Apple is already investing heavily in artificial intelligence, and will start adding it to its existing range of products and services — declared CEO Tim Cook during a recent earnings call. The Apple boss also confirmed the company would be deploying generative AI tools like those appearing in Android phones and in Windows 11 next year, but would be doing so “responsibly."
As Microsoft launched Copilot, Google rolled out Bard and other companies embraced generative AI, Apple remained tight-lipped. It referenced the use of foundation models in transcription, and machine learning on the iPhone but didn't jump on the AI hype bandwagon.
This led to speculation over how the company would respond to such a drastic shift in the tech ecosystem. During the Q4 earnings call, Cook said Apple doesn’t label products with AI but that doesn’t mean it isn’t using artificial intelligence in its tools.
AI ‘underpins’ Apple services
Cook told investors that if you zoom out and look at what has been released by Apple you’d find that AI and machine learning are “integral to virtually every product that we ship.”
He went on to give the example of personal voice cloning and live voicemail in iOS 17, as well as fall detection and ECG reading on the Apple Watch.
Most recently, in the beta release of iOS 17.2, Apple launched a new feature that lets CarPlay or AirPods explain the contents of an image sent through iMessage.
“We don’t label them as such, if you will,” said Cook. “We label them as to what their consumer benefit is, but the fundamental technology behind it is AI and machine learning.”
Next generation of AI
The big change will come when Apple adds greater functionality to tools like Siri, or follows the likes of Microsoft with Copilot or Google with Duet and includes generative writing and image capabilities in its office products.
Cook says this is in development but is happening responsibly. He says Apple is investing heavily in generative AI. “We’re investing quite a bit,” he said.
“We’re going to do it responsibly, and it will… you will see product advancements over time where those technologies are at the heart of them.”
This could include the rumored AppleGPT, a chatbot AI model similar to ChatGPT that is said to be in use by Apple’s developers internally but not available publicly.
The delay in Apple rolling out generative AI tools is likely tied to its high-level privacy requirements, wanting to find ways to process personal data on devices using the neural engines built into its chips.
These are already used for transcribing audio, training a clone of your voice, copying text from an image and removing the background from a photo.