“Apple Inc. may be unmatched in consumer hardware, but when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI), the tech giant has lately ceded ground to several of its top rivals,” Annie Palmer writes for TheStreet. “But Apple has shown a willingness to open up its wallet to catch up. In the last two years, Apple’s priciest acquisitions have involved AI startups, according to CB Insights. The company acquired Lattice Data Inc. in May 2017 and Turi Inc. in August 2016, each for $200 million.”

Palmer writes, “‘Apple has ceded ground in the fields of machine learning, natural language processing and more to Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Amazon.com Inc. and others,’ CB Insights wrote in a Tuesday report ‘Apple also has a relatively weak patent portfolio in this area.'”

“Apple has turned to M&A to make up for lost time, completing 11 AI-related acquisitions in the last five years, CB Insights said. In 2016, Apple hired its first-ever director of AI research, Ruslan Salakhutdinov,” Palmer writes. “The company also designed its own AI chip, the Neural Engine, which is housed inside its A11 Bionic chip and speeds up speech and data processing in iPhones. That’s something rivals Google and Amazon don’t have, the firm noted. ”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The assumption that Apple is behind is just that, an assumption. With Apple’s Neural Engine nestled in each of our iPhone X units, and pretty much bupkis inside Android iPhone knockoffs, we’re simply not willing to buy that assumption.

The AI race is run in the dark. Nobody knows who’s ahead and who’d behind.

We wouldn’t bet against Apple especially since they’re certainly ahead of Google, Amazon, and everybody else in custom silicon.

Apple sees its mobile devices as platform for artificial intelligence – October 23, 2017
Apple gives their Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning researchers an outlet – July 20, 2017
Apple launches new Machine Learning website – July 19, 2017
Apple’s Artificial Intelligence Director discusses computers that can remember – March 29, 2017
New hire could be critical step toward attracting high-profile AI research talent to Apple – October 18, 2016
Apple hires a big brain in AI to smarten up Siri – October 17, 2016
Apple transforms Turi into dedicated machine learning division to build future product features – August 31, 2016
An exclusive inside look at how artificial intelligence and machine learning work at Apple – August 24, 2016
Apple rumored to be taking big piece of Seattle-area office market in expansion – August 12, 2016
Why Apple will become a leader in artificial intelligence – August 8, 2016
Apple buys machine-learning startup Turi for $200 million – August 6, 2016
Apple touts Artificial Intelligence in iOS and opens ‘crown jewels’ to developers – June 14, 2016
Smartphones to die out within five years, replaced by artificial intelligence – survey – December 9, 2015
Apple’s extreme secrecy retarding its artificial intelligence work – October 30, 2015
Apple hires NVIDIA’s artificial intelligence director – October 24, 2015
Apple acquires advanced artificial intelligence startup Perceptio – October 5, 2015
Apple buys artificial intelligence natural language start-up VocalIQ – October 2, 2015

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]