What just happened? At Apple's annual shareholder meeting this week, CEO Tim Cook told investors and market watchers that the company is investing heavily in generative AI to make life easier for its customers. He also claimed that artificial intelligence "will unlock transformative opportunities for users when it comes to productivity, problem solving and more."

According to Cook, Apple is putting "tremendous time and effort" into AI, and will "break new ground" with GenAI this year. He also said that the company will reveal more details about its AI plans later this year. In an apparent dig at its competitors, Cook claimed that Cupertino has long been working on GenAI, but is taking a slow-but-steady approach to ensure that its technology will actually benefit consumers.

Cook's statement comes almost exactly a month after Apple's most recent quarterly earnings call, where he confirmed that it is working on generative AI features that will be rolled out for consumers by the end of this year. The firm had earlier announced AI-based auto-correct and text prediction functionality for iPhones, iPads, and Macs.

The announcement comes amid increasing pressure from investors who believe Apple is lagging behind competitors Google, Microsoft and Meta when it comes to AI research. Market watchers and analysts have long questioned the lack of big bang AI-related announcements from Apple, while investors have wanted to know more about what the company is doing in the generative AI space.

Cook will hope that his announcement will pacify investors who are concerned about Apple's alleged lack of enthusiasm regarding AI and convince them that the company is serious about competing with its peers in the sector. While rumors suggest that the next iterations of iOS, iPadOS and macOS could include a slew of AI features, it remains to be seen how many of them will be part of the upcoming versions of the operating systems that will be released later this year.

Apple's reassurance to analysts and investors comes a day after reports suggested that the company has quietly ditched its much-hyped electric car project and reassigned some of the staff to work on its various AI initiatives. While the decision to scuttle the EV project was a bit of a surprise even for most Apple insiders, the company will be hoping that its bet on GenAI and virtual reality will pay off in the long run.