Apple Emphasizes AI as a Fundamental Technology, Confirms Investments in Generative AI
In an investor call, Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, highlighted the company's commitment to artificial intelligence (AI). He pointed out several of Apple's AI-powered innovations, such as Personal Voice and Live Voicemail features in iOS 17. Cook also revealed that Apple is working on generative AI technologies to advance its product portfolio further.
During Apple's Q4 earnings call, CEO Tim Cook sought to dispel the notion that Apple was lagging in the AI race. He highlighted several technological advancements the company had made recently, emphasizing that these would not have been possible without AI. Cook specifically mentioned new iOS 17 features like Personal Voice and Live Voicemail as crucial examples of Apple's innovation in AI technologies. In addition, Cook confirmed that Apple was actively working on generative AI technologies.
"We label them as to what their consumer benefit is. But the fundamental technology behind it is AI and machine learning,"
Cook stated, addressing why these features aren't typically identified as AI by consumers.
Apple's AI-powered Features
Personal Voice, an innovative accessibility feature, is designed to create an automated voice that mimics the user's agent. This serves as a lifeline for individuals losing their speech ability due to various health conditions, including ALS. To activate the feature, users spend approximately 15 minutes reading text prompts into their device's microphone. Through machine learning technologies, the audio is locally processed on their iPhone, iPad, or Mac to create a Personal Voice that closely resembles their own.
On the other hand, Live Voicemail is a new customer-friendly feature in iOS 17 that provides a real-time voicemail transcription while it's being recorded. "AI is at the heart of these features," Cook told investors, adding that AI also powers other features on Apple's devices, such as fall detection, crash detection, and ECG on the Apple Watch.
Investing in Generative AI
Beyond these innovations, Cook confirmed that Apple is actively developing generative AI technologies. Although he did not provide specific details, Cook assured that Apple invested significantly in this area, intending to incorporate these technologies into future product advancements.
However, some industry observers suggest that Apple has some catching up to do in terms of consumer-facing AI technologies. Recent developments from companies like OpenAI, Anthropic, and Google have garnered substantial attention. In response, Apple is reportedly increasing its AI budget to "millions of dollars a day" and has multiple teams working on large language models (LLMs) to enhance the functionality of Siri and other AI-powered features.
According to Bloomberg, the next version of iOS will incorporate more AI capabilities, including enhancements to Siri and the Messages app, enabling them to answer questions and complete sentences like Google's autocomplete for Gmail. The report also hinted at the introduction of generative AI to Apple's development tools, like Xcode. As Apple continues to invest in and leverage AI, it is clear that the company recognizes AI as a fundamental technology that will shape the future of its products.