In an interview with Japan’s Nikkei, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has revealed that Apple will be opening its first R&D center in Japan in Yokohama, near Tokyo later this year. This is Tim Cook’s first visit to Japan since he became the CEO of the company in 2011.
The R&D center in Japan will be Apple’s first outside of the United States to focus on artificial intelligence and other “deep engineering” techniques making it “very different” from Apple’s upcoming R&D base in China.
“I cannot tell you the specifics,” he said. “The specific work is very different.”
Tim Cook emphasized that Apple wants to use AI across all its products and “in ways that most people don’t even think about.” Citing an example, he said that the company wants AI to increase the battery life of their devices, recommend music to Apple Music subscribers, and help you remember where you parked your car. The final feature is already available for iOS 10 users.
Apple has been laying great emphasis on the Japanese smartphone market in recent times, especially after its sales have slowed down in China. With the iPhone 7, Apple added support for Japan’s FeliCa standard to the phone thereby paving the way for Apple Pay to launch in the country. Similarly, the company has worked closely with Nintendo to bring some of its iconic characters to its mobile platform first. Nintendo demoed its first Super Mario game, Super Mario Run, at Apple’s iPhone 7 launch event. The free-to-play game will launch this holiday season.