One of the cornerstones of Apple's philosophy as a brand is that user data should never be stored and processed in the cloud. Rather, all data storage and processing should be done on an individual's own device, where not even Apple can access it. The Cupertino company's commitment to security has the support of many of its fans, but it has not come without a cost. While local storage is undoubtedly more secure, refusing cloud access means that Apple software is limited to leveraging the processing power of its own device, rather than being able to take advantage of powerful functionality that companies like Google and Facebook offer vie the cloud.
Rather than considering compromising their users' peace of mind, Apple's response has consistently been to simply make their devices more powerful so that they could add the functionality locally. Taking steps in that direction once again, the iPhone company's most recent acquisitions have been of small companies that work with intelligence technology, assumedly to make Apple's own virtual assistant, Siri, powerful enough to compete with Google Now or Microsoft's Cortana.
One of Apple's recent purchases is Perceptio, a software that specializes in using deep learning techniques to more efficiently run artificial intelligence technology on smartphones without processing user data in the cloud. Among the company's accomplishments to date is developing Smoothie, a video-editing app that utilizes complex facial-recognition computations it can run directly on a smartphone. Facebook or Google, on the other hand, process image data in their own cloud servers.
With Perceptio, Apple could be looking to improve Siri's ability to recognize users' faces in addition to their voices, or bring the facial-recognition features of Mac OSX to the iOS version of Photos.
Another Apple acquisition could signal coming improvements to Siri as well. The iPhone company recently bought British startup VocalIQ, a company that enhances the natural language capabilities of software, which would make it easier to have a natural conversation with computers.
While we can predict how these startup technologies might factor into the iPhones of the future, it doesn't look like we will get an indication from Apple any time soon as to where they might go with the technology. Instead, it simply repeats the mantra it issues whenever it purchases a new company: "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."
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