Apple has been “quietly” of artificial intelligence related acquisitions and staff hires as part of its efforts to bring on-device AI to its next-generation iPhones, according to the Financial Times (a subscription is required to read the article).
The FT says the tech giant is focusing on “tackling the technological problem of running AI through mobile devices.” Apple has purportedly scooped up several AI-related startups, the last one occurring early last year when it purchased WaveOne, which offers AI-powered video compression, the article adds.
WaveOne is described as a company that’s “ building the next generation of digital media compression” and is “leveraging the latest advancements in machine learning and deep learning to create custom-tailored, context-dependent solutions.”
In an October Medium post, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says his latest survey indicates that Apple plans to purchase 2,000–3,000 and 18,000–20,000 units of artificial intelligence (AI) servers in 2023 and 2024, respectively.
Along the same lines, in an October “Power On” newsletter, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says that “one of the most intense and widespread endeavors at Apple Inc. right now is its effort to respond to the AI frenzy sweeping the technology industry.”
He says that, as noted before, the company built its own large language model called Ajax and rolled out an internal chatbot dubbed “Apple GPT” to test out the functionality. The critical next step is determining if the technology is up to snuff with the competition and how Apple will actually apply it to its products, according to Gurman.
He says that Apple’s senior vice presidents in charge of AI and software engineering, John Giannandrea and Craig Federighi, are spearheading the effort. On Cook’s team, they’re referred to as the “executive sponsors” of the generative AI push.
“Eddy Cue, the head of services, is also involved, I’m told. The trio are now on course to spend about $1 billion per year on the undertaking,” Gurman writes. “Giannandrea is overseeing development of the underlying technology for a new AI system, and his team is revamping Siri in a way that will deeply implement it. This smarter version of Siri could be ready as soon as next year, but there are still concerns about the technology and it may take longer for Apple’s AI features to spread across its product line.”
Also from his report:
° Federighi’s software engineering group is adding AI to the next version of iOS.
° Apple’s software engineering teams are also looking at integrating generative AI into development tools like Xcode.
° Cue’s organization is pushing to add AI to as many apps as possible. The group is exploring new features for Apple Music, including auto-generated playlists, as well as the company’s productivity apps.