Apple remains an AI outsider, but for how long?

August 4, 2023

Apple AI

Apple has been notably reserved in its AI discussions and certainly isn’t banging the drum as loudly as Microsoft, Alphabet, and Meta. 

Rather, Apple has played the role of a casual observer as its rivals Microsoft, Google, and Meta get stuck into the technology – or at least, that’s what they want people to think. 

During Apple’s recent earnings call, AI was a subplot rather than the main story, with “AI” or “artificial intelligence” being mentioned just 6 times, all during the Q&A with Deutsche Bank analyst Sidney Ho.

In contrast, Alphabet, Microsoft, and Meta all mentioned those terms over 50 times. The average mentions of AI across all S&P 500 earnings calls were 3.7, including hundreds of companies that aren’t even tech-centric. 

However, CEO Tim Cook hinted that Apple AI projects are in the works, which was recently confirmed from leaked data indicating the company was working on a chatbot nicknamed “Apple GPT.”

Cook reminded people that AI is already very much embedded in the company’s products.

He said AI is “integral to virtually every product that we build,” including product design, live voicemails, digital voice replication, automatic crash detection, and fall detection. 

“We tend to announce things as they come to market, and that’s our M.O.” stated Cook, reinforcing Apple’s commitment to their products and consumers.

He went on to say that Apple’s research in various AI technologies, including generative AI, has been in progress for years and will continue to be a crucial aspect of its developmental strategy.

Despite the importance of AI to Apple, Cook warned not to expect a significant shift in their promotional strategies. Apple’s focus remains on launching products when they are fully ready for their customers rather than showcasing their technological advancements.

Dipanjan Chatterjee, a principal analyst at Forrester, sees this reserved approach as a fundamental part of Apple’s ethos. “Apple’s reticence in being dragged into the AI hype is on-brand,” he told Morning Star, adding, “A maniacal focus on what Apple does for its customers and not how it does it is rooted so deeply in the brand’s DNA.”

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Sam Jeans

Sam is a science and technology writer who has worked in various AI startups. When he’s not writing, he can be found reading medical journals or digging through boxes of vinyl records.


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