After revealing the name of its soon-to-be-opened new headquarters in Silicon Valley, the iPhone maker is growing its footprint and workforce in Seattle—not far from the homes of Amazon and Microsoft.
Apple confirmed to tech news site GeekWire that the company will be renting out more floors at Two Union Square, a 56-story skyscraper in downtown Seattle, where it already leases two floors.
The new hires are expected to be working on projects primarily around artificial intelligence and machine learning—both of which could propel some of Apple’s existing software offerings (i.e. Siri) to better compete with the likes of Microsoft Cortana and Amazon’s very popular Alexa digital assistant.
It also builds upon Apple’s quiet move last summer to acquire Turi, a Seattle-based machine learning startup, in a deal reported to be worth around $200 million. Apple’s machine learning purchase portfolio also includes AI-related company Perceptio (thought to be for its image-classification skills) and British firm VocalIQ, which produced technology that could also help Apple’s AI digital assistant.
As for closer to home, Apple announced on Wednesday that its new spaceship-like campus—the brainchild of late CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs—will be named “Apple Park,” and is scheduled to open this April. However, Apple stipulated it will likely be more than six months for its more than 12,000 Apple employees who will work there to move in.
Apple will still be retaining its current headquarters at One Infinite Loop, but CEO Tim Cook is planning to move his office to the new state-of-the-art facility as well.