During the quarterly earnings call today, Apple CEO Tim Cook made a rare comment about the future of Apple’s products, referencing the company’s investments in artificial intelligence.
Cook said that Apple is “excited to share the details of our ongoing work in this space later this year”. This comment backs up rumors that iOS 18, which will be unveiled at WWDC in June, will feature comprehensive A.I features.
Apple reportedly believes that iOS 18 will be one of its biggest updates ever, fuelled largely by deep integration of AI technologies across the system. iOS 17.4 code references pointed to Apple testing its own large language model, codenamed Ajax, alongside ChatGPT and others.
On the earnings call, Tim Cook said: “As we look ahead, we will continue to invest in these and other technologies that shape our future. That includes AI, where we continue to spend a tremendous amount of time and effort and we’re excited to share details of our ongoing work in that space later this year”.
The pointed remarks certainly seemed to be a response to some industry and investor narratives that Apple is falling behind the likes of Microsoft and Google, having not shipped generative AI features in 2023 despite its competitors jumping on ChatGPT-esque experiences.
Apple is expected to use AI to significantly overhaul Siri, its voice assistant. While Siri has become somewhat of a laughing stock in recent years, a new ‘Siri 2.0’ reimplementation based on modern generative AI large language models could shift the narrative significantly, if done well.
The company will also be rolling out AI features across the iPhone operating system, including smart replies in Messages, playlist recommendations in Apple Music, and more.
As always, Apple will announce the next major versions of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS at its developer conference in June. The OS’s then ship in the fall. While Cook’s comments today did not mention WWDC explicitly, the “later this year” comment certainly matches up with that timeline.
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