Apple is reportedly working on bringing generative AI to its devices

Oct 23, 2023

OpenAI's ChatGPT created a significant impact over the past year, sending a ripple effect across the technology industry. Microsoft and Google jumped in to create their own versions of generative AI tech with Bing Chat and Bard to provide users with an easy way to find what the information they wanted, but Apple is yet to enter the battlefield.

While Google included on-device generative AI tech on its Android-powered Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, Microsoft unleashed Copilot on Windows 11 to assist users with their tasks, and Amazon updated Alexa with AI enhancements. In comparison, Apple shipped the iPhone 15 with no such improvements in iOS 17, unless you count a slightly improved autocorrect for the keyboard as an AI-enhancement.

That doesn't necessarily mean Apple isn't ready to compete with its bitter rivals. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reports that the Cupertino company is prepping to bring generative AI to its devices.

Apple could bring generative AI to its devices next year

Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, had recently revealed that the company has been developing its own generative AI technology for years. This is not surprising, considering that Apple has acquired several AI startups in the past few years. However, there has been some cause for concern within Apple's staff, with many employees feeling that the company has been caught off guard by the rise of AI.

Reports surfaced a few months ago regarding an Apple GPT chatbot which was being tested out internally by its staff. The AI tool is said to run on a custom large language model (LLM) called Ajax. It is also being tested in some customer service apps such as AppleCare. It's understandable why Apple hasn't adopted generative AI quickly, it will need to sort out several problems that are plaguing AI-based tools such as privacy issues, fake information, and potential safety issues. But the company cannot afford to sit back either, and miss out while its competitors capitalize on the situation, and possibly even attract iPhone and Mac users over to their own platforms.

Apple's AI teams are being headed by some big names. John Giannandrea, Senior Vice President of Machine Learning and AI Strategy, is overseeing the development of the technology that will power the AI system, which will also be integrated with Siri as soon as next year.

Craig Federighi, Apple's Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, is working on bringing the generative AI to iOS 18. This experience is being fine-tuned to handle user queries in Siri and improve the auto-completion of sentences in the Messages app. The company also wants to provide an AI-powered solution for developers who use Xcode to create new apps, not unlike the capabilities of Microsoft's GitHub Copilot.

Eddy Cue, Apple's Senior Vice President of Services, is also involved in the AI push, specifically to bring AI to as many apps as possible. The Silicon Valley giant could introduce generative AI in its productivity apps such as Pages and Keynote, to help write documents, or automatically create slide decks. Apple Music could gain new features like Spotify's auto-generated playlists.

Apple's generative AI project developments reportedly costs about $1 billion per year. The company's executives are debating on how to deploy the technology, i.e. whether it should be an on-device experience, a cloud-based platform, or a mix of both. While cloud-based solutions could allow for a more advanced experience, an on-device approach would be better to protect the privacy of users.

Apple is reportedly working on bringing generative AI to its devices
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Apple is reportedly working on bringing generative AI to its devices
Apple could bring generative AI to its devices next year.
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