Tim Cook addresses rising interest in AI, saying more future Apple products will use it

In context: As tech companies increasingly latch onto generative AI as the latest dominant trend, Apple remains suspiciously quiet on the topic. CEO Tim Cook finally commented on the technology in the company’s Q2 2023 earnings call, expressing interest without revealing any concrete plans.

Apple CEO Tim Cook admitted that Apple is interested in the potential of emerging AI technology in a recent earnings call. However, he also expressed the need for caution as competitors like Google and Microsoft dive into generative AI applications in a way some have called clumsy.

Cook reiterated Apple’s policy of keeping its future roadmaps private in response to a question about AI, but he admitted the potential is huge. He pointed out how Apple has already used AI for features like crash detection and heart monitoring, and said the company will keep incorporating AI.

However, the CEO stressed that Apple will approach AI carefully, noting that there are still issues to solve. Cook was likely referring to the controversies surrounding generative AI technologies like ChatGPT or Midjourney.

Microsoft, Google, and others are developing chatbots based on OpenAI’s technology underpinning ChatGPT, but anyone who has used it so far knows it often makes things up. AI-based image generators like DALL-E, Stable Diffusion, and Midjourney, create impressive and often believable images but are trained on human-made pictures, raising copyright-related questions. Adobe is traversing those murky waters while incorporating generative AI into its suite. Additionally, Amazon recently unveiled Bedrock, a tool to help businesses to leverage AI models.

Apple, meanwhile, hasn’t unveiled any products or services utilizing generative AI. Cook’s latest comments confirm speculation that Apple wants to avoid the problems that have emerged from tools like ChatGPT.

Prior reports allege that Apple’s caution has caused internal friction regarding the development of its AI companion, Siri. A sticking point was the company’s preference to have Siri generate pre-written responses instead of relaying responses from the internet to avoid something like ChatGPT’s hallucinations. Eventually, three Siri engineers left Apple to join Google.

Cook’s remarks were part of an earnings call for the quarter ending April 1 in which the company exceeded projected expectations. Although Mac and iPad revenue were down, iPhone growth helped drive a positive quarter for the company.

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