Apple buys AI specialist Perceptio to improve imaging on iOS-powered devices.

Apple on Tuesday announced that it has acquired Perceptio, a startup developing technology to let companies run artificial intelligence systems on smartphones without needing to share as much user data. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Apple spokesman Colin Johnson said in a statement: “Apple buys smaller technology businesses from time to time, and Nicolas generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” 

Analysts believe that this deal may have something to do with improving image analysis on iPhones. Perception builds technology that could run AI image-classification systems on smartphones, without having to draw from large external repositories of information. This fits Apple’s strategy of trying to minimize its usage of user data and do as much processing as possible on the mobile device. 

Perceptio does not have an official website, its leader, Nicolas Pinto and Zak Stone, are well-known AI researchers who specialize in developing image-recognition technology using deep learning. Deep learning is a new area of Machine Learning that lets computers learns to identify and recognize sensory input. 

Last week, Apple has acquired VocalIQ, a UK-based software startup that made AI technology to create Siri-like digital personal assistants capable of having longer human-like conversations.