While the likes of Google, Microsoft and others have been leaping head-first into the generative AI business, Apple has been taking a more measured approach. While the company isn’t racing to release its own AI tools to the public, "Apple GPT" is happening — and it may be further along than we realized.
According to Mark Gurman, in the latest installment of his Power On newsletter, Apple GPT is already in use by its employees. Described as a “ChatGPT-like service” Gurman claims the tool is designed to help prototype future features, summarize text and answer questions based on the existing knowledge the bot has been trained on.
However Apple GPT, or "Ajax" as it is officially known, could have a bright future within Apple itself — beyond its current, limited assignments. One potential application includes helping AppleCare support staff assist customers. But beyond that we don’t know all that much about Apple’s future plans. In fact Apple might not even know either.
Gurman claims Apple still hasn’t decided what its future generative AI products will eventually look like. As is the case with almost every product it makes, Apple is taking things slowly and isn’t likely to make any major announcements until it has something concrete to reveal.
In a way you can understand Apple’s stance here. Even if you ignore its history of taking time to explore new product lines, generative AI has been controversial. Whether it’s because bots are prone to mistakes, potential issues with copyright infringement, or the general fears with letting AI development continue unregulated.
Though, as it turns out, a reluctance to release AI products to the public doesn’t mean Apple is ignoring the trend altogether. Just that it’s keeping all that work inside the company, and for the benefit of its employees. Or so it seems right now.
However sources have previously told Gurman that Apple could have a “significant AI-related announcement” sometime next year. WWDC is the most likely forum for such an announcement, given its status as a software and developer-focussed show, but that still hinges on Apple having something satisfactory to talk about publicly.
Of course there’s more to AI research than chatbots and generative AI. Machine learning has been employed on Apple devices for quite some time. Apple recently announced AI will be employed to improve and personalize autocorrect in iOS 17, while search and photos have benefitted from AI enhancements over the years. Similarly, the iPhone 15 is said to involve "agressive" use of AI.
Maybe you won’t be able to ask Siri to write all your emails for you anytime soon. But at least Apple is still involved in the AI-race, looking for ways to make those tools genuinely useful. Just don’t expect it to actually talk much about it.