Apple to shutter 121-person San Diego team, marking a big blow to Siri and AI progress — all to relocate to Austin or face redundancy

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(Image credit: iMore)

Over the last few years, employees of Apple have been working out of an office in San Diego to improve Siri’s AI by evaluating responses. Now, they have mere weeks to decide if they are moving state or their role at the company will be terminated. 

As originally reported by Mark Gurman at Bloomberg, the 121-person ‘Data Operations Annotations’ team will be shuttered and merged with the team of the same name in Austin, Texas. Employees in the San Diego branch have until the end of February to agree to relocate, or they will have their employment terminated on April 26. 

Significant portions of the team reportedly indicated to Bloomberg that they would not be relocating, and suggested that Apple representatives told them the relocation would actually happen within the city. Many workers affected are worried about applying for another role at Apple in San Diego as they don’t have the engineering background many roles would require. Those who don’t relocate will receive four weeks of severance and another week for every year at the company. Those who will relocate have been offered $7,000 to assist the move. 

Apple told Bloomberg that it would be bringing its “Data Operations Annotations teams in the US together at our campus in Austin, where a majority of the team is already based.” Continuing this, Apple told Bloomberg “everyone currently employed will have the opportunity to continue their role with Apple in Austin.”

Not just Siri

As well as working on Siri by reporting and evaluating customer responses, some of the employees were working on LLMs (large language models) which will then be used in AI projects. 

It's important to note that, as was reported to Bloomberg, many of the employees who have worked on this project for years will not be staying with the company due to this relocation. This means that not only is Apple missing out on that lost work while rehiring employees in Austin, but employees with information on the last few years of AI and Siri development are also going with it. Apple is expected to showcase generative AI in its products later this year and solidifying employees into a single branch could be an effort to make a more cohesive workspace for longer form collaboration. 

iMore has reached out to Apple for comment.

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James Bentley

James is a staff writer and general Jack of all trades at iMore. With news, features, reviews, and guides under his belt, he has always liked Apple for its unique branding and distinctive style. Originally buying a Macbook for music and video production, he has since gone on to join the Apple ecosystem with as many devices as he can fit on his person. 


With a degree in Law and Media and being a little too young to move onto the next step of his law career, James started writing from his bedroom about games, movies, tech, and anything else he could think of. Within months, this turned into a fully-fledged career as a freelance journalist. Before joining iMore, he was a staff writer at Gfinity and saw himself published at sites like TechRadar, NME, and Eurogamer. 


As his extensive portfolio implies, James was predominantly a games journalist before joining iMore and brings with him a unique perspective on Apple itself. When not working, he is trying to catch up with the movies and albums of the year, as well as finally finishing the Yakuza series. If you like Midwest emo music or pretentious indie games that will make you cry, he’ll talk your ear off.

  • Lestat1886
    Well if they decided themselves to relocate it, it won’t be a big blow for Apple….
    Reply
  • Wotchered
    And is Apple paying for relocation ?
    Reply
  • Lee_Bo
    Wotchered said:
    And is Apple paying for relocation ?

    Probably not.

    Yet we’re all still paying $1500 for iPhones.
    Reply
  • EdwinG
    Wotchered said:
    And is Apple paying for relocation ?
    To answer your question, yes.

    iMore said:
    Those who don’t relocate will receive four weeks of severance and another week for every year at the company. Those who will relocate have been offered $7,000 to assist the move.
    Reply
  • Wotchered
    Good ! prob not enough to make up for leaving the West coast though, and won't pay the realtor's fees !
    I wonder what the comparative cost of living is ?
    Reply