Those special search features are wrapped up with Siri, the digital personal assistant that is built in to the iPhone and iPad. Siri is expected to play a central role in Apple’s big event this week, after it was teased on invitations.
The company is at the moment trying to hire at least 86 more employees that work in machine learning, according to its job posts. And it is also hiring more aggressively from experts that are currently working at other companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook, according to Reuters. But Apple’s attempts to launch a fully artificially intelligent digital assistant might be frustrated by its commitment not to store or use its customers’ personal data.
Google’s Now, for instance, packs in more features than Siri — but it also looks through emails and calendars to do so, computing that in the cloud. Apple has repeatedly stressed that it doesn’t want to see users’ data, and that all of Siri’s understanding of people is based on the phone itself rather than on the cloud or over the internet.
Some experts have chosen not to work at Apple because its rules on data mean that they have less information to work with, according to the Reuters report. Apple is beefing up its artificial intelligence team, in an apparent attempt to make iPhones clever enough to know what they’re users want before they do.
The company has launched a huge hiring push to take on more experts in machine learning — a branch of computing that aims to make devices that think like humans. The push is likely part of Apple’s attempts to make iPhones more clever and able to predict and then anticipate what users are looking for, which is being built in to its personal assistant, Siri.
Apple has already rolled out some of those features in iOS 9, the operating system that is expected to roll out with the new iPhone 6s. But they are so far relatively limited — guessing what apps people are about to use or where they might want to go, for instance.