Apple Unveils AI Strategy, Integrates OpenAI’s ChatGPT into Devices

Apple has introduced its AI strategy, integrating the new Apple Intelligence technology across its apps, including Siri, and incorporating OpenAI’s chatbot ChatGPT into its devices.
Apple iPhone with AI featuresApple highlighted how the enhanced Siri would interact with messages, emails, calendars, and third-party apps. Siri will be able to write emails and adjust the tone of voice to suit various occasions. Apple plans to set itself apart from competitors like Microsoft and Google by placing privacy at the forefront of its features.

At its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC 2024), Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, said: “Our unique approach combines generative AI with a user’s personal context to deliver truly helpful intelligence.”

According to research analysts at Gartner, PCs, tablets and mobile phones’ worldwide shipments are forecasted to increase 1.7 percent in 2024. Worldwide AI semiconductor revenue is forecasted to reach 71 billion in 2024, an increase from 54 billion in 2023, Gartner said.

Analysts at Canalys earlier estimated that 16 percent of smartphones will be AI-capable in 2024 and 54 percent by 2028. The AI-capable smartphone segment is growing at a 63 percent CAGR (2023-2028) driven by consumer demand for enhanced functionalities such as AI agents and on-device processing.
Canalys forecast on AI smartphoneAnalysts hoped for more groundbreaking AI features that would position Apple more favorably against market leaders like Microsoft, Reuters news report said.

“There isn’t anything here that propels the brand ahead of its as-expected trajectory of incrementalism,” said Dipanjan Chatterjee, an analyst at Forrester. “Apple Intelligence will delight its users in small but meaningful ways, bringing Apple level with, but not above, its peers.”

Apple rival Samsung, announcing its first-quarter result, said Galaxy AI features in the S24 — its first AI-enabled smartphone, have achieved high usage rates and contributed to sales growth. Samsung aims to increase annual smartphone sales by applying Galaxy AI beyond the S24 to existing flagship models.

Some analysts feel that Apple took time to introduce AI features to its devices despite there was demand from smartphone customers.

“To some, it feels like for the first time Apple has succumbed to pressure to outline its AI strategy. When, in reality, this has been in the works for a considerable amount of time,” Paolo Pescatore, analyst and founder of PP Foresight, said.

“Apple has a proven pedigree and has been working in AI for a long time (its Neural Engine AI processor was first introduced in 2017). Apple’s plans will have been long in motion, and it will still be no surprise to see it issue a counterpunch to all the latest news and try to reassert itself firmly at the forefront of consumers’ minds when it comes to AI,” Paolo Pescatore said.

Apple’s consumer-focused approach contrasts with the enterprise-first strategies of its rivals. The company aims to convince its over 1 billion users, many of whom are not tech aficionados, of the need for this emerging technology. Apple executive Craig Federighi described Apple Intelligence as “AI for the rest of us.”

Analysts expressed skepticism about the immediate impact of the new AI features on Apple’s financial performance, noting the company’s reliance on iPhone sales. “In this early race, it feels that Alphabet, and even more so Microsoft, are in better shape following their initial moves and with thanks to their cloud assets,” Paolo Pescatore said.

The AI enhancements will be included in the latest operating system for Apple devices, which were also showcased at the event. The annual conference, held at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California, serves as a platform to unveil updates to Apple’s apps and operating systems, as well as to introduce new tools for developers.

Siri Revamp

The upgraded Siri will now have more control, enabling it to better understand user intentions and app functionalities. Siri will utilize ChatGPT’s expertise and will seek user permission before querying the OpenAI service, highlighting Apple’s commitment to privacy.

The partnership with OpenAI has sparked privacy concerns, with Tesla CEO Elon Musk stating on X that he would ban Apple devices at his companies if the integration occurs at the OS level. Apple assured that ChatGPT integration would be available later this year, with other AI features to follow. The chatbot can be accessed for free, and user information will not be logged. Apple plans to release a paper detailing how these features ensure customer data safety.

Apple also mentioned potential collaborations with other AI companies, including discussions with long-time search partner Google. The AI features will be powered by a combination of on-device processing and cloud computing, available on the latest iPhones starting with the iPhone 15 Pro.

The new iOS 18 will offer more customizable home screens and a “lock an app” feature to protect sensitive information. Additionally, Apple’s mixed-reality headset Vision Pro will expand to eight more countries, including China and Japan, with VisionOS 2 software incorporating machine learning for natural depth photos and new gestures.

Baburajan Kizhakedath