Apple has taken over the start-up Pullstring, reports Axios. The company of former Pixar employees specializes in speech assistants with artificial intelligence.
Apple would have paid 100 million dollars (88 million euros) for Pullstring, which was founded in 2011 under the direction of the former technical head of animation studio Pixar. The company is best known as the maker of relatively simple speech software in toys, such as those in a talking Barbie doll.
Recently, however, Pullstring also helped companies that wanted to create apps for Google and Amazon speech assistants. In contrast to Apple’s Siri, companies can make a sort of stand-alone speech assistant that can be opened with the voice on a smart speaker, for example.
Apple might want to speed up Siri’s development with the acquisition. The company was one of the first in 2011 with a voice-assisted assistant, but Siri has in the meantime been overtaken by assistants from Google and Amazon, among others.
In 2018, Apple took over the former Google CEO for artificial intelligence. Siri is now being developed under his supervision. Recently, the former head of the Siri development team was given a new job within Apple. The company would like to focus more on the longer-term development of Siri, and less on small, incremental updates.