Apple, IBM add machine learning muscle to enterprise iOS pact

The companies said they are linking up their respective AI and machine learning technologies to make enterprise iOS apps smarter.
Written by Natalie Gagliordi, Contributor

Apple and IBM are rolling out new set of integrations that expand on their existing pact to bring enterprise apps to iOS devices.

Image: IBM

First, the companies are linking up their respective AI and machine learning technologies to make enterprise iOS apps smarter. The companies are also offering a new developer console that lets Swift developers use the IBM Cloud to build apps that are easier to code.

On the AI front, IBM's Watson AI system will couple with Apple's Core ML to create a new product called IBM Watson Services for Core ML.

The framework aims to help developers create enterprise apps that learn from user activity and become smarter with each interaction. IBM Watson is delivered as a set of cloud-based services, while Core ML brings machine learning to apps on Apple devices.

IBM said the Watson Visual Recognition Service, a visual recognition model built on thousands of images, is the first available model from this integration, and can now be exported to Core ML and run on Apple devices. The main takeaway here is that developers can deploy a trained Core ML model to an iOS application without any code or calls to a server.

As for the developer console, IBM said it will offer enhanced step-by-step guidance for developers of all experience levels, along with integration with AI, data, and mobile services optimized for Swift.

"This is a huge integration and the only one out there," said IBM CEO Ginny Rometty, during her keynote address at IBM Think in Las Vegas.

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The companies said that the Coca-Cola Company is the first enterprise testing the advanced machine learning setup. The beverage brand is working on prototypes for how IBM Watson Services can be use to bring AI to field workers, including the use of visual recognition problem identification, cognitive diagnosis, and augmented repair.

For Apple, the expanded IBM partnership is in line with its efforts to make Apple devices more appealing for the enterprise via custom cloud apps. The latest push is all the more pressing as Apple and other device makers face shrinking consumer demand for smartphones and tablets.

"With IBM our goal has been to help enterprises reimagine the way they work," said Brian Croll, Apple's VP of OS product marketing.

"Core ML makes it easy for developers to bring machine learning to their apps without being an expert. Core ML runs models locally, is super fast, and protects privacy because sensitive information is kept on the device. We believe the combination of Core ML and Watson Services will inspire the next generation of intelligent enterprise apps."


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