That's it?

Generating a Blank

Tech giant Apple has finally shown off its particular take on artificial intelligence tech — and we can't shake the feeling that we've seen this all before.

During today's kickoff of the company's Worldwide Developer's Conference, Apple unveiled what it's calling "Apple Intelligence," a set of machine learning features to be integrated across its desktop and mobile platforms.

The system's "new" capabilities are a very familiar mishmash of AI stuff we've seen before from other companies, including integrating generative AI into Siri and a surprisingly basic image generator that can create "Genmojis" while chatting.

In other words, most of Apple's huge and much-hyped AI play amounts to a chatbot and an image generator — the exact two products we've already seen from Microsoft, Google, Meta, and pretty much any other tech outfit caught up in the AI hype game.

Nothing about today's lukewarm announcement is remotely surprising, and Apple is clearly playing it incredibly safe. This palpable lack of imagination could be indicative of a much larger trend, with companies struggling to come up with fresh new ideas for AI tech even as they pour untold billions into developing them.

How many more companies will announce their own takes on AI chatbots and AI-generated clip art? Whatever happened to AI revolutionizing the world?

Deja Vu

Virtually everything Apple showed off today during the "Apple Intelligence" portion of its announcement already exists in one form or another, from automatic email replies to tools designed to improve your writing skills.

"It's wild how much everyone has the same vision for AI — we've seen so much of this from Google, Microsoft, OpenAI, and others, too," The Verge's David Pierce noted. "This is the industry's plan."

Apple is characteristically putting data privacy front and center, claiming on its website that it's "setting a new standard for privacy in AI" by having its models "run entirely on device" and have "independent experts" inspect the "code that runs on Apple silicon servers to verify privacy."

At the same time, the company also confirmed rumors of an OpenAI partnership, announcing that the AI company's infamously leaky ChatGPT is headed to the Apple ecosystem later this year.

How exactly OpenAI's cutting-edge AI will interact with the rest of the tech company's consumer-facing software and its own "Apple Intelligence" remains to be seen.

In short, Apple isn't reinventing the wheel here. Far from it — it's seemingly catching up to where its competition was months ago.

And given its prominent standing and virtually limitless resources at its disposal, that doesn't bode well for the future of AI innovation.

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