Apple Inc. has acquired the Canadian artificial intelligence startup DarwinAI. The acquisition is part of Apple’s broader strategy to enhance its AI capabilities, particularly in anticipation of a significant push into generative AI in 2024. DarwinAI specializes in making AI systems smaller and faster, which aligns with Apple’s focus on running AI on devices for privacy reasons rather than relying solely on cloud-based processing.

Dozens of DarwinAI employees, including AI researcher Alexander Wong, have joined Apple’s AI division. Wong has become a director within the group. DarwinAI’s technology, which includes AI for visually inspecting components during the manufacturing process, is expected to support Apple’s efforts in various industries and could be particularly beneficial for on-device AI applications.

Apple is preparing to introduce a host of AI features for its upcoming iOS 18, which may include an upgraded version of Siri and new AI functionalities in Messages, iWork, Apple Music, and other services. The company is also integrating AI technology into Xcode and its customer service operations. Apple CEO Tim Cook has hinted at groundbreaking developments in generative AI from Apple in 2024, emphasizing the transformative opportunities it will unlock for users.

The acquisition’s financial terms have not been disclosed, and Apple has responded to acquisition inquiries in the standard way, stating that it “buys smaller technology companies from time to time” without discussing specific plans or purposes.