Be it OpenAI’s ChatGPT or generative AI versions of Microsoft and Google’s search engines, all have already made a successful foray into the artificial intelligence (AI) field. However, tech giant Apple is yet to make its AI debut. With the sudden rise of generative AI, we might see the Cupertino giant take the AI route.
In a recent Power On newsletter, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says Apple was surprised by the industry’s sudden AI fever this year. As a result, the company is reportedly working on multiple generative AI-based features covering many of its apps and services, which could be added in the next version of the iOS operating system, iOS 18.
“There’s a lot of anxiety about this and it’s considered a pretty big miss internally,” a person with knowledge of the matter told Power On.
According to Gurman, Apple has developed its own large-language model called Ajax and has rolled out an internal chatbot dubbed “Apple GPT” to test the functionality.
Apple’s Senior Vice Presidents in charge of AI and software engineering, John Giannandrea and Craig Federighi, lead the project. Eddy Cue, the head of services, is involved in the AI project.
Giannandrea is said to be overseeing the development of the underlying technologies for a new AI system. Also, his team is revamping Siri to deeply integrate it with AI, which could be ready as soon as next year, adds Gurman. In the meantime, Federighi’s software engineering group is adding AI to the next version of iOS.
“There’s an edict to fill it with features running on the company’s large language model, or LLM, which uses a flood of data to hone AI capabilities. The new features should improve how both Siri and the Messages app can field questions and auto-complete sentences, mirroring recent changes to competing services,” Gurman writes.
“Apple’s software engineering teams are also looking at integrating generative AI into development tools like Xcode, a move that could help app developers write new applications more quickly.”
In addition, Cue’s team is examining how generative AI can be added to Apple’s productivity apps like Pages or auto-create slide decks in Keynote and exploring new features for Apple Music, including auto-generated playlists. The company is also testing generative AI for internal customer service apps within its AppleCare group.
Apple is reportedly likely to spend $1 billion annually on AI research. However, an internal debate is currently going on within the company on whether Apple should deploy generative AI as a completely on-device experience, a cloud-based setup, or a hybrid approach.