Apple acquires Pullstring, AI startup behind ‘Hello Barbie’

apple,apple pullstring,apple acquires pullstring A customer tests a smartphone during the launch of the new iPhone XS and XS Max sales at “re:Store” Apple reseller shop in Moscow, Russia September 28, 2018. REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva/File Photo(REUTERS)

Apple is pulling up its socks in the AI race and as part of its latest efforts, the iPhone maker has acquired a San Francisco-based AI startup called Pullstring.

The startup helps companies design and publish voice-based apps which leverage existing voice assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant. According to Axios, Pullstring may help Apple’s Siri better compete with Alexa.

Pullstring was founded in 2011 by a group of ex Pixar executives and was used originally to power interactive voice apps for toys, including Hello Barbie in 2015.

The startup later broadened its service with the introduction of IoT-enabled gadgets such as Amazon Echo and Google Assistant. The value of the deal between Apple and Pullstring is unknown.