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Inside sources report that Apple is working on a flight of new generative AI experiences within their range of software products. Coming next year, the software engineering group are set to release significant updates to a new Siri, Apple Music, Keynote, Xcode, and in-house LLM Ajax, dubbed “Apple GPT”. Apple’s senior vice presidents in charge of AI are considering a hybrid deployment approach, with on-device hardware acceleration paired with a cloud-based setup for AI processing in the next version of iOS.
Apple’s generative AI — The new Siri, Xcode, Apple Music and more
First and foremost, the confirmation of an AI-powered Siri is the one most fans are excited about, understandably. Siri already includes a form of AI as it stands today, but with a great deal of confusion surrounding it. Apple’s mobile assistant is, at it’s heart, an information recall (IR) system, not an AI chatbot like ChatGPT; The former collects the most relevant pre-existing information by crawling the internet, while the latter generates unique text that did not necessarily exist prior. Artificial intelligence can be used to speed up the crawling process, or increase the relevancy of recalled information — but this form of AI is not generative. This deals with the problem of data processing, whereas generative AI, by definition, generates an output (generate and recall are not synonyms).
So then, what can we look forward to in a truly generative AI Siri? The voice assistant will at last be able to generate real-time responses in the same way as everyone’s favorite AI chatbot, OpenAI’s ChatGPT. In fact, the LLM (large language model) being developed for this purpose is reportedly being referred to internally as Apple GPT!
Apple executives John Giannandrea, SVP of Machine Learning and AI Strategy, along with Craig Federighi, SVP of Software Engineering lead the generative AI push. The senior vice presidents, direct reports to Apple CEO Tim Cook, are joined by Eddy Cue, SVP of Services, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. The tech giant reportedly considers the industry’s sudden AI fever an “pretty big miss”, leading to a “lot of anxiety” within Federighi’s team.
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Apple Xcode and Ajax
In addition to a smarter version of Siri digital assistant, apple are deep into development of their own LLM (large language model) called Ajax. The AI model will be capable of all the natural language processing (NLP) tasks we’ve quickly come to expect from competitors ChatGPT, Bing Chat, and Google Bard. In addition, Ajax will be able to write and interpret code. This comes in conjunction with an update to the firms propriety software engineering platform, Xcode. Since 2003, this has been Apple’s “integrated development environment for macOS, used to develop software for macOS, iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, tvOS, and visionOS”.
Generative text autocomplete
Autocomplete has been a standard feature of modern messaging apps for years. However, starting in 2024, the new AI enhancements will improve how Siri and Apple’s own Messages app auto-complete sentences.
Apple Music generative AI playlists
Apple’s music streaming service will get the AI treatment in 2024, enabling it to create playlists in the same way as Spotify. Auto-generated playlists will curate music along side your own manually compiled playlists.
Apple joins the AI race — Too little too late?
It was only recently that Meta caught up in the AI race with a similarly broad swathe of generative AI products. These products and features include AI-generated ads and AI chatbots coming to Meta platforms Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, as well as generative AI stickers. Meta AI Studio, an LLM creation platform which allows other businesses to build their own custom AI models could be used employed to do everything Apple has in the works.
Of course, Apple will instead be doing everything from scratch in-house to retain maximum control and legal ownership, as every other tech giant has done before them. It would be naïve to think that any of the world’s tech giants only heard of machine learning technology after OpenAI’s November 2022 release, but even so, the Mac manufacturer has already given every single competitor a several-month lead in the consumer market. With Tim Cooks firm yet to release an AI chatbot, it will be increasingly difficult to catch up with every passing week.
Apple joins a pretty comprehensive list of tech giants involved in the AI race, including Microsoft (in association with OpenAI), Google (and parent company Alphabet), Amazon, Baidu, Adobe, IBM, NVIDIA, and AMD.