Apple Buys Artificial Intelligence Startup Perceptio

The acquisition brings Apple a company that works on bringing advanced AI systems to devices as small as smartphones.

Apple, Perceptio, artificial intelligence, AI, iPhones, smartphones, acquisitions

Apple continues to be on an acquisition spree, this time buying Perceptio, an artificial intelligence startup that works on ideas that could be integrated into future iPhones.

Perceptio's technology focuses on creating image classification systems for smartphones that aren't connected to large external databases, according to an Oct. 5 story by Bloomberg, which announced the deal. Essentially that means that the technology would potentially help users more easily organize and store photos on their iPhones, making them easier to find and use.

The leaders of Perceptio, Nicolas Pinto and Zak Stone, are AI researchers who "specialize in developing image-recognition systems using deep learning," which "lets computers learn to identify and classify sensory input," the story reported.

The price of the acquisition and terms of the deal were not announced.

"Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans," Apple spokesman Colin Johnson told Bloomberg.

Apple has been conducting a string of acquisitions recently as it spends some of the more than $178 billion in cash it amassed through 2014 for research and acquisitions.

In September, Apple reportedly acquired Mapsense, a mapping visualization startup, for $25 million to $30 million to bolster its mapping assets as it continues to develop better map tools in iOS 9 and other Apple products, according to an earlier eWEEK story. Mapsense works to help customers create data-driven maps for a wide range of business uses, while also offering mapping visualization tools and services to developers and enterprises. Apple has been struggling with mobile mapping services in the last several years, especially compared with Google Maps and its offerings.

In May, Apple acquired Coherent Navigation, a Silicon Valley startup that has been using the Iridium satellite network to develop a commercial, high-precision navigation service for a wide range of industries. The price of that deal was not revealed.

In April, Apple paid about $20 million to acquire LinX Computational Imaging, an Israel-based company that focuses on designing and selling tiny cameras for use in mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, according to an earlier eWEEK report. According to its Website, LinX "brings revolution to mobile photography" on smartphones, tablets and Ultrabooks through multi-aperture imaging technology. LinX combines innovative image processing and advanced sensor and optics technology to create cameras that offer improved image quality, better low-light performance, improved color fidelity and less shutter lag than competing technologies, according to the company.

In March, Apple acquired the startup behind the Foundation DB database in a move that could be aimed at helping Apple continue to improve and support its own services to its own customers. Financial terms of the acquisition were not announced by the companies. FoundationDB is a high-performance database that provides NoSQL and SQL capabilities for users. Such databases have become more popular in recent years compared with traditional relational database management systems because they better serve the emerging generation of interactive applications, according to an earlier eWEEK report.

Apple has been spending some of its huge cash pile on other ideas, as well. In February, it was learned that Apple has been looking to diversify its business into electric car production, possibly by 2020, as it explores new business opportunities outside its core consumer technology and computer, tablet and smartphone businesses.