In his first trip to Japan as Apple CEO, Tim Cook painted a grand future for the artificial intelligence that will soon be developed in the company’s Yokohama facility, telling Nikkei it will be “horizontal in nature, running across all products.” Cook said new AI developments will transform the way people use their phones “in ways that most people don’t even think about,” helping with everything from increasing battery life in iPhones, to locating cars in a crowded parking lot. Cook sees an “incredible future ahead” as the smartphone industry matures, and other smart devices expand into new business and medical uses.
In addition to Apple’s opening its new Yokohama research and development center later this year, the company has partnered with IBM and Japan Post Holdings to develop iPad-based health care services for the elderly, with Cook pointing out that Japan’s rapidly aging population put the country in the “best position to lead” in that area of innovation. The company has also strengthened its ties to Japan by including the country’s Felica mobile payment standard in the iPhone 7, paving the way for expanding Apple Pay into Japan. “We would like to be a catalyst for taking cash out of the system,” Cook said. “We don’t think the consumer particularly likes cash.”