Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not a new buzzword or the latest technology; in fact, it is much older than you would imagine. However, technology has developed enormously and emerged as a disruptive force in the tech industry. Every second company, whether Meta, Google, or IBM, relies on AI to deliver enhanced user experiences. But when it comes to AI, Apple seems to be sitting on the sidelines. Therefore, Apple AI evolution still needs to go a long way.
Despite numerous anticipations that Apple could unveil its AI plans during Worldwide Annual Developer’s Conference (WWDC) held on June 2023, the company largely ignored an element that is everywhere else right now: Generative AI.
Since the launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT release last year, technology reporters have been speculating over the Apple AI announcement and its future plans for WWDC 2023. However, all these speculations ended when the company announced Vision Pro (Apple’s new augmented reality headset) and a few significant AI features, which primarily include an improved iPhone autocorrect feature based on machine learning (ML).
Despite being the most prominent player in the tech scene, Apple doesn’t promote AI to the same extent as Microsoft and Google. The company’s efforts have always looked at machine learning and enhancing the efficiency of its Smart Assistant feature - Siri.
The company’s ignorance of Generative AI in its future plans has raised many questions - Will Apple ever create its own generative AI model? And will there be any more AI technology launched in the near future? To find it out, we did a lot of research on Apple’s current progress on AI and its future plans.
An essential part of Apple AI is research. The company spends millions of dollars every year on research and development (R&D). The company's steadfast commitment to AI research has propelled it to the forefront of technological advancement.
With substantial liquidity of approximately $177 billion as of the second quarter of fiscal 2023, Apple has consistently allocated significant resources to fuel its R&D initiatives. The company increased its R&D spending by 20% in the first half of fiscal 2023, exceeding $15 billion. Undoubtedly, a considerable portion of these investments has been directed toward harnessing the potential of AI.
Within Apple's vast ecosystem, a diverse array of developers and researchers work tirelessly on AI advancements, both on the hardware and software fronts. Collaborating in specialized groups, these experts delve into crucial areas such as ML infrastructure, deep learning, natural language processing, computer vision, and applied research.
While Apple's in-house AI endeavors are impressive, the company recognizes the pivotal role of academia in shaping the future of AI. Apple has established the esteemed Apple Scholars program. This initiative extends prestigious fellowships to Ph.D. students pursuing cutting-edge research in ML and AI at renowned universities worldwide.
Further reinforcing its commitment to bridging the gap between academia and industry, Apple initiated the AIML Residency Program. This groundbreaking initiative unites experts from diverse backgrounds and fields, pooling their theoretical knowledge to create revolutionary AI-powered products and experiences.
Apple serves as a mentor, empowering these residents with guidance and resources, including opportunities to present their findings at AI- and ML-related conferences and publish their work. Such investments not only nurture talent but also establish a robust research and development pipeline, securing a lasting competitive advantage for Apple in the dynamic fields of AI and ML.
There is nothing wrong in calling Artificial Intelligence the ‘Technology of the Century.’ It has transformed various industries. While Apple has never been a promoter of this technology, it has still adopted a more innovative approach toward AI.
Unsurprisingly, much of Apple AI integration revolves around Ai machine learning, a subset of AI. The company’s official embracement of AI was started in 2011 when it first introduced Siri, an ML-based smart assistant, to its iPhone. The speech-based system relies on ML and AI to recognize the user voice, process requests, and accurately respond in a clear and recognizable voice.
Apple’s Vision Pro debuted on June 05, 2023, after years of speculation and contributions from engineers. The mixed-reality headset promises immersion in games, apps, workplaces, and movies.
The AR and AI-powered handset is packed with world-class features and hardware specifications, including 20+ cameras, microphones, sensors, an external battery, and two processing chips.
Auto-correct has been a part of Apple products since their initial launch. However, the company’s announcement during WWDC 2023 about Apple AI's upgradation of spelling software will make it more precise.
The next-generation auto-correct will not only check words against the dictionary but will have the capabilities to consider the word’s context in the sentence.
Apple's HomeKit framework serves as a comprehensive, innovative home solution, enabling users to control and communicate with connected accessories effortlessly. By harnessing facial recognition capabilities, HomeKit-enabled security cameras can identify individuals at the door using photos tagged on the user's device.
This innovative feature not only enhances security but also enables personalized interactions, as the system can announce the name of the person standing at the door, offering a seamless and convenient user experience.
The native sleep-tracking feature on the Apple Watch exemplifies Apple's dedication to improving users' well-being. The watch can accurately classify movements and detect sleep patterns by leveraging machine learning algorithms.
With the ability to create customizable bedtime schedules and track sleep duration and quality, users can gain valuable insights into their sleep habits, enabling them to achieve their sleep goals and enhance overall wellness.
The Apple Watch showcases its versatility by going beyond traditional health monitoring capabilities. Leveraging motion sensors and the microphone, the watch can detect when a user starts washing their hands and initiates a 20-second timer, in line with global health recommendations.
This intelligent feature encourages proper hand hygiene and helps users develop healthier habits. Furthermore, the watch provides timely reminders to wash hands upon returning home, emphasizing the significance of cleanliness and well-being.
With the release of iOS 14, Apple revolutionized app management by introducing the App Library. Utilizing on-device intelligence, this feature intelligently predicts and presents apps that users will likely need next, simplifying app discovery and enhancing productivity.
By providing a curated and context-aware app experience, Apple empowers users to navigate their devices seamlessly, ensuring efficient access to essential apps.
Apple's Translate app, powered by on-device machine learning, facilitates seamless language translations. Users can employ the app offline, making it an invaluable tool for both language learning and real-time conversations.
With the ability to automatically detect spoken languages and offer live translations, Apple empowers users to communicate effectively across linguistic barriers, fostering global connections and promoting cultural understanding.
Accessibility features have always been a cornerstone of Apple's inclusive approach. Sound Recognition, an innovative addition to iOS 14, provides users with visual cues for various sounds in their environment.
By leveraging AI, an iPhone equipped with this feature can identify sounds like doorbells, sirens, barking dogs, or crying babies. This technology ensures that individuals with hearing challenges can perceive their surroundings more effectively, enhancing their overall safety and quality of life.
Apple's continuous pursuit of intuitive user experiences led to the development of handwriting recognition in iPadOS. By utilizing machine learning algorithms, the iPad can interpret handwritten input made with the Apple Pencil and convert it into typed text using Scribble.
This advancement enhances productivity and enables a more natural and seamless transition between handwriting and digital content creation, further blurring the line between human and AI interaction.
Apple has always been at the forefront when it comes to technological advancement, and it wouldn’t be surprising to know how extensively the company uses big data. However, Apple is not only the one on this list; its core competitors, like Google, were already utilizing big data.
The two of the most prominent areas where Apple AI uses big data include app design and maintaining a track of user’s health and lifestyle. The company’s AI-induced engineers work tirelessly to become enmeshed in Big Data analytics.
However, Apple has always remained cryptic about utilizing Big data and AI. The company’s upper hand over its competitors is clearly evident by the fact that Apple products are not only highly popular but are created to capture data. This is why Apple every year comes with a product that emphasizes consumer behavior and other crucial data.
Apple recognizes that the fusion of AI and everyday applications holds immense potential. CoreML, the machine learning framework developed by Apple, has been instrumental in democratizing AI for iOS app developers.
By seamlessly integrating AI capabilities, such as natural language processing (NLP) and image analysis, CoreML enables developers to create more intelligent, more intuitive apps. The remarkable on-device performance, minimal memory footprint, and power efficiency of CoreML empower users to unlock new experiences on their iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and Macs.
While AI may dominate conversations around Apple's future, the company's foray into virtual reality (VR) has garnered significant attention. Apple's strategic acquisitions of AR/VR companies indicate a concerted effort to explore the immersive potential of this burgeoning technology. With rumors swirling about the imminent release of Apple's own VR headsets, industry watchers eagerly anticipate the company's unique spin on design and functionality.
Apple's reputation for sleek, contemporary design raises intriguing possibilities for their VR endeavor. Although existing VR headsets like Oculus have set a benchmark, Apple's expertise in crafting visually appealing products has the potential to redefine expectations.
As VR continues to mature, Apple envisions its potential far beyond gaming. Following in the footsteps of Facebook's "Metaverse," Apple aims to create an artificial universe where users can interact and engage using customizable Memoji avatars. This vision extends beyond mere entertainment and opens up new avenues for socialization, education, and even business applications.
With the ability to simulate conferences, showcase new products, and offer self-service experiences, AI technology has become a powerful marketing tool for Apple, offering a glimpse into a future brimming with possibilities.
Since OpenAI launched ChatGPT, the global excitement to copy it has been quite high. Every tech company is stoked to reverse-engineer it. However, the biggest tech giant - Apple, is nowhere in the race.
Microsoft has spent about $10 billion on OpenAI to integrate ChatGPT with its Bing AI. At the same time, Google has also launched Bard AI to give tough competition in the generative AI landscape. Amazon also jumped into the race with its cloud division.
That four are the world’s most valuable and tech-advanced companies, yet the most popular among them has no answer for what’s its take on generative AI. During the internal AI summit held in February, Apple didn’t mention anything about incorporating generative AI.
As mentioned above, Apple AI in the current products is helping users to a great extent, but the introduction of generative AI could come as a tidal wave. Anyway, Apple was the first big tech company that established the lead in making the first AI-powered smart voice assistant. But it looks conventional in terms of ChatGPT standards.
Apple needs massive computational clusters and investment in significant AI technologies to survive in this new AI era. While Apple hasn't publicly disclosed any plans for generative AI, its continuous efforts toward enhanced user experiences may lead it to create a personalized generative AI assistant in the future.
To conclude this blog, we can say Apple is at the forefront of harnessing technological advances to improve user experiences. However, Apple AI is still far from reach. The company’s constant efforts in integrating AI and ML will surely make a big difference in the near future.
As we have come to the end of this blog, hope it finds you well to your knowledge. We discussed the current status of Apple AI alongside how the company is using AI & big data.
We have also talked about the future of Apple AI and the possibility of whether the company will ever launch its own generative AI. So, if you have missed any point, consider rereading it to get valuable knowledge of what’s happening in the tech world.