- Apple has acquired AI startup Inductiv Inc. to improve Siri's intelligence, according to Bloomberg.
- The company's technology uses AI to correct flaws in data.
- The acquisition signals that Apple is taking another step to improve its Siri digital helper, which has become an important part of its products in recent years.
- Siri is generally perceived as falling behind Amazon's Alexa and the Google Assistant.
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Apple has acquired machine learning startup Inductiv Inc., in a bid to improve Siri's capabilities, according to Bloomberg.
Apple confirmed the deal to Bloomberg with its usual response to inquiries about acquisitions, saying that it "buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans." The company has not yet responded to Business Insider's request for comment.
A few Inductiv Inc. employees recently updated their LinkedIn profiles to indicate that they've begun working at Apple in April or May.
Inductiv Inc.'s technology automates the process of correcting flaws in data through the use of artificial intelligence. It's one of several acquisitions Apple has made recently, following its purchase of the popular weather app DarkSky and virtual reality entertainment platform NextVR.
Although Apple doesn't disclose the purpose behind its acquisitions, Bloomberg reports that Inductiv's engineering team is working on Siri, data science, and machine learning. Apple launched Siri back in 2011 on the iPhone 4S, long before Amazon introduced Alexa and Google launched the Google Assistant.
But Apple's voice-activated helper has largely been considered as lagging behind those made by Amazon and Google, in part because Amazon's and Google's assistants have excelled in general knowledge compared with Siri and are compatible with a broader range of third-party services.
Apple has made a push to improve Siri in recent years as voice assistants have become more common in the home and elsewhere. Apple's iOS 13 software for iPhones, which it launched in September, brought several enhancements to Siri, for example.
Such improvements include a more natural-sounding voice, more intelligence for offering suggestions in apps like Safari and Podcasts, and the ability to suggest that you create reminders based on conversations in Messages, among others.
The updates show that Siri has become more than just a voice-activated assistant, but a layer of AI that lives in Apple's software and serves as the thread between its many products, from the iPhone to the Mac and Apple Watch.
Inductiv Inc. is the latest acquisition Apple has made in the AI field, coming after the company purchased Xnor.ai, which specializes in low-power AI tools. It also acquired Voysis in April, a company with technology for more accurately understanding natural language.