Apple buys Turi, a machine learning company

13/07/2024 20mins
Phani Kumar S


Apple acquires smaller tech companies from time to time without necessarily giving any reason for the acquisition. However, observers in the tech world are linking the acquisition of Turi by Apple as a deliberate step by the tech giant to move deeper into artificial intelligence and machine learning. It has been argued that such acquisition will help to scale up the sales of iPhones which have been on the decline in recent times.

Turi was acquired in 2016 by Apple at a whopping sum of $200 million. Although the company has not really come out on why it made such a huge investment, we will like to share our assumptions with you. So, some of the reasons why Apple bought Turi may include the following among others:

1. To boost capabilities in artificial intelligence and machine learning

Customers’ expectations are growing on daily basis. Therefore, companies that want to stay ahead of competition must create features that will make their products and services more intelligent and personalized. This is one important area where Turi will come handy for Apple. Turi, formally known as GraphLab and Dato at different times, is a startup company established by Carlos Guestrin, a University of Washington Professor. The company makes tools for developers and data scientists who want to build machine learning into their apps as well as research projects. This will enable Apple to incorporate more features that will enhance customer experience in their iPhones. Observers believe that Turi’s acquisition will help boost machine learning features in iPhones. Some of these features include: facial and image recognition in photos, word choice prediction when typing messages and mail contents, and provision of context awareness in maps for improved directions.

2. To Guarantee Protections for Users’ Privacy

Acquiring Turi will also guarantee the protection of user’s privacy on iPhones. Turi’s intelligent services will ensure differential privacy, where customers’ details and conversation will remain on the device rather than move to the cloud. This will guarantee improvement on customers’ experience without the fear of their privacies being compromised.

3. To Improve Siri Performance

No doubt, Apple’s acquisition of an AI and machine learning developer as in case of Turi, will help enhance Siri’s performance as the company can now build the technology themselves. This will make Siri smarter in understanding and predicting users’ needs and provide appropriate responses.

In a nutshell, Apple’s acquisition of Turi reflects a larger push by the company into artificial intelligence and machine learning. This will enhance users’ experience especially in the three areas listed above. More also, Apple has been building an engineering outpost for the past four years in Seattle as well as creating expertise in data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning. All these technological inclined activities are indications that Apple has a bigger plan in the waiting with the Turi Acquisition.  Of course, this may include the expansion of its Siri personal assistant as well as related technologies.

Earlier in 2014, Apple had bought a cloud networking startup in Seattle named Union Bay Networks. This led Apple to establish an engineering office in Seattle where developers can be trained. With the recent acquisition of Turi, it seems Apple is planning to engage these developers in the building of apps with machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities to help make better sense of data.

It can be recalled that Apple has made several acquisitions since 2014, some of which include Perceptio and VocalIQ. These are two different artificial intelligence and machine learning companies just like Turi. These several acquisitions show that Apple certainly is investing billions of Dollars in the M&A market with the aim of pushing further into artificial intelligence and machine learning.


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