IBM and Apple announce new partnership to create smarter mobile apps

LAS VEGAS – IBM and Apple’s relationship went to another level when they announced yesterday that they were going to make business apps running on Apple devices more intelligent by combining IBM Watson machine learning with Apple Core ML.

Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and CEO, snuck in the announcement during her chairman’s address at the Mandalay Events Center in Las Vegas.

“You gotta keep making AI easier to use,” she said. “So 16 million apple developers … can natively get right to Watson.”

Core ML

This will allow customers building a machine learning model using Watson to integrate it with the iPhone camera to, for example, identify the make and model to order the correct parts for a machine.

The two companies have a relationship that dates back several years. In 2016, IBM launched its first app that ran on the Watson Health Cloud for ResearchKit called SleepHealth, which was also made available to researchers who built their own apps that work through Apple’s ResearchKit. Sleep Health monitors sleep habits of its users and collects data that the American Sleep Apnea Association could use to find solutions to common sleep problems, according to the app’s summary on iTunes. The app relies on the Apple Watch sensors for sleep tracking.

IBM and Apple also built more than 100 enterprise apps after IBM released new tools for developers coding server-side Swift in 2015.


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Alex Coop
Alex Coop
Former Editorial Director for IT World Canada and its sister publications.

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