shows that he started at Apple as the director of machine learning research in January 2024.

Apple acquires DarwinAI generative AI technology Alexander Wong research analyst LinkedIn

As of 2022, DarwinAI had raised more than $15 million. It had received investments from Honeywell Ventures and Inovia Capital, among other venture capital firms. The Ontario-based company also has worked with companies like Lockheed Martin Corp. and Intel Corp.

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Apple x DarwinAI

What is it that Apple plans to do with DarwinAI? The acquisition comes ahead of a big AI push for Apple this year. The company is adding features to its iOS 18 software that rely on generative AI, the technology behind ChatGPT and other groundbreaking tools.  

According to MacRumors, Apple purchased 32 AI startups throughout 2023. DarwinAI’s acquisition makes it the latest in a long list of similar acquisitions. Aside from Apple GPT, an AI chatbot that Apple reportedly uses internally, the company has been tight-lipped about its AI plans.

However, it has been teasing plans that could be AI-related. CEO Tim Cook told investors during a quarterly earnings call in February that Apple “has some things that we’re incredibly excited about that we’ll be talking about later this year.” During that same call, Cook said Apple’s modus operandi “has always been to do work and then talk about work, and not to get out in front of ourselves, so we’re going to hold on to that.”

Apple acquires DarwinAI generative AI technology CEO Tim Cook

Not only this, he also said that there is no better computer in the market for AI than Mac. In the meeting, Cook also talked about Apple’s belief in the transformative potential of generative AI, saying that significant investments are being made in this field to unlock opportunities related to productivity and problem-solving.

Being synonymous with ‘innovation‘, Apple has always brought forward the most extraordinary products and technology. We look forward to their big move into AI. We’ll almost certainly learn more in June during Apple’s WWDC, where Apple typically previews the next version of iOS.