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Apple Ferret LLM Explained

Apple's answer to GPT-4

Reviewed By: Kevin Pocock

Last Updated on January 4, 2024
Apple Ferret 7B AI model. LLM rival to ChatGPT GPT-4.
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Apple is the last of the tech giants to go public with its proprietary LLM (Large Language Model). In the wake of Microsoft Copilot (formerly Bing Chat), Google Bard, xAI Grok, Meta AI Chatbots, Anthropic Claude, the rumored Amazon Olympus, and of course, OpenAI’s ChatGPT surpassing 100 million weekly active users, artificial intelligence was the ‘it’ tech of 2023. Apple Ferret 7B and Ferret 13B come out of the gate with impressive multimodal capabilities. There was no doubt that Apple would follow suit eventually, but the question now is whether it can keep up.

What is the Apple Ferret LLM?

Apple Ferret LLM is the newest AI model in big tech. LLM stands for Large Language Model and is an AI model that handles text input and text output. It uses natural language processing (NLP) to interpret a text prompt (input) and respond as a human would. Traditional computer systems are very literal and objective in the way they use data, which differs from how humans communicate with language, with all its implications, inferences, and emotional context. A good LLM will replicate human speech, and this technology is what powers an AI chatbot, such as ChatGPT. In that case, the GPT-4 foundation model is the LLM, and ChatGPT is the chatbot.

It is a multimodal AI system, which outperforms OpenAI’s VLM (Visual Language Model) GPT-4V in some tests. It does this by using a popular open-source model called CLIP (Contrastive Language–Image Pretraining), specifically CLIP ViT-L/14, designed by OpenAI for computer vision and image classification tasks.

Apple, one of the world’s few trillion-dollar companies, certainly has the funding to lead the pack. However, with this emerging technology, your LLM is only as good as your engineers, and OpenAI has strategically been hiring the world’s best machine learning scientists since 2015. Eight years later, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is on a historic run, ending 2023 with a company valuation between $80 and $90 Billion. As the highest-paying tech firm by average engineer salary, which is also breaking exciting new scientific ground, OpenAI has more pull than Apple for skilled AI programmers.

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How to use Apple AI Ferret 7B and Ferret 13B

To use Apple Ferret 7B or Ferret 13B, navigate to the GitHub repository, which is complete with all the files you’ll need to download as well as installation instructions.

Apple’s GitHub repository provides open-source access to two different sizes of the AI model – Ferret 7B, and Ferret 13B. The dataset is CC BY NC 4.0 (allowing only non-commercial use), and “models trained using the dataset should not be used outside of research purposes”.

Apple researchers have published a paper on Arxiv titled “An End-to-End MLLM that Accept Any-Form Referring and Ground Anything in Response.”, in which you can read about the technical aspects in further detail. The paper was published on Wednesday, October 11th, 2023, by researchers Haoxuan You, Haotian Zhang, Zhe Gan, Xianzhi Du, Bowen Zhang, Zirui Wang, Liangliang Cao, Shih-Fu Chang, and Yinfei Yang.

Voted Word of the Year by Collins Dictionary, AI (Artificial Intelligence) is the most searched term of 2023. However, make no mistake that every big tech company has had some internal understanding of AI prior to last year.

Steve is an AI Content Writer for PC Guide, writing about all things artificial intelligence. He currently leads the AI reviews on the website.