Artificial Intelligence

Can Apple Rely on Its Vast User Base to Give It an AI Edge?

At Apple’s upcoming developers conference, artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to be the star of the show.

However, Bloomberg News wrote Sunday (May 26), the company has a tough act to follow: selling investors and consumers on the idea that it’s doing exciting things with AI in the wake of big rollouts from Microsoft, Google and OpenAI.

“The big question is whether it really matters that Apple is playing catch-up here,” writes Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, the news outlet’s Apple expert. “The company has one advantage that few rivals can match: its massive base of users.”

As he wrote, there will be hundreds of millions of Apple products worldwide that can support upcoming AI capabilities, with owners who will likely at least give these new features a try. It’s something, the report argued, that could transform Apple into the biggest AI player overnight.

Still, Bloomberg’s Gurman added, there are indications Apple’s AI project is still evolving, as the company is apparently considering marketing the AI features as a preview. It would be an “inauspicious move,” considering that Siri launched as a beta test in 2011, and “arguably still feels like one.”

However, a recent report by The Verge on Apple’s AI research says that Siri is at the heart of the company’s AI efforts, with teams working on things like trying to develop a way to use Siri without having to use a wake word. 

Instead of waiting for the user to say “Hey Siri” or “Siri,” the voice assistant would be able to determine whether someone was speaking to it.

“This problem is significantly more challenging than voice trigger detection,” the researchers acknowledged, “since there might not be a leading trigger phrase that marks the beginning of a voice command.”

PYMNTS CEO Karen Webster examined the state of Apple ahead of its developers conference earlier this month, noting that for all of its AI spending — $100 billion over the last five years — the company “isn’t part of the conversation when it comes to the innovators who are now driving the AI revolution.”

The company has said it was teaming with OpenAI for GenAI on the iPhone.

“Plan A? Or a sudden shift to Plan B (or C) from feeling the pressure of being late to the GenAI party?” Webster wrote.

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