Apple insiders spoke anonymously about the company’s effort to exploit the current craze for chatbots.
What’s new: Apple built a framework for large language models and used it to develop a chatbot dubbed Apple GPT — for internal use only, Bloomberg reported.
Under wraps: The iPhone maker is proceeding cautiously to capitalize on the hottest tech trend since mobile. The results are not yet available to the public and may never be.
- Apple’s generative AI activities revolve around Ajax, a system built atop Google’s JAX machine learning framework.
- A small team used Ajax to build Apple GPT in late 2022. Employees require special approval for access
- The chatbot is being used to prototype products and to summarize text and answer questions based on its training data.
- The company forbids engineers from using its output to develop capabilities intended for consumers.
Behind the news: Apple tends to hold its technology close to its vest, but it has not placed the same emphasis on AI as peers. Its pioneering Siri voice assistant has been criticized for falling behind competitors like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant (which, in turn, were criticized for falling behind ChatGPT). Although it has published papers on generative AI in recent years, its recent products have not emphasized the technology. Meanwhile, its big-tech rivals have been trying to outdo one another in building and deploying ever more powerful chatbots.
- Microsoft made an early splash thanks to its partnership with OpenAI. It enhanced Bing search with an OpenAI language model, and it offers OpenAI language and image models through its Azure cloud service.
- Google plans to enhance its search engine with Bard a chatbot built on its LaMDA language model.
- Meta’s LLaMA language model captured some of the generative buzz, and the company kept the excitement going by releasing the updated LLaMA 2 under a limited open source license. Although Meta, like Apple, lacks a flagship generative AI service, it formed a team to integrate generative AI into its products.
Why it matters: Where some companies zig, Apple often zags. Unlike its peers, it makes its money selling devices and requires tight integration between that hardware and the software that brings it to life. Such differences may make it necessary to “think different” about generative AI.
We’re thinking: Apple's control over the iOS and MacOS ecosystems is a huge strength in the race to capitalize on generative AI. We hope that Apple’s generative products will be wonderful, but even if they offer little advantage over the competition, its ability to get them into users’ hands will give it a significant advantage over smaller competitors and even many large companies.