Apple steps up smart home fight against Amazon and Google

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The HomePod -- a beautiful body with the brain of an idiot.
Apple wants to make a bigger mark on your home.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple is ramping up its smart home efforts in a bid to better compete against Amazon and Google, according to a new report.

Cupertino is said to be hiring for a team that will be focused on revamping HomeKit software and devices. It also wants to encourage more third-party manufacturers to support its platform.

ACLU says Apple employee was illegally harassed by U.S. Customs

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Silk Labs
Andreas Gal is the founder of AI startup Silk Labs, acquired by Apple.
Photo: Silk Labs

An Apple employee was allegedly illegally harassed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) while passing through Customs. Andreas Gal, founder of Silk Labs, an AI startup acquired by Apple, says he was asked for the passwords to his Apple-issued phone and computer.

When he asked to speak with a lawyer, due to the contents being covered by a nondisclosure agreement, CBP officials reportedly refused. Instead, Gal was threatened with prosecution.

Apple acquires AI startup with a focus on privacy

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Silk Labs
Silk Labs' privacy policy reads like it was written by Tim Cook.
Photo: Silk Labs

Apple has reportedly acquired an artificial intelligence startup that specializes in on-device machine learning software.

Silk Labs’ technology processes data without sending it to the cloud, which is a perfect fit for Apple’s privacy-conscious approach to AI. It’s not clear how much Cupertino paid for the company when the deal was struck earlier this year.