With the launch of Apple’s VisionPro today, it’s already been a year of major technological advancements for the tech giant.
But chief executive Tim Cook has now confirmed that 2024 could have an even bigger surprise in store after teasing a big artificial intelligence (AI) announcement.
Although Apple products already include some machine learning features, they have yet to produce an AI product that can rival ChatGPT.
But now Apple’s boss has revealed that Apple will share details of its “ongoing work” on AI “later this year.”
Cook didn’t reveal exact details of what AI features might be included, but said, “We have some things that we’re really excited about.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook (pictured) says the tech giant will make a big announcement about new AI features sometime next year.
Speaking at Apple’s quarterly earnings report on Thursday, Tim Cook said: “Looking ahead, we will continue to invest in these and other technologies that will shape the future.”
“That includes artificial intelligence, which we continue to devote a tremendous amount of time and effort to, and we are excited to share details of our ongoing work in that space later this year.”
OpenAI’s hugely successful product ChatGPT and Google’s Bard are examples of ‘generative AI’: AI that is capable of producing content that includes text, images, video or audio.
Since late 2022, the success of ChatGPT has led to generative AI receiving significant attention from technology companies and investors.
Other technology giants have joined the trend and invested large amounts of funds in artificial intelligence partnerships to launch their own models in record time.
Apple has yet to expand into generative AI with a new product, but Tim Cook says the company has been putting a “tremendous amount of time and effort” into AI development (stock image)
Microsoft in particular has invested more than $10 billion in OpenAI, the startup behind Chat GPT.
Apple already uses some machine learning in its chips and devices, including technology that allows your iPhone to recognize images of dogs and people in your gallery.
But so far Apple has not joined its rivals in introducing any generative AI products or features.
It’s unusual for Apple to talk about announcements in advance, which could hint at something big in the works.
But Tim Cook has remained cagey about the details of what exactly iPhone makers are planning.
Microsoft, unlike Apple, has already been very public about its investment and collaboration with OpenAI, the startup behind ChatGPT. Microsoft has invested more than $10 billion in the startup since 2019
Pressed by analysts for more information, Cook responded: ‘Our modus operandi (mission goal), so to speak, has always been to work and then talk about the work, and not get ahead of ourselves.
‘And then we’ll keep this too. But we have some things we’re really excited about that we’ll talk about later this year.”
In his closing comments to the call, Cook added, “Let me just say that I think there’s a huge opportunity for Apple with generative AI and with AI, without going into too much detail or getting ahead of myself.”
But despite the lack of fanfare, Apple has been making steady progress laying the groundwork for a big change in AI.
In October last year, Apple introduced the new line of M3, M3 Pro and M3 Max chips.
In addition to being blazing fast, these new chips also include a faster “neural engine,” which is Apple’s dedicated set of hardware for processing machine learning models.
Apple’s new range of M3 chips includes a new high-speed neural engine designed specifically to run the machine learning models that power AI.
AI, especially generative AI, requires a lot of energy and computational power to operate.
But Apple’s custom hardware could give its technology an advantage when it comes to running some models locally instead of through the cloud.
Similarly, last year Apple very quietly launched a new large language model (LLM), the type of model underlying generative AI, in collaboration with Columbia University.
This open source model, called Ferret, is free to use and allows users to select an area of an image and identify objects in that area.
However, there is no indication that the announcements provoked by Tim Cook have anything to do with the Ferret model.
MailOnline has contacted Apple for comment.