Apple has lost its way with artificial intelligence. That is at least the feeling of a market that sees how since OpenAI shook us all with ChatGPT, Cupertino seems to have missed the AI train. Or is it?
In recent weeks we have been seeing how maybe - just maybe - Apple was simply preparing its move. And if all goes as it seems, the move will be revealed at the upcoming WWDC 2024.
It will do so with the unveiling of iOS 18, the new version of Apple's mobile platform. Mark Gurman, an analyst at Bloomberg, indicated how according to his sources iOS 18 is seen internally "as one of the biggest iOS updates - if not the biggest - in the company's history."
It is best to be cautious with such claims, but the truth is that the indications point precisely to a big change in the future of iOS: the integration of a generative AI model that will be part of Siri and also other applications such as Messages. The data that have been leaking reveal the intention to use Siri to automate complex tasks, something that would take advantage of the Shortcuts app. Apple is also exploring the possibility of applying this technology to other tools such as Apple Music, Pages, Keynote and Xcode, says Gurman.
In December 2023 we already revealed how Apple seems to be closer to launching its hypothetical "AppleGPT", that chatbot that competes with ChatGPT but does so with a different approach: it would run locally, without the need to connect to the cloud. This is precisely what Google is proposing with Gemini Nano, a model that will start offering its features this week on the Samsung Galaxy S24 and Pixel 8.
These apparent efforts to apply generative AI models in iPhones would also have a lot to do with another striking section: Apple has been making acquisitions of artificial intelligence startups for some time.
As indicated in the Financial Times, since 2017, Apple has acquired 21 AI startups, more than any of its competitors. Accenture has made 19 acquisitions in the same period, compared to 12 by Microsoft, 11 by Meta, nine by Intel, and eight by IBM and Alphabet, according to PitchBook data.
Not only that, but the consulting firm Morgan Stanley pointed out that almost half of Apple's current job offerings include the term "Deep Learning." This technology is related to the systems used in generative AI models, confirming Apple's clear interest in this area, even though there is a feeling that they are taking their time to reveal their strategy.
Expectations are therefore growing, and if everything goes as it seems, there will be significant changes in iOS 18. If these changes occur, it will definitively confirm that 2024 is the year of the arrival of generative AI on mobile devices. This generative AI also stands out for operating locally, in a more private manner—an aspect Apple will undoubtedly emphasize. Despite being more modest, it will enable the utilization of this technology in innovative and practical ways on our smartphones.