Can Apple catch up?
Microsoft has been at the forefront of the current AI boom, beginning with its first savvy investment into OpenAI in 2019 — and ChatGPT going mega-viral last year has other tech companies like Google and Facebook trying to play catch up.
Enter Apple, Microsoft's historic rival. The tech giant is set to pour $1 billion per year into generative AI, according to Bloomberg, with an internal "Apple GPT" system under development that it plans to build into a smarter Siri and iOS, as well as everything from Apple Music to Xcode, a development platform for Apple software, in a bid to compete with Microsoft's GitHub Copilot. (Without citing his sources, TF International Securities' Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo wrote this week that Apple could be spending an even higher total of billions — plural — on AI infrastructure by next year.)
Regardless of the exact figure, though, it sounds like some at Apple feel like the company is choking on the dust of its rivals.
"There’s a lot of anxiety about this and it’s considered a pretty big miss internally," one insider told Bloomberg.
To be sure, Apple has frequently taken its time to perfect its approach before coming to dominate a product — remember a little gadget called the iPhone, for example.
But while there was a general sense of personal electronics coalescing into what became the smartphone during the 2000s, products like ChatGPT have already come to define the AI space, so Apple clearly has a steep mountain to climb to establish market share.
It can also sometimes sit on a concept for an extraordinary amount of time. Remember, this is the company that's spent untold gobs of money and the better part of a decade developing a self-driving vehicle that hasn't yet materialized in public even as its ambitions have shrunk, unlike Google's efforts on Waymo.
Will Apple's plans for generative AI face similar delays? Who knows, but the clock is ticking as its rivals mop up around the race track.
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