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Forward-looking: Apple has been one of the few companies not to fully jump on the generative artificial intelligence bandwagon, but CEO Tim Cook has confirmed this will change later in the year when AI software features for customer products will be announced. Cook added that Cupertino is spending "a tremendous amount of time and effort" on these technologies.
During a call with analysts after Apple reported its fiscal first-quarter earnings, Cook talked about the company's Vision Pro mixed reality headset and its AI plans. "As we look ahead, we will continue to invest in these and other technologies that will shape the future. That includes artificial intelligence where we continue to spend a tremendous amount of time and effort, and we're excited to share the details of our ongoing work in that space later this year."
When pressed for more details on Apple's AI ambitions, Cook said, "In terms of generative AI, we have a lot of work going on internally as I've alluded to before."
"Our M.O., if you will, has always been to do work and then talk about work, and not to get out in front of ourselves. And so we're going to hold that to this as well. But we have got some things that we're incredibly excited about, that we'll be talking about later this year," Cook explained.
Back in May last year when the generative AI race was really taking off, Cook broke Apple's previous silence and said that the company was interested in the area and the technology would appear in future products. He also added, however, that the iPhone-maker wanted to take a more cautious approach than competitors like Microsoft.
There have been a lot of reports about Apple's dive into generative AI recently. We heard last week that in order to avoid many of the problems associated with the technology, such as hallucinations and massive energy usage, Apple is working on AI models that run on its devices rather than the cloud.
Apple is expected to make some big announcements related to AI and Siri at the upcoming WWDC event in June, which is probably what Cook was referencing in his statement to analysts. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman recently said that iOS 18 could be the biggest update in the operating system's history, suggesting there will be plenty of new AI features in the latest version.
Google and Samsung have both been pushing the AI capabilities of their latest handsets, the Pixel 8 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. From real-time language translations and new ways of searching, to advanced video- and photo-editing abilities, such as being able to select an object (or person) from a photo and remove it seamlessly.
Apple's been slow to join the generative AI party, but it sounds as if that's going to change this year. We'll have to wait and see if the company's initially cautious approach pays off.